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Broken back to track: Debutant's unique journey

08 Mar
Callum Walker has taken an unorthodox path
2 mins by James Pavey
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Callum Walker has taken an unorthodox journey to Supercars, with the former speedway driver debuting this weekend.

Walker will make his Dunlop Series debut in a Super2 ZB Commodore at this weekend’s Thrifty Newcastle 500.

The 24-year-old leaves behind speedways for circuits, having endured a torrid 2022 due to back injuries.

Walker moved from karts to 900-horsepower Sprint Cars at 16, but he broke five vertebrae across two crashes, four years apart.

Last year, Walker crashed at Toowoomba Speedway and was hospitalised in Brisbane — just four years after he broke three vertebrae in another crash.

It led to the driver starting up Walker Racing, which is based out of Slacks Creek near Brisbane — with Supercars his latest challenge.

Walker in action last year

“I had two big accidents and twice broke my back — five vertebrae in all. I wasn’t prepared for round three,” Walker said.

“That motivated the decision to go circuit racing and we arrived at the Dunlop Super 2 Series.

“This weekend is our first weekend at Newcastle — we literally picked the car up last Monday and my first time sitting in a Supercar was Tuesday at Queensland Raceway.”

The #33 Commodore that Walker will race was recently used by PremiAir Racing’s James Golding in the main game.

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Walker is a third generation racer, and began racing in motocross at six before moving to karts.

He is one of several Super2 debutants in 2023, with the Dunlop Series welcoming ZB Commodores and Mustangs to the second-tier series.

"The process dealing with Matt Cook and the team at PremiAir has been terrific,” Walker said.

Walker's Supercar

“They’ve been incredibly helpful and the car has been fully refurbished. It produced some great results last year and has the Triple Eight-built technical knowhow.

“So we’re comfortable with the machinery and using it for our learning year. We’re looking to get through Newcastle unscathed then head over to Perth for the second round.

“Aside from karts, I’ve done no circuit racing, so for sure, heading to a narrow street track like Newcastle is a vertical learning curve, it’s huge.

“We’re not going there to be setting lap records — for our team it is an opportunity to get accustomed with the systems and how everything works.

“Not just on track, but with Supercars and what is required of Walker Racing as a team."

Cars will hit the track at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 for practice on Friday.

Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.

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