Teen sets new national speed record

QUICK: Keely Bown set a new national speed record at Lake Gairdner. She travelled at 142.8 kmh on the two-mile course to create the milestone.
QUICK: Keely Bown set a new national speed record at Lake Gairdner. She travelled at 142.8 kmh on the two-mile course to create the milestone.

Officially speaking, teen speed queen Keely Bown is not even on her L-plates.

But this dynamo of the salt pans at Lake Gairdner, is far from a learner in the world of national speed records, having travelled at more than 142mph last Tuesday.

In Speed Week at the lake, the 15-year-old set the new national record in G/PS class for a two-litre production supercharged car.

She admits she “had fun” clocking the time and says she would otherwise have been in class at John Pirie Secondary School.

Keely will gain her Learner’s Permit in November, once she has turned 16 years old.

She said her father Nicholas Bown tweaked her Subaru for the record attempt.

“Dad taught me to drive at Port Pirie Dirt-Circuit track. I started dirt-circuit racing at 10 years old,” she said.

She likes that her driving in the sport is “fast”.

“When I am in the car, it is my space and I see ahead … there is adrenalin and I am going fast,” she said. “The car feels like a go-kart.”

She would like to one day race V8 Supercars or Formula One machines.

In dirt-circuit, she followed the tracks of sister Rochelle, now 18.

In this form of motorsport, she drives a Subaru fitted with a mid-mounted 5.7-litre LSI motor offering huge amounts of power.

“In racing, everything breaks,” said her father Nicholas. “Nothing comes cheaply, especially horsepower.”

He said Keely’s record had been set on a two-mile course. “In land speed , you always refer to speed as miles-per-hour,” he said.

Keely seemed humble in the media spotlight, but she would appreciate the factual basis of this report. 

“The boys at school tell me I am a liar,” she smiled. Keely races in the top grade at dirt-circuit and this is particularly challenging with her V8-equipped car having power to burn.

Her speed-record car, also a Subaru, is nearly stock in specifications, but with a bigger turbocharger and intercooler. Ever the perfectionist, her father Nicholas suggested his daughter could have gone even faster if not for a missed gear-change. Keely nodded in agreement.