After the biggest crash of his speedway racing career back on New Year's Day, Bywong's Michael Stewart has decided that instead of backing off this season, he's planning to turn it up a notch or two.
Over the coming summer race season he's not just piloting his customary lightweight speedcar but also a 410 sprintcar, the class which brings together the maddest, baddest, most powerful speedway machines in the country.
And on top of all this, he became a proud father to a son, Oliver, just a few weeks ago.
"It's all getting pretty hectic this year but it's great, I'm loving it," the 24-year-old said with a wry smile.
Stewart comes from a family of race engineers and drivers.
His grandfather, Ian, ran the Mitchell-based Berco Engineering, at one stage the largest vehicle engineering operation in the local region and his father, Chris, raced lightweight speedcars before specialising in engine and vehicle building.
Michael Stewart didn't take up the spanners but instead became a carpenter.
He's off the tools now, driving earthmoving equipment and heavy trucks for a Sutton-based company as his employer provides him with the flexibility to travel interstate to race meetings.
This weekend he's heading to Toowoomba speedway, in Queensland, then to Parramatta the following weekend, on to Murray Bridge in South Australia and back to Sydney as part of the "Ultimate Speedway Challenge" series.
"Not many guys race both types of cars at the one meeting; it's a pretty hard thing to do because it's quite physically demanding and the cars are very different," he said.
"Speedcars don't have any aerodynamic assistance. They're very flighty and nimble because they only weigh about 400 kg and produce about 400 horsepower from a four cylinder engine," he said.
"Sprintcars are raw machines to drive, they're quicker, hard on your arms, and with lots of aerodynamic assistance. They weigh about 600kg but have a fuel-injected V8 which makes about 920 horsepower," he said.
A former kart racer who was the first junior from the Canberra region to go to the world titles, he is now in his second season of sprintcars and has landed a drive with the Sydney-based Global Racing team.
Embarassingly, his first sprintcar race ended early with a crash after he started off the front row in the feature event.
But now he's a confident competitor behind the wheel of these raucous, flame-spitting speedway monsters, finishing fourth in Parramatta at his previous outing and in the mix with some of the best sprintcar drivers in Australia.
"The first time I drove one I thought: 'this is a ridiculous amount of power in such a light chassis'," he said.
"But it's amazing how quickly you get used to it and then go looking for more."
Behind the side panels of the sprintcar's high roof structure is an upside-down aircraft wing which, combined with the front wing, helps keep the lightweight machine planted on the clay track.
Methanol-fuelled sprintcars are capable of up to 250km/h and produce more torque than a V8 Supercar. The cars have just one gear and brake only on the left hand side to help the driver balance into corners, although brakes are rarely used.
"Our racetracks have generally short straights and long corners so the cars are set up to accelerate very quickly," he said.
"Global have built a brand new car for this season and we've now got a really experienced race engineer on board this year, Brent Coghlan, so it's a weapon to drive.
"The big thing as a driver is maintaining the speed and consistency over the full race meeting and to adapt your driving as the track changes during the night.
"I feel like there's a lot of improvement still to come."