2015 marks my 45th year in motorsport. Having built my first race car as a teenager in 1970, I quickly discovered that I was a lot better at building cars than driving them so from that time I have concentrated on the engineering side of the sport.
Being competitive in this sport requires on going development and the most important lesson I’ve learnt in the past 40 years is that there is always a lot more to learn. Being a self taught engineer has required a lot of reading, a lot of nights at the drawing board and a lot of time researching and understanding all the relevant technologies.
Built my first race car – a Cooper “S” for dirt speedway. Also my first experience at understanding and applying specifications laid down by a controlling body.
Worked on a Formula 3 Elfin Mono competing in Adelaide and Victoria and sponsored by Motorlab Tuning (who I later went to work for) and was driven by Bob Collinson. I have recently completed a long term restoration of Bob Collinson’s last race car, an A.S.P. Clubman and he is back on the track after a 15 year break.
Started working with Jim Doig and his Motorlab ASP Sports Car which I still look after to this day after 600 + races and 250 + wins. Also crewed and maintained a T.C. Cortina Sports Sedan for Vic Wilson – also sponsored by Motorlab. During this time I totally redesigned and rebuilt this car. Vic Wilson later raced a Capri G.T. in the then popular 3 Litre Touring Car Series. Preparing and developing this car was my first taste of production based touring cars, experience I find myself drawing on today 35 years later for the Biante Series.
Became involved with bitumen speedway and John Hughes. – The first of a series of cars I built for him was a fuel injected HJ 4 door Monaro which we campaigned very successfully in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania – including winning the first SA Bitumen Speedway Title.
Back to dirt speedway – built the first full fabricated chassis sedan style car in SA – An E.H. Holden with a hybrid Holden/Ford 6 cylinder engine. John Hughes raced this car with great success over the next 3 years at Speedway Park and most country tracks – doing as many as 26 meetings a season.
Started building customer cars to suit the new super sedan class – including two Detomaso Panteras for John Hughes and numerous Pontiac Firebirds for racers both in Adelaide and Victoria. Started a long term relationship with John and Brad Scotcher, which yielded several state titles across SA, Victoria and Tasmania and an Australian Title – The top rung of the speedway sedan ladder. During this time my business evolved from a mixture of road and race to race car only engineering. Supplying chassis and parts to customers, all of which were designed and produced in house.
This period marked the beginning of my involvement with Whiteline Racing. Having done some speedway work for Bob, he asked me if I would like to prepare a Nascar for the Thunderdome in Melbourne. At that time dirt speedway in Adelaide was in a state of decline so Nascar seemed like an interesting challenge. It certainly was! With the level of damage, on going maintenance and the addition of a second car this turned into an almost full time job.
During a lull in our Thunderdome commitments, I rebuilt the Camaro sports sedan that Bob had acquired some 15 years earlier. Bob raced this car at the 2000 Le Mans event on the Adelaide GP circuit and later as time permitted at Mallala.
With the closing down of the Thunderdome I converted the 2 Whiteline Nascars to full road course spec. We campaigned the 2 cars in the Power Tour series throughout Australia and with Andrew Miedecke joining the team Whiteline Racing became the dominant force in Nascar.
With Bob moving over to Supertruck racing Chris Templer joined the team to drive the second car and Whiteline again led the way in Nascar road course.
Bob was becoming more and more competitive in the Supertruck (leased and later purchased from Inky Tulloch of New Zealand). When asked if I would build a new Supertruck from the ground up I thought this would be a challenging project – it was! Not only from an engineering point of view but given the time frame, (17 weeks) an organisational challenge as well.
Bob first raced the new truck in New Zealand with reasonable success. But with some development and the work of our 2 Kiwi Mechanics Jeff Kernohan and Terry Honey, Bob and The Cat Supertruck became the pace setter in Australian truck racing resulting in 4 National Championships.
At the urging of John Bowe, Bob decided to enter the Biante Touring Car Masters Series – another toy to build! We built the Camaro race car from a 40 year old road car and while building race cars was not new to me, doing a full restoration at the same time was resulting in a build time nearly twice as long as estimated.
Very much a learning year in a new category with a new car. But we made significant progress.
Saw Mark looking forward to the challenge of preparing two cars, with the arrival back to the Whiteline Racing Team of Andrew Miedecke and development of a new car imported from New Zealand. At the time Mark commented, that Despite being well and truly on the wrong side of fifty, I’m still passionate about what I do which sometimes means I’m uncompromising in dealing with other people but at the end of the day I am an engineer not a PR consultant. In life everyone should do something competitive, something creative, something mentally challenging and something charitable. For me motorsport ticks at least three of these boxes. When it ceases to do so I will know it is time to go fishing.
Mark continues to prepare two cars, the 95 entry for Andrew Miedecke and the 85 entry for Mark King, but in the past had prepared 85 for Bob Middleton and Bernie Stack. Mark also continues his involvement in circuit racing too. Mark has seen both cars compete at a high level with Andrew coming third in successive years in the Touring Car Masters. Post race days, Mark will sit quietly with a beer and a puff on a cigar and is famous for the ‘handbag’ he carries in transit topped up with all sorts of essential items – not to mention the panadeine fort for the aches and pains that inevitably are present after a weekend of racing !!!!!!
Owner and operater of Hurley’s Smash Repairs. Brought the business in 2003.
Started racing motor cross at age 12. Raced at national level till I was 18.
Started racing cars at the age of 21. Raced HQ’s till I was 29 at a national level.
At 31 I meet the Dr Anton Metchler (Doc) who was racing Production cars, I helped him and we race in
the Procar series, this is where I met Mark, we raced against him, but he was always a better cheat than us.
The Doc did that series for a couple of years and decided to race the state series.
Mark asked if I would be interested in helping him do the Manufacturing series so I did, we
ran second, only just, if we didn’t blow a tyre on the last lap of Bathurst going through the chase
while leading we would of won.
After a couple of years of running Dr Anton Metchlers team he offered me a drive and till this day
we share and race his car together.
I currently race in the NSW state series as they have 4 mini endures and co drive with the Doc Mark and I have raced together in
the Bathurst 12 in 2008 in an Evo 8 and again in the Eastern Creek 8 in 2010.
Mark asked me to Darwin to help him when he raced in the HQ, that’s when Bob offered him to
drive the red Camaro Hopefully in the next couple of years Mark, Doc and I will race in the 12 hour
race at the Hungaroring.
My other passions are Snow skiing and motorbikes I have a BMW S 1000rr which is a
track bike, I try and do at least 1 track day a month at either Eastern Creek or Wakefield Park, funny
thing is that I am faster around the track on my bike than in the race car???
I also have a KTM 530 enduro bike which I use in the state forests to go endure riding.
I have been Snow Skiing since I was 11 years old, and have worked as a ski instructor.
In February This year I went Heli Skiing in Canada, that was just a surreal experience, being dropped
off at the top of a mountain , being told to get out of the left hand side of the Helicopter as there is a 5000
foot cliff on the other.
Crew member Timmy Ede who is best recognized by a pair of legs that protrude from underneath the Lubrimaxx Camaro 95 for the entire race weekend, has moved back to Melbourne from Adelaide with wife Amanda and Children Sam and Ben to take up the Sales Manager role at Mercedes Benz Commerical Vehicles, Laverton. We wish Tim all the best in his new posting !!!
Team Mechanic, based in Moyhu, Paul is an experienced mechanic working on all types of vehicles in his own area and farm machinery. Paul has a long history in motorsport, including working on George Miedecke’s racing ute.
Based in Adelaide and is a Sales Executive with Phoenix Society. At the track, Brent is the team crew photographer and is a massive help to Shaz in the catering requirements for the crew. In between these duties, it is not unusual to see Brent filling fuel cans, on the jack, a rag in his hand, whatever is required. His favorite saying is “What can I do to help?”. Brent is married to Angie and is a Dad to Mitchell and Sophie and not to forget the mutt Roadie.