Blessed with another long weekend, the Team at Red Bull Racing Australia kicked up their feet and relaxed….Ha! Who are we kidding, no we didn’t!
You know what they say, work hard, play harder.
Team Manager Mark Dutton and Car #88 No. 1 Mechanic Ty Freele couldn’t deal with another weekend away from four wheels and an engine, taking part in off-road buggy racing.
Never one short of words, Dutto was more than eager to tell us about his weekend.
“I met Brendan Hall from South Queensland Solar when he came to look at my pool. We barely spoke about the pool, the whole time he was there to quote was spent talking about racing,” said Dutto.
“He invited me to give it a go, so naturally I couldn’t resist. I headed to Off Road Rush, where Chris, Kaitlin & Rhycee Western run a V8 off-road experience where you get to drive buggies, trophy trucks, etc. Very cool place and lots of fun.”
“It was my first time behind the wheel of a buggy. It was hard to concentrate, to try and actually drive properly because it was so much fun, I could barely see from smiling and laughing so much. After that day, the years rolled by, with both our racing calendars clashing almost 100% of the time. Then last weekend, we finally made it work!”
With a bit of down time before Perth, Dutto seized the rare opportunity with both hands to have another crack behind the wheel.
“I got in another round of practice before I set myself up to race. I needed a navigator with nerves of steel so Ty got the call-up. He had never navigated before and I had never raced before so it was a match made in heaven,” said Dutto.
The weekend started Saturday morning. As soon as we drove in you could see the level of competition was very high with immaculately prepared buggies, trucks, 4x4s etc. It’s a bit different to the V8s where you know exactly what the layout of the track is. I did one reconnaissance lap in the navigators seat, seeing the layout for the first time, the 5km track was wet and muddy and very slippery after all the rain.”
But a little mud and rain wasn’t going to dampen anyone’s spirits, the boys never afraid to shy away from a challenge. It was straight into prologue (qualifying) where you get one lap from a standing start.
“Next thing I know we are lined up in a row with four engines roaring waiting for the flag to drop for the first heat. We got the launch but a poor shift into second gear gave the buggy on our right (which was the inside of the first corner) the lead heading up to turn one. Going deep around the outside, both of us slid around the corner, which saw Ty and myself exit in front of the pack. Thankfully the track was much drier than earlier,” said Dutto.
“Each lap we would push a little harder, the track was amazing with a mix of everything, every corner, and every jump were different. Ty was doing an awesome job, not just navigating but also keeping me in check, it was very easy to get carried away, but when we had the lead he was the voice of reason. We won the heat and even managed to lap one of the smaller, lower powered vehicles on the fourth and final lap.”
It was a successful day for buggy 62, winning all the heat’s it was in. We think it must have been Ty’s navigating, hey Dutto?
“The rain overnight turned Sunday’s racing on its head, with the lighter 4×4 buggy that we lapped the day before having the last laugh as it blitzed past us as we struggled for traction, grip and vision,” said Dutto.
“I am not sure exactly what the times were, and I think it was a bit of a case of we were one of the last ones left in our class, but we somehow managed to come first in the Pro Class, with our teammate Brendan coming in 2nd. It was a great weekend!”
Winners are grinners mate – we certainly wouldn’t have expected any less!
But they weren’t the only ones keeping busy over the long weekend. Never satisfied with staying still for long, Triple Eight boss Roland Dane kick started his 2016 sailing campaign in Thailand.
Competing in the Top of the Gulf Regatta in Pattaya, RD and crew – including, in the boss’s words, “sailing’s answer to SVG because he flies all over the world steering winners” – have claimed three of the four race wins so far, with two events still to come.
Here’s hoping those other two victories fall into place and he rolls into Perth a happy man.
Note: Buggy images courtesy of GLM Photography.
Boat photo courtesy of RD’s iPhone.