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Published: October 10th 2015
Muscle Car Masters : Motor Racing...the Carey McMahon story.
There is something about the smell of high octane fuel...the screaming throaty sound of racing car engines pushed to the limit...the adrenalin rush that only phenomenal speed can provide...man versus machine...dicing with danger at every corner, every pass, every manoeuver.
The difference between winning and losing usually comes down to the skill of the drivers and the maintenance of their racing machines.
Many of the best have teams of mechanics, engineers, racing specialists that they cannot do without.
Others race without teams because there is something inside saying that they must.
Each have their story.
And each successful racer has a story where the common thread is a mixture of determination, bravery, amazing skill, willingness to risk, a big dose of luck...and TMFM.
Too Much F***ing Money!
Motor Racing in Australia has a culture of excellence...many champions that have risen to the top of the National and World stage...and others that are champions no matter whether the pool is large or small.
Win or lose they are all champions in my book.
'Cause competing is what sets them apart.
all the senses...gotta luv it.
In my early 20s I had a flatmate that raced Formula Vs...VW beetle engines in fibreglass shells with wheels.
His name was Mark and he was constantly broke.
Spent all his money on the beast in our garage...his precious Formula V.
He also drove a Valiant Charger...only one speed...like a maniac.
Did the S's near our place once with me on my back by his side. My seatbelt caught in the seat lever and when he took off my seat collapsed...felt like a feet first missile...couldn't see a thing 'cept his arms somersaulting over the steering wheel...and the sound of him laughing as I held my fear.
Wore the upper chassis of his Formula V to a fancy dress party at Curl Curl Beach once...thought I was pretty cool wearing a gold shirt...with my head sticking out of a fiberglass racing car supported by my arms and shoulders.
Entered the house that night...couldn't see for metres in front of me...tripped over a body in the hallway...nose-dived the front bonnet into the floor...people scattering.
Thought I was pretty cool...'til a
couple of surfies wanted to fight me...called me a poofter 'cause I was wearing a gold shirt you see.
So I had mixed feelings about Mark's Formula V.
Until I saw him race it.
It was the end of the racing season and if he won he'd be crowned New South Wales Champion.
So of course we went in force to Oran Park Raceway (or was it Amaroo?)... to cheer him on.
Saw him drive...only one speed...like a maniac.
And he WON.
The thrill was palpable...the sharp charge of fuel and exhaust in our nostrils...engine's screaming...that throaty sound you only hear at a racetrack...the excitement of his mates cheering him over the line.
Seemed to justify him driving his Valiant Charger...only one speed...like a maniac.
Remember visiting him in hospital.
He'd cut a telegraph pole in half.
Just shook his head when I said he was lucky to be alive...just shook his head when I used to implore him to slow down.
****** Carey Rising
Went to Eastern Creek (Sydney Motorsport Park) recently...as the guest of a true Champion...a National Champion no less...and his
name is Carey McMahon.
Known him since school...and as a client...and proud to have Carey and his wife Lyn as good friends of Denise and I.
He was racing in the 2015 Muscle Car Masters...Group A Heritage Touring Cars class...racing his new car for the first time.
So he got Denise & I tickets to see how he'd go.
Cary always wanted to be a racing car driver...used to dream of it at school...dreamed of it after he left school.
1971 – year he left school...Club racing in home made openwheeler.
1973 - Got behind the wheel of a Holden Torana Div 2 Sports Sedan...and he was away.
He won his first 8 races.
1974 - Promoted to Division 1...racing his $3,000 Torana against $100,000 cars of the cream of motor racing elite...Geaghan...Bond...Thompson...household names...all representing big money teams.
Guys you'd always hear of in the Bathurst 1000...the number 1 endurance motor racing event.
1975 - Division 1 Sports Sedan Torana XU1 with 308 V8 – raced at Oran Park and Lakeside...rolled the car after hitting a wall.
1975 - 1977 – Bob Holden Racing Team
in an Escort RS200 – competed in Group C Touring Car series
1978 - 1979 – Stock 100 go-kart and Division 2 Sports Sedan Mini
1980 – 250cc International Superkart – Amaroo, Oran Park, Surfers Paradise lap records 1980 NSW, Qld and Australian Championship winner.
1981 – 250cc International Superkart 1981 NSW, Qld and Australian Championship winner. Married Lyn in 1981.
But matrimony came with a condition..."You have to choose between the Superkart or Me"...so he sold the Superkart!!!
1982 – Division 2 Sports Sedan Rotary powered Mini (DD guesses the honeymoon was over!).
Carey raced until 1983...self funded...somehow getting his vehicle on the track...determination never fading...taking on the big boys.
Then he stopped 'cause he and Lyn settled back to have kids.
He returned to the track in 2005. Number 18
Carey's mate Chad who owns The Shelby Boys Racing Team in Oz & USA suggested Carey enter Group A and buy Number 18...a 1989 Nissan Skyline HR31 GTS-R Motorsports works car driven by Mark Skaife, one of only four cars in existence.
"You need Number 18," Chad told me he told Carey...and
Carey did so.
Chad had a business repairing Ford Mustangs...Carey needed repairs...turned up at Chad's workshop many years ago.
Chad recalls he said to Carey, "I've heard of you...you're a hard racer."
They've been close friends ever since!
Carey raced Number 18 for 7 years.
In 2012 Carey drove Number 18 to victory all around Australia.
He won Group A at Phillip Island off Tasmania that year, Eastern Creek in New South Wales, Morgan Park in Queensland, Sandown in Victoria, Formula 1 raceday in Melbourne and Wakefield in Goulburn NSW. He was crowned the 2012 Group A Australian National Champion.
Sprayed with champagne.
But he had an edge that the other drivers didn't have.
He does not drink alcohol.
He has the skill...sharp as...but is abstinence the secret to his success?
****** Godzilla Lives
Today Chad is driving Carey's Number 18 ...racing for...and against Carey!
Carey is driving his new car for the first time...lot of talk around the pits...'cause Carey's new car has a famous history.
And his car like in its day...bears a special number and name. It's Number
1...and it's name is Godzilla.
In 1991 a 6 cylinder Nissan Skyline BNR32 GT-R won the famous Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama.
Smashed all the V8s that win each year.
161 laps of mountain torture.
The car was known as Godzilla...built by Fred Gibson the 1967 Bathurst winner...smashed all opposition in its wake...earning the coveted Number 1.
Mt Panorama is the playground of the immortals of Australian motor racing.
From 1963 to 2014 Allan Moffatt won 4 times, Peter Brock 8 times, Jim Richards 6 times (3 with Brock & 3 with Skaife), Larry Perkins 5 times (2 with Brock), Alan Grice 2 times, Craig Lowndes 5 times, Jamie Whincup 4 times (3 with Lowndes), Dick Johnson 3 times and Mark Skaife 6 times (3 with Jim Richards, 1 with Lowndes).
Geoff and David Brabham won in 1997...sons of the former Aussie Formula 1 World Champion Jack Brabham.
And Mark Skaife and Jim Richards had their first victories as co-drivers in 1991 driving Godzilla.
Godzilla smashed the race record in 1991...a record that lasted until 2010...that's 19 years!
Until broken in 2010 by Craig Lowndes and
Carey McMahon Racing's Head Honcho
Mark Skaife in a V8 Holden VE Commodore.
In 1992 Godzilla was purchased by a Thai millionaire who raced it in Asia...then it rotted in a garage.
A few years ago it was bought by an Australian who pulled it to bits but never got around to reassembling it.
Meanwhile Carey had been racing a Torana in 2013 and 2014 with mixed success.
His stalling in the front row at the start in Darwin causing a massive pileup became a youtube sensation.
But Carey preferred success for more altruistic reasons...so he bought Godzilla in pieces...and started putting it back together. Nigel
Rod is Carey's full-time mechanic, panel beater, master of all trades...runs Carey McMahon Racing Team.
On raceday Rod was busy doing his thing ensuring Carey's cars were ready to race.
Gave me the chance to chat with another important cog in the wheel of Carey's success...Nigel...and his story is worth telling.
When he was 10, Nigel was walking to the shops for his mum and heard "rat a tat tat."
Drawn by the noise of a pneumatic wheel nut remover he stuck his head
Race Car Engineer Extraordinaire
into a car repair workshop.
Thus met an immortal of motor racing...a Bathurst winner...Colin Bond.
Little would Nigel then know that that chance meeting would change his life.
He used to stop in over the years and at age 14 got a job sweeping the workshop.
Colin Bond invited him to attend races but Nigel's Mum said he was too young and wouldn't let him go.
When he was 15 Nigel attended a Motor Show.
A voice said "Hello Nigel."
It was Colin Bond...made Nigel's day.
At age 19, Nigel got a job at an Alfa Romeo dealership.
A man walked in and said "Hello Nigel."
It was Colin Bond.
Colin Bond and Alan Grice were driving the cars for the Alfa Romeo Racing team at the time.
Nigel worked for Colin Bond for 11 years after that...working on cars driven by Colin Bond and Alan Jones.
Over 35 years he has worked on cars of many well known racing car drivers including Peter Brock and Dick Johnson.
One day someone said to him "There's a guy called Carey McMahon that has a few problems. Here
Shelby Boys Racing Team owner
is his number. How about you give him a ring?"
"If he wants me, he can give me a ring" he replied.
About 3 years later Nigel's phone rang.
"Hello. My name is Carey McMahon. I hear you may be able to help me. "
Nigel was engaged in 2013 to re-build Carey's De Tomaso sports car into a Class C racing car.
So Nigel started re-building it in his spare time.
But Carey had more pressing matters, "I have a Torana SLR5000 road car I want to race. Can you re-build it first?"
Carey crashed the Torana in a race in 2014, so Nigel was called in again...to repair it.
Then in 2014, Carey bought Godzilla in pieces and engaged Nigel to rebuild it!
Repaired the body, gearbox, engine, suspension, brakes, electrics...everything totally rebuilt new or restored.
Word got out that Godzilla was returning...doing a Lazarus...maybe a phoenix rising...attracting podium envy.
So someone offered Carey over 1 million dollars for the completed beast.
Tempting...could help out his kids...could do this...do that...it's a lot of money!
But when he'd come this far...all he wanted to do was
race it...Carey Rising...podium envy.
Knocked the offer back...preferred to show his determination, bravery, amazing skill, willingness to risk, a big dose of luck...and TMFM!!!!!
So he bought Denise & I tickets to see how he'd go.
****** Race Day
Denise & I got there early. Chain's "Blowing in D" screaming over the loudspeakers as we surveyed the track...great music...gonna be a good day.
Down the grassy hill...past the Peter Brock memorabilia...tunnel under the track and grandstand...where are Pits 59 & 60?
Carey McMahon Racing...there it is...greeted by the master himself...his excitement palpable...grand tour for the Dancing Ones.
Woooh...two turbos...5 fuel tank inlets in the boot...this ain't a racing car...it's a frigging rocket!!!
And while his fans stroked his ego...Denise & I watched the races leading up...the smell of octane...the scream of engines...sharpening our senses for what was to come.
He had two races on the Saturday and two on the Sunday...number 2 on the grid as a result of practice.
Terry Lawler from Caltex Racing number 1 on pole.
Carey McMahon on 2
Duncan MacKellar on 3
Anthony Compton on 4
Chris Stillwell on 6
David Gardner on 7
Garry Collins on 8
Chad Parrish on 9
34 qualifiers First Race - 5 laps - Group A -18 starters
They did two laps to warm up then down the straight at 80 kph in formation...starter gun smoke...bang!
Someone lit Carey's wick and they were off .
Led from the start...each lap further ahead.
First Race in Godzilla and Carey won by 11.6998 seconds from Terry Lawlor!
Average lap speed 142 kph...BUT 265 kph down the straight...THAT's FLYING.
Only 5 laps.
Broke the Eastern Creek Lap Record...1:39:4906...NEW LAP RECORD
Chad in number 18 came 7th from 9th on pole so he was happy with that. Second Race - 5 laps - Groups A & C - 30 starters
Didn't get the best of starts so we were a bit concerned in that one
Until a lone car came to the top of the first home straight.
Yep...Number 1 screaming by.
Only 5 laps.
Broke the Eastern Creek Lap Record...AGAIN...1:39:2666...NEW LAP
Second Race in Godzilla and Carey won by 3.9121 seconds from Terry Lawlor!
Still F***** Fast!!!!
Hugging Denise when it was over...for his wife Lyn who was cheering him on from a hospital bed.
Thinking of you Lyn.
Chad in number 18 came 7th again from 9th so he was again happy with that. Sunday Race 1 Third Race - 5 laps - Groups A & C - 28 starters
Broke the Eastern Creek Lap Record...AGAIN...1:37:8622...THIRD NEW LAP RECORD
Faster still !!!!
Third race in Godzilla and Carey won by ONLY .4136 seconds from Tony Alford...talk about close!
Chad in number 18 came 4th from 9th so he was absolutely stoked. Sunday Race 2 - 25th Anniversary Race Fourth Race - 15 laps this time - Groups A & C - 27 starters
First...Carey McMahon...AGAIN...THAT'S FOUR IN A ROW
This time by ONLY .3550 secs from Tony Alford...now that's racing!!!
Does Godzilla fly or what????
Fastest lap...Carey McMahon...1:40:4960...Average speed 141 kmph.
F***** Faster still !!!!
Chad in number 18 did not finish so he was absolutely
Heading to another Championship
But that's racing.
So spread the news.
And he's gotta new owner.
His name is Carey McMahon.
And he's hungry.
Relax & Enjoy,
Tot: 2.622s; Tpl: 0.148s; cc: 14; qc: 32; dbt: 0.0414s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb