Rac­ing is in the blood for Tweed’s Bren­dan Strong

Elec­tri­cian can­not be ex­hausted

Tweed Daily News - - BIG READ LIFE - Steve Vi­vian steve.vi­vian@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

BREN­DAN Strong’s first mem­o­ries at the race track are as a four-year-old.

It was there he would watch, en­thralled, as his old man screamed around the track.

When he wasn’t at the track, Strong was watch­ing his dad work on his XU1 To­rana in the garage.

“I would sit out there day and night,” Strong re­called.

Be­tween his early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion of cars and rac­ing and oil and me­chan­ics, Strong at­tended Ter­ra­nora Pub­lic School and Lind­is­farne. His first job was at the lo­cal Mac­cas.

Now 27, Strong’s for­mal ed­u­ca­tion has helped him start his own busi­nesses in the Tweed – B-strong Elec­tri­cal. His first ed­u­ca­tion, track-side, has him on the grid at next week­end’s Gold Coast 600.

Strong has raced on the Kuhmo V8 Tour­ing Car Se­ries, the cir­cuit two below the V8 Su­per­cars, since 2014.

His dad, Graeme Strong, achieved suc­cess on the Syd­ney rac­ing cir­cuit, and it wasn’t un­til Strong started go-kart­ing at the age of seven that he could first start prop­erly im­i­tat­ing his fa­ther in the driver’s seat.

“It was an awe­some child­hood grow­ing up in the rac­ing scene,” Strong said.

“I met a lot of good peo­ple through­out the years and it al­lowed me to travel through­out Aus­tralia at a young age, which was spe­cial.”

Af­ter ex­celling in the go-karts, Strong stepped into cars at age 13. He raced in New Zealand, re­turned home with the skills to com­pete in Aus­tralia, and had grad­u­ated to V8 tour­ing cars by 2014, join­ing the Kuhmo Se­ries driv­ing what was once Cameron Mc­conville’s VX Com­modore.

Over his five years on the cir­cuit, Strong’s pas­sion, hard-work and fierce com­mit­ment has been tested by the rigours and real­i­ties of his life as a racer and, con­cur­rently, a full-time busi­ness owner.

Dam­ag­ing crashes aren’t cheap to re­pair, re­pairs aren’t quick to make, and mak­ing it in the rac­ing in­dus­try re­quires not only skill and ded­i­ca­tion, but a healthy dose of luck to se­cure spon­sors and fi­nan­cial back­ing.

“It’s a hard game try­ing to do 70/80 hours in the busi­ness and then go to race meet­ings,” Strong said.

“But it’s ex­tremely re­ward­ing when you get the results. Now I’ve learned to deal with it a lot bet­ter. At the start it was a shock if you got dam­age – you might panic. But now we know the pro­ce­dure and how to turn things around.”

It was once Strong who was there ev­ery step of the way when his dad was rac­ing sports sedans.

Now, Strong said he was blessed to have his fa­ther as part of his rac­ing crew.

“My fa­ther and I are pretty much a team,” Strong said.

“It’s great be­ing able to bond, do­ing some­thing you both love.

“It’s a small team we run. A lot of the guys that help us are vol­un­teers, and slowly we’re be­com­ing more pro­fes­sional as a team and com­pet­ing with the big­ger and more pro teams that run in the se­ries.”

Strong’s rac­ing results have been trend­ing up­wards as his ex­pe­ri­ence on the tour has grown, and this year has been his best sea­son to date, with a sec­ond place at Queens­land Race­way in the pri­va­teer class help­ing him to a sixth place fin­ish in the Kuhmo Cup.

“Our results have been more con­sis­tent and we’re slowly de­vel­op­ing the car to get more pace out of it,” Strong said.

“We’ve had good qual­i­fy­ing results up the front, but un­for­tu­nately we’ve been taken out of a few races that would have led to a podium.”

Strong is now geared up to com­pete at next week­end’s Gold Coast 600, where rac­ers in the Kuhmo Se­ries will raise the cur­tain for the V8 Su­per­cars.

“Be­ing a lo­cal around here we haven’t ever had one this close to home,” Strong said.

“We drive the streets ev­ery day around the Gold Coast. It will be good to get a race car down and see what it’s like with the grand­stands sur­round­ing you.”

PHO­TOS: GE­OFF WHITE

BORN TO RACE: Fol­low­ing in his old man’s foot­steps, Strong been a top-class racer since he first started go-kart­ing as a seven-year-old.

SPEED DEMON: Bren­dan Strong will race in a sup­port cat­e­gory for the V8 Su­per­cars at next week­end’s Gold Coast 600.

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