Supercars crew’s taste of life in the Army lane

Department of Defence

V8 Supercars crew members from Matt Stone Racing swapped car pits for bear pits when they tackled the Army obstacle course at Kokoda Barracks in Canungra, Queensland, this month.

Driver Jack Le Brocq and 10 of the team’s mechanics and crew joined vehicle technicians from the 20th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, on the gruelling course.

Wearing old-pattern Army uniforms and cam cream, they traversed ropes, scrambled through waterlogged tunnels, jumped walls and crawled under barbed wire.

It took champion driver Jack Le Brocq out of his comfort zone but said it was a fun experience he’ll remember.

“When we started doing the first thing, that wigged me out; I hate little tight spaces and going through water,” Mr Le Brocq said.

“It’s a mind game, and motorsports is a massive mind game for us.”

The experience was part of a reciprocal relationship between 20th Regiment and Matt Stone Racing.

Since last year, Army mechanics have joined the Supercars team in the pits during race meets while Matt Stone Racing crew members have visited the unit for Army and skill-building experiences.

Warrant Officer Class One Ben Munro, 20th Regiment Artificer Sergeant Major, said what started as a relationship with just the unit has now expanded to include the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) Corp and wider Army.

“For the vehicle technicians, it gives them the opportunity to see another high performing team, how they operate and learn from them, but also an opportunity to showcase their own skills,” Warrant Officer Munro said.

Company owner Matt Stone said he has loved having Army mechanics join the team and is looking forward to the relationship continuing.

“It’s great to merge our two teams and experience things like this,” Mr Stone said.

“Our relationship and partnership with RAEME has been fantastic, where we get people who are the same as us, mechanics automotive, but from a different walk of the sector in the military side.

“They come in, not just an extra set of hands to help out, but skilled tradesmen, and passionate ones at that.”

Vehicle mechanic Corporal Wade Ganzerla was one of the Army tradies who joined the race crew during the Clipsal 500 last year.

He joined the team again this time, showcasing a taste of Army life on the obstacle course.

“Being Defence for the past 10 years, it’s good to see how other work places work, and it’s good to let them see how we work,” Corporal Ganzerla said.

“We can fine-tune any kinks that either one of us has and potentially find ways of making stuff easier.”

While the Army obstacle course is miles from a racetrack, Warrant Officer Munro said the skills needed to tackle it successfully cross over.

“Performing under pressure, making them work as a team on the obstacle course, they absolutely have to work as a team in the pits,” he said.

“And communication; you could see their communication improve from the beginning.”

/Public Release. View in full here.