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Wizard from Oz
Down under, they have a thing about saloon car racing. Epic duels between big engined Fords and Holdens (better known as GM to us Europhiles). Fought out on equally epic circuits such as the world famous Mount Panorama at Bathurst in New South Wales. Driven by local legends such as the late Peter Brock and more recently Mark Skaife.
A few well known UK racers too have been tempted by the challenge of the famous Bathurst 1000. BTCC driver Jason Plato being one of the notables who headed down under to test the metal in more ways than one of the local competition.
Another Englishman who was attracted to the Australian V8 Supercar championship was Alex Sidwell. His racing bug first bit in 1989 and he has been racing ever since. First in 911s. Then with some notable success in an ex Mark Hales Sapphire Cossie. He reckons that’s where the thirst for power might have really started.
A trip to Oz in 2005 to see the race at Bathurst fed the flames of desire. That in turn led to the eventual arrival in the UK of his first Holden.
“Strewth mate. That’s a long way to go for Vauxhall” some wags said at the time…
Well each to their own and good on yer Alex for sticking to your guns. And actually good on Holden too for showing serious interest in this Pom wanting to export one of their home grown racers back to the UK.
Since 2009 Alex has been campaigning his V8 around circuits that, to be honest, aren’t necessarily the natural hunting ground of a Holden. Silverstone is good for letting that big V8 off the leash. Brands less so. But racing in the QMN championship, Classic Thunder series and the Euro Saloons keeps Alex plenty occupied. And noticed quite a bit too. But that’s to be expected in a car as immaculately presented as this.
The amount of support we get from homesick Aussies over here is great, they love seeing us in action
Mind you it’s not only Aussies over here showing an interest. Alex is still supported by Holden in Australia and gets help in the form of lubricants from Fuchs oils operation in Oz. “It’s great” says Alex, “They simply ship over a drum of oil and say when it’s getting empty, let us know and we’ll send you another!”
Using the expertise Alex has built up racing Holdens, he now also offers servicing and maintenance of similar big engined cars from the GM stable including Vauxhall VXR, Monaro CV8 and VXR8 models.
If you fancy seeing the Holden in the flesh, why not make your way to the NGK Pavilion at the Goodwood Festival of Speed where it will be on show? Or you can see it in action at one of its forthcoming races, details of which can be found at the Holden Racing website.
Tags: Alex Sidwell, Bathhurst, Holden Racing, Motor SportPublished on 3rd June 2014