GARY Brown discovered very early his son Mitchell would end up in motorsport.
When Mitchell, more commonly known as Charlie, took to a go-kart track in Brisbane aged five, he turned off the bitumen and started doing donuts on the grass.
Asked why he went off the track, the youngster replied: “It’s boring on the bitumen.”
Brown, who is now crew chief for Charlie, said he knew he was wasting his time with circuit racing.
“He would race anything, the mower down the hill. He would drive anything and he just wanted to do it,” he said.
Charlie, now 20, is one of 97 drivers chasing victory in the Australian Wingless Sprints Championship at Allansford’s Premier Speedway over the next three nights.
Brisbane-based Charlie is no stranger to the track and the south-west. He has been a regular in formula 500s after racing junior sedans from age 10 to 16.
Charlie, who got his nickname from the famous Peanuts comic strip when he was knocking around with his dad who used to race modified productions, has enjoyed a lot of success in the 500s.
He has won three New South Wales formula 500 titles, two Queensland and one Victorian championship, but he has never found the podium in the national title.
A change of class could be the luck he is looking for.
While he is still racing formula 500s, Charlie said he had one drive in a wingless last season before deciding to mix the two this season
But he played down his chances of success in the Brett Thomas-owned wingless this weekend.
“I’ve just come down for a bit of fun,” he said in the pits yesterday after scrutineering.
“It’s Warrnambool. Everyone loves coming to Warrnambool. It’s the atmosphere, a great racetrack and everyone in the town gets behind speedway.
“It would be nice to win but I’m just here to have fun and put a straight car back in the track at the end of the weekend.”
He said competition would be fierce in the budget class, which has strict controls on engines to ensure a level playing field.
Charlie suggested a number of south-west drivers with experience on the track — like Allansford’s Stephen Bell, Camperdown’s Jye Saunders and Warrnambool’s Steven Trigg — would be tough to beat. Another is Camperdown’s Jeff Judd.
The championships begin tonight, with 49 cars in action. The other half of the field then races tomorrow night before all are brought together for Sunday’s finale. Racing begins at 6pm.