Michael, Premier Speedway has just completed another successful holiday season. What did you think of this year’s Classic?
It was a marvellous event. Full credit to the team at Premier Speedway.
The event is just going from strength to strength and it’s great to be involved with it. It’s even better to be involved now since we moved to Koroit in May last year.
We’ll speak more about the Sprintcar Classic shortly, but first, why did you and your family move to Koroit?
We were living over in Perth but found the travel to this side of Australia just too difficult with my business.
We had been living in Perth for nine years.
We thought it would be easier for the business, Performance Racegear, if we moved to Victoria to live.
We had visited Warrnambool for the last two years and really liked the area. Warrnambool reminds me of Scotland say, 30 years ago.
We had a look around for a few weeks before deciding on Koroit.
It’s a great spot to live.
Koroit has everything that we want it’s nice and quiet and offers a laid back attitude.
We’re on three acres of land, which is wonderful.
One of the best things about Koroit is we are only a few minutes from the airport.
I have to make trips to Melbourne and interstate, so it’s only 30 minutes’ flying time till I’m at Essendon Airport if I have to go to Tullamarine to go overseas or interstate
I just catch the free mini-bus or if I’m going into Melbourne for meeting I just catch a über.
I can leave Mailors Flat at 8.15am and be back in the Koroit pub at 6pm that night if I have meetings in Melbourne. We’re really lucky to have Sharp Airlines operating a wonderful service at our back doorstep.
My wife Cheryl is a nurse and got a job at SouthWest Healthcare, while our son David works as a policeman in Perth.
Did you make many trips overseas or interstate in 2017?
Yes. I was in America twice, Europe four times and made 15 other trips around Australia to places like Darwin, Sydney and Perth.
Can you tell me what your business is about?
Performance Racegear is all about safety in motorsport.
We supply drivers with racesuits, underwear, boots, gloves, helmets, seat belts and seats.
My nickname to everyone in motorsport is “Safety”.
The business was set up in 2013 in Perth and has just grown at a rapid rate.
My dad was a former driver of motorsport vehicles, so I just hooked into the bug.
Cheryl co-drove with me in the United Kingdom, so she’s also got a great background in motorsport.
I had worked in the timber industry and was a manager of Bunnings in Mandurah in Western Australia until I answered a job advertisement looking for someone to get involved in safety in the motorsport industry.
Why are the products that you sell better than those that your competitors sell?
Our products are made in Europe.
I visited a travel expo in Europe in 2015 and could see the way of the future.
We were appointed importers and distributors for two leading European motorsport manufacturers, namely P1 and Schroth.
We’ve set our safety standards at a higher level than our competitors and we’ve found that our competitors offer cheap imported brands that are manufactured in Taiwan or Pakistan.
I would say another reason why the business has thrived was the signing of James McFadden in 2015.
He’s the multi-Australian speedway champion.
His signing has really helped our brand. James has a massive following in the sport and we’ve got Corey McCullagh using our gear.
It was great to see Corey win this year’s Warrnambool Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic.
It’s been a real shot in the arm for the sport at a local level to see him win the prestigious event.
He started off driving go-karts, but through hard work Corey achieved a childhood dream winning this year’s Classic.
Michael, what for example is the average cost of a racesuit?
The average cost is $3000, but when you consider the top level sprint cars may cost anywhere between $250,000 to $300,000.
They’re continually in accidents; it’s really cheap what we’re talking about because it centres on the safety of drivers, which is paramount.
Michael, the talk is more than $7 million goes into the Warrnambool economy due to the Classic. Can the event get any bigger, and is it big on the world stage?
The Classic is a world-class event, make no mistake about that.
Can it get bigger? Good question.
The venue is full to capacity, so I’m not sure you can fit any more in.
Premier Speedway is bursting to its seams on Classic night.
There are a lot of Americans and other international visitors that make the trip over to Warrnambool for the Classic.
So that speaks volumes for the event.
The Classic fits ideally on the motorsport calendar.
I think there were 108 cars entered for this year’s Classic, which is a wonderful result.
I’m not really sure what the economic benefits are of the Classic to this region but it’s best described as huge.
I would hate to see how the region would fare if the Classic was not on the calendar.
We’ve just signed on as a major sponsor for next year’s Classic again.
The work that David Mills and his hard-working committee. plus the volunteers. put into the Classic should be acknowledged.
They work tirelessly to ensure Premier Speedway is in great shape for the Classic. I take my hat off to them all.