MATTHEW Reed knows he's in the twilight of his sprintcar racing career - he's just grateful he can still jump behind the wheel.
The sign-writer suffered a heart attack shortly after moving from Melbourne to Allansford in 2020.
Reed, 46, has recovered from his health scare but remains "hyper vigilant".
"It was a very big shock. It's not like I was incredibly unhealthy or old," he told The Standard.
"In the aftermath you're laying in hospital and wondering what implications it is going to have for life - are you going to be able to do this, can you do that?
"I had to go through some extra things in order to get a licence (to drive again)."
Reed - a dominant figure in the Sprintcar Racing Association of Victoria series - is enjoying the race challenge and plans to compete in the South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic in three weeks' time at Allansford's Premier Speedway.
"My best years were 10 or 15 years ago and I am very close to the end of the driving part of my career," he conceded.
"There is a small window of opportunity there to drive the car and then it will be time to step out and do something else.
"I would imagine I would still be involved moving forward in some capacity, either as a team owner or helping someone else."
Reed, whose connections to the south-west stem back to his childhood when he'd travel with his family to Premier Speedway, shifted to the country after downsizing his two businesses.
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He still operates Reed Signs and Ultimate Car Wraps but on smaller scales.
"I had the factory up there and staff and was running around like a crazy person," Reed said.
He believes the stress might have contributed to his health concerns.
"I'd always liked the area but work and life was always in Melbourne and then I kind of got to a point personally where work was out of control and I really needed to slow down," Reed said.
Reed said his health scare was a wake up call.
"It was an ambulance ride to hospital. A heart attack is basically a blockage of an artery which starves your heart for blood and oxygen," he said.
"It required surgery to put a stent in and remove the blockage.
"I am OK physically. I feel largely OK from that. It does require management and will for the rest of my life.
"Mentally it is a little bit difficult sometimes. You seem to be hyper-vigilant and anxious."
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Speedway being close by was an added bonus associated with Reed's sea change.
He attended his first classic in 1987 and raced in the famous race for the first time in the mid-'90s.
"We used to sit as a family. There's a little bit of grass near the highway end next to the terrace between turns one and two, that was our little spot," Reed said.
Dad John, now in his 70s and based in Echuca, remains a constant in Reed's racing world.
"My dad was involved in racing before me so I grew up around it," he said.
"From a young age it was something I always wanted to do and have been able to do for the best part of my life so that's pretty cool."
The classic is on January 21-23.
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