Friday, March 21, 2014

Brabham - An Incredible Racing Dynasty

Had lunch this week with our three time F1 Champion Sir Jack Brabham, arranged by my good friend Grahame Ward, who does a fantastic job as a companion to Jack, helping him deal with his many motor sport appearances.

At 88 Jack gets a lot of requests to attend functions, and Grahame and Jack's wife Lady Margaret Brabham are a great team fitting these events in with regular dyalisis sessions, and some brief periods of relaxation.

Jack and I first met in 1966, and I am very proud to have been able to maintain a firm friendship with him.

I'm pleased to say Jack's health is stable, despite poor hearing and his kidney problems, but when you talk to him about grandson Matthew, the old glint in the eye returns, and his big smile reveals the depth of his pride in the latest member of the family to turn talent into a career.

Matthew, son of Geoff, has just moved from the Pro Mazda Series in the USA, up another rung in the ladder to Indy Lights. In addition he retains his BRDC Rising Star membership for a second year.

His talent is obvious when you look back over his 2013 season in the ProMazda series. He recorded 13 wins (seven in a row!); with 15 podiums, 10 Pole positions and 13 fastest laps. He led 349 out of 432 laps, which results in an 81% domination!

Unveiling the new Indy Lights car

Moving into Indy Lights however has meant a big change in how he approaches the new formula. Matty says: "The increased weight of the car is quite a surprise, it feels like I'm at the head of a train with a number of carriages pushing me into the corner. The downforce and grip are much greater, but I'm feeling at ease with the Andretti Autosport team, and I feel pretty confident ahead of this season."

At just 20 years of age, this mature and talented young man has a great future ahead of him. When I had lunch with him and Jack just a year ago I was so impressed with his demeanour, his self-confidence and his genuine humility. His respect and deference to grandfather Jack is a delight to see, and likewise Jack is full of praise for his grandson.

Lest anyone think Matthew has been given a legup because of his famous name, you just have to look at the stats I noted from the 2013 season. You don't get ahead this quickly without talent, and the respect of the people in the sport.

Just this month Matthew was awarded the 20th Gorsline Scholarship by John Gorsline, Founder and CEO of Gorsline Company, a leader in high risk motor sports insurance.

John Gorsline and Matthew Brabham

This introduces Matthew to Jacques Delaire of the fitness company Performance Prime where he will work on an individually-tailored health and performance program to sharpen his fitness, skills, and competitive abilities.

Watch this space!

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