Warwick man rallying for a good cause
IN APRIL, Warwick resident and motoring enthusiast Colin O'Brien will finally realise a lifelong dream.
Mr O'Brien, with support from his family and friends, will compete for the first time in the famous Targa Tasmania Rally, encompassing six days of racing, covering more than 40 competitive timed stages and more than 1500km in total, on some of the best public country roads in Australia.
Mr O'Brien will be driving a beautifully prepared Mitsubishi Evo8 and fellow rally driver and friend Connor Oldham from Helensvale will be calling the notes from the co-drivers seat.
Mr O'Brien has more than 25 years rally and tarmac sprint experience, but said this was an event like no other.
"You just can't train physically for a race like this,” he said.
"This event is as much a mental battle and a race of restraint and good decision-making more than anything.
"All while maintaining a brisk reliable pace and looking after your car by driving with mechanical empathy in order to get to the finish.”
Mr O'Brien started rallying in 1991 and has three times finished runner up in class at the Australian Rally Championship Queensland Round and has been a regular top 10 Queensland Rally Championship competitor.
He and co-driver/navigator Mr Oldham will enter in the early modern class and rookie section for the event, as both have not competed at Targa Tasmania before.
Mr O'Brien's parent Phil and Marilyn will act as the service team for the event.
Both are past Gold Coast Tweed Motorsporting Car Club champions and were founding members of the club in 1968.
Phil competed in the State Rally Championship from 1977 to 1987 and co-founded the Competitive Drivers Car Club in 1986.
Mr O'Brien said during the course of the upcoming huge adventure the team would be supporting the Beyond Blue organisation.
"We'll be promoting the charity and bringing awareness to depression and anxiety and the avenues available for support to those suffering,” he said.
"This is something very close to my heart as family and friends have been touched and affected by the outcomes of anxiety and depression, so if we can help in any small way to make a difference to someones life it's well worth it.
"I've lost good school friends and car club mates to depression and have battled the black dog myself over the years.
"Any financial sponsorship received by the team will be going towards running costs and donations to Beyond Blue and our car will be carrying the charity logo.”
Mr O'Brien said community sponsorship and support was vital for his participation in the event.
"Since moving to Warwick I've been supporting local sport and charities and have raised more than $150,000 for local cricket as well as securing thousands in sponsorship and overseeing renovations and improvements to facilities,” he said.
"I have always done everything with only good intentions and never expecting anything in return.
"But it would be nice now if the local community could get behind our journey and dream while we raise money for charity and bring attention to Beyond Blue for those that need some support.”
Local residents and businesses can get behind this journey and charity fund-raiser by contacting Colin to discuss various levels of support or to purchase tickets in the Targa Dream raffle.
"The car is pretty bare at the moment as well, so it would be fantastic to get some business sponsorship and logos to put on there,” he said.
Tickets are $5 each or books of 10 or 20 can be sold but only 800 are being offered.
First prize is the choice of one of three sports memorabillia valued at over $1000 each (signed 25th anniversary Qld State of Origin jersey or signed Mick Doohan multiple world motorbike champion portrait or a signed Australian legend cricketer Doug Walters portrait) or the winner can choose to take a $500 gift voucher.
As well the raffle winner will win three hot laps at Morgan Park in the Mitsubishi EVO8 Targa rally car.
Mr O'Brien is available on 0414497296 after work hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org