MCLEOD FAMILY HUNTING SIX HOUR SUCCESS
If you are looking for a textbook case of ‘the family that races together, stays together,’ you need go no further than the Ryan McLeod Racing Cars team at this year’s Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.
Ryan McLeod will run two entries in this Easter’s event; the #3 Rowell Logistics P/L Ford Mustang Mach 1 to be driven in A2 by his sons Cameron and Tim, and the #10 Racer Industries Holden Astra VX-R to be steered in C Class by Ryan’s dad – 1987 Bathurst winner Peter McLeod – his son Benjamin, and family friend, Brock Giblin.
The Astra has plenty of racing pedigree behind it, having been contested by the McLeod family not only at previous Bathurst events but also at overseas enduros, while the Mustang is a new build recently completed for Ryan McLeod Racing Cars’ customer, Michael Rowell.
“My wife is part of the team, my three boys are driving, my dad is there, and I am running it. We are completely resourced by ourselves, and we do everything – we build the cars, we tune the cars, we transport them, we do the lot, so it is about as ‘family’ as it gets, I suppose,” Ryan McLeod explained.
“Dad first raced at Bathurst in 1980 and funnily enough the Astra he will race this year is going to be the number 10, which is the same number he had when he won the race with Peter Brock in 1987, which is just a fluke that that is the number we were given. He will mostly be there to help the boys along, providing guidance – he is 74 now but is still pretty active.
“In the Mustang, it is the next step for the boys who have been racing in Formula Ford and other things, so I thought that was the right thing to do.
“Racing is just what we do. If we are not working on our cars, we are working in our business. I think we just love all parts of it. I run my own cars in Formula Ford for the boys, and when we aren’t doing that, we are in the shop and selling parts and we are very active in that and really enjoy doing that, so I suppose it is just what we do, it is our thing.
“We really enjoy it, and we have a good group of people around us. Some of our crew have been coming to race with us since the early nineties, and of course there is mum and dad and all the rest. At some stage I had been to every Bathurst since around 1991 to about 2007. Then we started doing the 12 hours – dad started doing those in 1991 and I think we did every one of them up until the last one that was run. So, we have always been doing some form of endurance racing at Bathurst every year.
“We think the 6 Hour is a great event and it well worthwhile for all young drivers to try and get there and do it properly. There is a real good combination of people from the top level like Marcos Ambrose all the way to the enthusiast level, and I think that makes for a really great event which caters for a wide scope, and we really like doing it.
“(To be successful this year) would be a good achievement for us. It would show that the boys are able to drive, and the cars have been prepared well. It is not an easy job – it is a difficult race, a long race, and a lot of prep goes into it beforehand.
“If we do a good job and get to the end and everything goes well, I suppose it will be ‘job done’ and we plan on giving it the best go that we can,” he added, while thanking Michael Rowell for the opportunity to race his Mustang this year.
Joining the McLeods in their steering duties at the Mountain for Ryan McLeod Racing Cars will be Brock Giblin, who has become close to the family over the years.
“In 2012 when I came back to the Australian Production Cars, I was in a practice session in Sydney and a dozen or so cars behind Brock when he had a massive accident and his car rolled and burst into flames; he nearly lost his life,” McLeod explains.
“I stopped and helped to get him out of the car, and we have been in close contact ever since. He has been slowly working his way to get back into production cars, and has been doing some Hyundai races with my son Ben. The deal always was that we would get him back where he wanted to go all those years ago; so, it is a big deal for us that he is coming back.”
Event tickets are available online via the official event website.
The event will be broadcast live, ad-break free and on demand on Stan Sports on April 16-17.