THE Great Race doesn’t just draw drivers to Bathurst, it also draws mechanics – and those who are studying to be a mechanic.
Two young Central West women will be at the Bathurst 1000 this weekend gaining invaluable experience during the running of the motor racing spectacular.
Peak Hill Central School’s Natasha Ahern, who is studying a Certificate II in Automotive as part of the TAFE NSW-delivered Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program, will work in TAFE NSW’s Mount Panorama Motorsport Training Centre.
TAFE NSW automotive teacher John Ewing said it was an opportunity for the students to not only get a close look at the Supercars legends in action, but a chance to get hands-on and work on a variety of racing cars.
“Every year TAFE NSW students have the chance to help at the Motorsport Training Centre, with many drivers and teams in many different classes relying on us to help them with mechanical and panel repairs to get them back on the track and racing again,” he said.
Natasha and eight other TAFE NSW TVET students from across western NSW were in Bathurst before the Great Race preparing for the event, including familiarising themselves with the equipment.
“It’s very exciting thinking about working on the cars,” Natasha said.
“I have always wanted to be a mechanic, so there’s not many better experiences than this.”
Young Parkes mechanic Siobhan O’Brien, meanwhile, who has “always loved cars”, will work with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team at the Bathurst 1000.
She will spend five days working in the pits with the team.
“I’m very excited. I’m really keen to learn,” Ms O’Brien said.
“Supercars isn’t necessarily where I want to end up, but I definitely want to do more motorsport and this experience is going to help me with my future motorsport endeavours.”
The 22-year-old is now a qualified mechanic after completing her apprenticeship in February.
“There’s not another job I’d rather do,” she said.
“I really like cars and learning how to fix them goes hand in hand.
“It can be very frustrating sometimes, but I just love it, all of it except maybe the plastic in new cars.”
Ms O’Brien is no stranger to the Great Race, having worked at the Bathurst 1000 for the past two years through the TAFE Motorsport course.
She also regularly works with a motorsport team from Young in her spare time.
“My team is competing in the Kumho Tyre V8 Touring Car Series,” she said.
“We have an old BF Falcon Supercar that James Courtney drove.”