BUNDY VITAL FOR OUR RACE FUTURE: Supercar legends say
MOTORSPORT: Supercars legends Garry and Barry Rogers believe regional cities like Bundaberg are vital for the future of the sport.
The father and son duo, who own Garry Rogers Motorsport and run two cars in the Virgin Australia Supercar series, visited the Rum City yesterday to explore the sights and see for themselves the home of their driver Mason Barbera.
Included in the trip was a luncheon at The Rock Bar And Grill where Garry and Barry met with prominent Bundaberg businessman and one of Barbera's major sponsors in IOR Petroleum, which feature on the car the 20-year-old drives.
Both agreed that with Bundaberg producing talented drivers like Barbera, Kel Treseder and Troy Loeskow and other regional cities including Townsville and Newcastle holding events in the calendar, these areas are vital for the sport.
"It's as important for the sport as it is for those regional cities we go to,” Barry said.
"Not many Melburnians would have known about Townsville until we started racing there and the word of mouth gets out there.
"As a sport the government money to put on the events is important income stream for what we do.”
The visit to the region was the first for the duo as well and they were quick to praise the wonderful weather and welcome they got from the locals.
"To see the town it's an unbelievably tidy place,” Barry said.
"There seems to be plenty going on.
"You should be really proud of what's going on.”
The duo have been involved in the sport for more than 50 years, seeing some of the best talent in Australian motorsport come through their door.
The likes of Jamie Whincup, Garth Tander, Steven Richards and Scott McLaughlin have all put on the famous colours at one stage.
Garry said Barbera was signed to the Dunlop Super 2 Series this year because he was one of the best young drivers coming through the sport.
"A guy that I've known from a long time in the old speedway days said you should have a look at this Mason Barbera,” he said.
"To cut a long story short we had a look and we had a go with him.”
And it's proven to be a success with the 20-year-old this year recording five top 10 finishes.
He will be with the team for another year after signing a contract for 2018 as well.
But Garry hopes he can do one thing in the off-season.
"To be frank I'll make no secret that I've told him he needs to lose some weight,” he said.
"He's got to be lighter because we really want him to win.”
Garry and Barry will now head to Newcastle for the final round of both the Supercar and Dunlop Super 2 Series.
It ends a frantic year after the team lost Volvo as a manufacturer at the end of 2016, which forced them to build four new cars for this season.
Garry said he was proud of the team for their efforts in guiding them to fourth in the teams championship in Supercars.
He now wants the team in both categories to end on a high note.
"With what we had at our disposal we've had what I consider a strong year,” he said. The final round of the championship starts on Friday around the streets of Newcastle.