News

Red caps to the race track: Mason Barbera's double life

SWITCHING LANES: Mason Barbera says he loves to come back to the farm in Bundaberg after a weekend in the high pressure world of motor sport.
SWITCHING LANES: Mason Barbera says he loves to come back to the farm in Bundaberg after a weekend in the high pressure world of motor sport. Eliza Goetze

GROWING OUR FUTURE

ON FRIDAY Mason Barbera will be racing in not one but two classes at Phillip Island. He's nervous about jumping between Supercars and V8 utes - but a transition he does with no hassle is between the race track and his Bundaberg family farm.

"I grew up running around on the farm. I was driving around in a HiLux by the age of nine. It was awesome.

My nunu, my father's father, came here 60 years ago and started tobacco farming like every Italian who came here.

My dad started out growing watermelons and built this place (Barbera Farms).

All my mates have moved to Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast; I can spend a week in Brisbane and I can't handle it.

Farm life, and life in Bundaberg especially, you can't beat it.

There's not many young people who want to be farmers because they see the hits we take. I have a big group of friends and none of them wants to be a farmer.

In my dad's era, everyone was a farmer.

In 15 years when these old farmers are retiring, who's going grow our food?

I love it. There's nothing better than planting something and 12 weeks later you're picking it. It's the best feeling in the world.

I have a lot of help from my uncle Robbie and I'm starting to slowly learn about growing.

LEADER: Bundaberg's Mason Barbera comes out of the Senna Chicane during the first round of the Dunlop Super 2 series in Adelaide.
LEADER: Bundaberg's Mason Barbera comes out of the Senna Chicane during the first round of the Dunlop Super 2 series in Adelaide. Garry Rogers Motorsport/Wright H

I look after the marketing side of things full time but I ventured out in 2015 and did my first ever crop of watermelons (separate to the family business as Mason Barbera Produce).

This year I'm doing beans and green capsicums too.

It was scary because I was only 17 or 18. It was hard to get respect from the agents but a lot of people have taken me under their wing.

The watermelons took a big hit from Cyclone Debbie, but the capsicums will help us through; that's being a farmer.

The racing started when I was about 7. Dad took us karting, that was a real father-son thing.

I'm a lot luckier than most 19-year-olds, I've had a really good run the last few years. But it is hard to juggle.

Being a farmer is 24/7 - I'm at races on the phone trying to run things, calling agents and organising picking, and you're 2,000km away.

SWITCHING LANES: Mason Barbera says he loves to come back to the farm in Bundaberg after a weekend in the high pressure world of motor sport.
SWITCHING LANES: Mason Barbera says he loves to come back to the farm in Bundaberg after a weekend in the high pressure world of motor sport. Eliza Goetze

People say 'You're doing too much', but I'm 19; why not? Hopefully when I'm 55 or 60 I can ease back a bit.

I get bored if nothing's going on; I go away and I get a break from the farming side of things and by the end of the weekend, I need to come back to this after a race meeting.

At a race meeting it's all cameras and lights and fans and people wanting to talk; it's awesome, but by Sunday you're like, 'Take me back to the farm, I just want to drive around and check my crops'.

At the end of the day, I want my farming to be my main source of business and income, and I want racing to always stay as my passion.

I think farming has a great future. With not many other young farmers, I see it as an opportunity.

There might not be many farmers around in 25 years' time, so why not be a big one?”

Topics:  agriculture barbera farms farming growing our future mason barbera motor sport supercars



Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

LETTERS: Government will undo our schools' hard work

FUNDING FAIL: The Federal Government's school funding plan is clearly not sector-blind, clearly not needs-based and clearly not Gonski, says a reader.

Gonski 2.0 fails to make the grade

Vape store 'raided by health department'

NEW SIGNS: Shane Kerrigan has changed his signage to comply with health department regulations at his e-cigarette shop, iVape, on Bourbong St.

Business owner says it's a little bit ironic

BEACH REPORT: Great weekend on the cards

SURFING: Jack Candy makes the most of the increase in swell size.

Life's a beach in Bundaberg

Local Partners

Gladstone's MasterChef hero blown away by support

CRANE driver Pete Morgan has been bowled over by the support he has received since making his TV debut on MasterChef.

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Is this the talent you get when you limit electronics?

Cassidy Kilburn in the Get the Beat International Dance Competition.

Cassidy, 11, preparing for national dance championships

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Approvals still needed, but key dates identified and work rolling on

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!