“STANDING ON THE OUTSIDE” – BRUCE AYERS
While the sport of speedway continues to grow rapidly at the entry and intermediate ranks, the elite level of the sport is also expanding, thanks notably to a growing body of team owners who have an insatiable desire to win both in business and on the racetrack.
Fruitful business owners know all too well that the secret to success is employing the right people in the right roles to create winning teams, and those same leadership principles have proved to work equally as well in forming race-winning Sprintcar team combinations between driver, crew-chief and owner.
Brisbane based Bruce Ayers has created a successful business in engineering and shares his love of motorsport between racing on tarmac circuits in his own legendary Mildren-Waggott “Yellow Submarine” that took Kevin Bartlett to the 1969 Australian Drivers Championship, and dirt track speedway, where the Ayers family have a new adopted son in Pennsylvanian Lucas Wolfe.
“We first met Lucas when we visited the USA back in 2015 at Lernerville when he was driving for Zemco and we got on really well and the conversations about racing in Australia just went from there, and even though he doesn’t race for the Zemaitas family anymore, we still have regular contact with them and their crew chief Tommy Carl, so it’s great to maintain those relationships too.”
With the gruelling schedule of the World Series Speedweek, the Ayers family were well aware that it would be no Christmas break despite doing what they love, with daughter Melissa and her partner Travis Woods, son Brad and his partner Jaie, as well as crew members Colin Coghill, Craig Barton, Michael North and Lachy Weiss all pulling together to contribute to the team.
“Speedweek was tough just like we expected, and even started off by us having Christmas in Adelaide, so we definitely were prepared that it wouldn’t be a holiday. We’ve done the Pennsylvania Speedweek the last four years now just as race fans and Lucas has won two of those, so that’s really become our annual break, so we love it!”
“The more we talked with Lucas, the more we realised that we have a very similar approach to setup and racing and after he first came down and just raced at Brisbane and got two podiums, it just confirmed that we were on the same page. It’s just been a lot harder to get those results this year unfortunately, but we’re really looking forward to seeing him run on the big tracks on the Western Swing, where it’s a bit more like Pennsylvania. That will be really interesting as it should suit him far more than the smaller bull rings in the east.”
Despite his love of motorsport in general, Bruce is quick to reveal the real motivator behind the national campaign.
“The real driving force behind us doing World Series is actually my wife Linda. She kept pushing for us to do it at least once and here we are having a great time! I’m so thankful for a supportive wife who is probably more enthusiastic about all this than I am, and to do it as a family and friends is just awesome!”
Lucas currently sits fifth in the 2019-20 Championship, with four rounds remaining, and trails Jock Goodyer by 103 points in the Rookie of the Year battle.
The next round will be hosted for the first time in the series’ 33-year history by Esperance Holden Speedway on Friday February 14.