When Team Bray racer Ben Bray spends his birthday (March 2nd) flying to Perth, he will be flying over the heads of Team Bray members Andrew ‘Andy’ Gault and Bernie who will be driving TBR’s Gulf Western Oil Transporter across the Nullarbor in time for the Westernationals this weekend at Perth Motorplex.
For Andy, this 10,000 kilometre drive from Brisbane to Perth and back is far from his first rodeo – having made the trip at least sixteen times since the age of seventeen.
“The old trip across the Nullarbor is something of a rite of passage for everyone at TBR, and one that I have enjoyed a number of times over the years,” Andy said.
“The first time that I did it, I couldn’t believe just how long it was! These days, it doesn’t seem as long, but the seemingly never-ending stretches of straight road sure is still challenging at times.”
Team Bray’s Gulf Western Oil transporter’s fuel tanks hold just over 1000 litres and, towing a 14-metre-long trailer, will do each leg of the journey on “two and a bit fuel stops.”
“I am not sure if Bernie appreciates my cranking of Slim Dusty during the trip, but I am sure he appreciates having someone to talk to.”
So is the long haul to WA, via Broken Hill, Port Augusta, Ceduna and Norseman, a chore or does Andy look forward to it?
“I don’t really mind the trip – sure it is long, but the Gulf Western Oil Transporter makes it a really good run because it is so comfortable to ride in,” Andy said.
“The scenery we get to see on the way over and back is pretty interesting too – it is constantly changing and gives us plenty to take in as we burn up the kilometres.
“Alongside some amazing countryside we also see a fair bit of wildlife – roos can be a bit of a problem as can emus, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about buffalo as we are too far south for them!”
It’s a huge responsibility to get a top-of-the-line transporter and purpose-built b-double loaded with around $1 million of race cars all the way across Australia, but Andy is up to the challenge and one he has always taken passionately.
“You are always thinking about security and safety, especially when you pull up at a remote place, you want to make sure the Gulf Western Oil Transporter is locked and secured,” Andy said.
“It really becomes second nature – we have some precious cargo on board here and the last thing we want to happen is for that to go missing.
“It is for this reason that we like the BP service stations – they have electronic surveillance so while you have a meal and a cuppa you can keep an eye on the truck park on the TV screens for extra piece of mind.”
It will be the first appearance for the Queensland family since receiving fresh backing from Gulf Western Oil and a whole new look for the team.
The past month has been a busy one for the Brays with multiple events at Sydney Dragway, Willowbank Raceway and Calder Park before the long trip across the Nullarbor where Victor will race his 57 Chev and Ben his swoopy Corvette.
“Calder Park was the fourth event in as many weeks for Team Bray, so a lot of service work needed to be undertaken on both the Gulf Western Oil machines ready to head over to Perth,” Victor said.
“We can’t wait to see the West Aussie fans and put on a great show for them.”
While the team scored an all-Bray final round in Sydney, Calder Park was not as kind and they are hopeful to make amends in the big 16 car Top Doorslammer field rolling into Perth Motorplex.
“Of course we would have loved to get one or ideally both of the Gulf Western Oil Doorslammers into the final – back to back all-Bray finals would have been awesome after all – but it just wasn’t to be. All the same, it was a fantastic weekend and we can’t wait to throw it all at it again (at the Westernationals).”
Saturday sees qualifying begin for the eight car race day field, with eliminations taking place on Sunday.