TWO TIMES Super Sedan Series Champion Wayne Randall, 66, has racked up the magical half century competing in the sport and he says there’s no set plan in place for retirement.
He’s come a long way since his debut at Lismore Speedway aged 17 in 1971 and right at the forefront of all his success is family. His dad Col was an experienced racer and his mum June spent decades as a lap scorer at the Lismore venue, insisting on using the old fashioned way of recording laps with a pencil!
Even today, Wayne’s involvement in the sport remains full-time via his Afco Shock Doctor business he operates with his wife, Sharon (together for 25 years and married for ten), at Munruben, Brisbane.
Wayne’s passion in life is his racing and his experience over these years has enabled him to aid drivers in all divisions, assisting with the right equipment and set-up on tracks across Australia.
Wayne’s sons Brett, 45, and Justin 43 have followed in the tyre tracks of their father and grand father and are racers. With Wayne, as parent and later in life a grand father, it’s family first second and third and serves as yet another superb example of a sport noted for a strong family involvement.
They don’t come much stronger than the Randalls!
“My parents in their eighties still drive from Lismore and watch me race everywhere,” Wayne said proudly.
Only Wayne will know when the time is right to hang up the helmet and, as he so perfectly describes, it’s controlled by a simple philosophy: “ the minute enjoyment stops.” It’s all in the timing and “it’s all governed by having a successful season and the time is right.”
Right now he derives plenty of enjoyment from racing and his competitive edge means he’s always chasing success. “As you get older you might lose some of the ability but where you lose in that area, you gain in experience in doing so many laps – you might not be fast for one lap, but over ten laps, it’s a different story.
Today’s sophisticated Super Sedan technology is light years ahead of that very first season Wayne raced a FC Holden as part of his dad’s Blue Devils Racing Team.
“Vastly different,” was how Wayne described today’s cars from yesteryear in a comparison test that hit the mark. “They are way more expensive these cars today, but when they are right, they are much easier to drive than the equivalent forty – fifty years ago.”
The cars today are far more technical rather than the “backyard” technology back in the days when Wayne started racing. “I remember when we built up a ‘new’ FC Holden, in order to do the set-up, we heated the rear left spring with an oxy torch, lowered the car, then went to the dump got a left front coil spring also the four coils out of it (the FC Holden at the wrecking yard) and put it in the left front. We then got an oxy torch to lower the left front by literally leaning on it and we then put the left rear spring four inches back as well as fitting the coils.”
His success over the years has come in a variety of different cars, be it the Ian Boettcher Mazda Rotary RX7, the ex-Paul O’Neill Camaro that he drove to two victories in the National Super Sedan Series, or the Keith Rubach #6 Danny Smith built Rocket Pontiac.
With Boettcher he recorded back-to-back victories in the $15,000-to-win annual 50 lapper at Toowoomba.
Wayne tells a funny story how his run of success in that race at Toowoomba meant a potential further drop in prize money to the winner. “The first year I won the race it was fifteen thousand dollars, then when I won it the next year, it had dropped to ten thousand to win and the joke going around was that if I won the fifty lapper at Toowoomba for the third consecutive year, it would be worth only five thousand dollars to win.” He didn’t get the hat trick and the prize money stayed the same as the previous year.
In the early years of Wayne Randall’s career, when he was a part of the Blue Devils Racing Team, it was a unique time in his racing life.
After the FC Holden Wayne later drove an LH Holden Torana in the Blue Devils Team that also comprised his father and Greg Bulmer.
Right from the first time Wayne Randall turned a wheel in competition and sampled the thrill of racing he “just loved it.”
That first season showed here was a new talent that had plenty of potential to go a long way in speedway after he picked up a couple of very impressive end-of-season awards. “We got Rookie of the Year and Driver of the Year that was recognised by the club and that was something that I would never have expected, something I did not dream of,” Wayne enthused.
“It’s a terrific feeling when you are supported by your peers – that is worth more than winning a title. I hold that very high even today – fifty years later.
The Blue Devils stable became a dynasty in the area.
“We all went away as a team and were known as a team,” Wayne recalled. “We helped each other and ran as the Blue Devils Team for probably around ten years. We had T-shirts made up and everything was as part of a team,” Wayne added.
More importantly, the Blue Devils were hard to beat on the track and raced to a number of successes.
They were great years for the Blue Devils and the role the team played in the development of Wayne Randall’s career can never be underestimated.
“We had FC Holdens, then dad went to an XU1 Torana and I did the same,” Wayne said.
“After the first season we were sponsored by Capital Car Sales courtesy Barry Nicholas. He helped us a lot and was with us for a fair while up until at least six years.”
Wayne’s first FC Holden sedan at Lismore Speedway was a far cry from for example the sleek Monte Carlo he later drove for the Steve Jessup Motorsport Team out of Launceston, Tasmania.
Wayne quickly acknowledged the backing his dad has given him over the years.
“Sometimes, just to keep me running, dad stood down. He’d tell me he didn’t feel like running sometimes and told me I could use his fuel, tyres and whatever else I needed but I know it was also just to keep me on the track that he’d stand aside because I didn’t have a lot of money to go racing in those days. He has been a very strong supporter during my career.”
Another strong backer of Wayne was Brisbane car dealer Ian Boettcher.
This was a great partnership that enjoyed incredible success on the national sedan scene. Wayne was quick to point out the years with Ian Boettcher “were probably some of the best years of my life.”
The partnership raced together for 18 years and many chequered flags fell on the duo including state titles, major open events and a multitude of feature races. The Mazda Rotary RX-7 under the Ian Boettcher banner was a “rocket ship on wheels.”
They were great years for Ian and Wayne.
Wayne recalled a time when he won seven feature races in a row as the team became almost invincible.
After the Ian Boettcher years, it was a totally different ballgame for Wayne Randall.
“When we went out on our own it was a big learning curve for me. I had four years on my own but it did me the world of good,” Wayne admitted.
It’s the people who have surrounded Wayne that he acknowledges for his success.
“Rocket Racecars’ Danny Smith has been awesome through the years. He just taught me how to fine tune things, then Ian Boettcher took me to some tracks in earlier years years and he made me a better driver. How lucky have I been that I have got those people around me,” Wayne not only asked, but answered his own question: “Very lucky.”
After his time with Ian Boettcher, Wayne secured the ex-Paul O’Neill car and was in charge of not only running the car, but maintaining its upkeep, maintenance and everything else that needed to be done, right down to transportation to and from the track.
“It actually matured me,” he acknowledged.
“I remember there was a time when I did 37 shows in 43 weeks. In my first season on my own I raced everywhere from Mackay in Queensland to Tasmania.”
Wayne has won state titles, the East Coast Grand National and major shows – including, of course, the two big money events promoted a few years ago by former national titleholder Jamie McHugh and Michael Gee at Toowoomba – and more feature races than he could ever tally.
But the stand-out and definite highlight of his career was his back-to-back wins recorded in the first two seasons of the National Super Sedan Series.
Randall and Super Sedan senior statesman John Leslight figured in a close points battle in the first two seasons of the tournament.
“We were both conscious and aware finishing every heat and every feature race was so important. We believed that if one of us dropped a heat or a feature race we were out of the running and we never dropped a heat, never dropped a feature, never dropped a lap, that’s how important we believed it was to score points in the series and we always drove very hard,” Wayne said.
His philosophy on the series was poignant: “To finish first, first you have to finish.”
Does Wayne Randall regret having not won the Australian Super Sedan Championship after coming so close on occasions?
“It doesn’t so much bother me, but it would be good to win a national title,” Wayne laments.
“I often think I want it as much as anyone but I see other blokes who go to an Australian Championship and they seem to grow horns, they are more aggressive. The want to win is still there with me and sitting on the dummy grid nobody has to tell me I want to win. I also think many other good drivers have not won the national championship, but it has avoided me over a long time.”
A national title would be nice and the obvious crowning glory in fifty wonderful seasons of racing, but he does not have to prove anything.
His outstanding career record and longevity behind the wheel is what makes a champion anyway and Wayne Randall is a champion – and a champion bloke on and off the track.
Congratulations on your Golden Anniversary season in what represents not only a magnificent achievement, but one of the most successful careers in Australian Speedway Sedan racing history . . . and we reckon there are still plenty more impressive chequered flags to come before Wayne Randall finally decides to hang up the helmet.