BURRUMBEET’S Mark Burrows has joined sporting icons Allan Jones, Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Wayne Gardiner and Sir Jack Brabham (to name just a few) after he was inducted into the Motorsport Hall of Fame.
Thirty drivers, from different motoring sports, were inducted into the Hall of Fame, on the Grand Prix weekend.
“It was organised by FAMS (Federation Australia Motor Sports) and it’s the first hall of fame they had done,” Mark said.
“It was a thrill to be inducted at the same time as all these famous people that we looked up yo when we were little, watching them on the telly and they were all inducted the same weekend. “We got to see and meet all these people, it was a great weekend.”
It was back in 1976, at the age of sixteen, that Mark began his ‘Off Road Career’. It took ten years but he finally won the Australian Off Road Championship in a Class 2 buggy in 1988. This was just the start of things to come. “I’ve been driving a long time and it’s just the experience you get from doing it that gives you the wins,” Mark said.
“I started off with my mates doing it and I still have my mates navigating in the car and my two sons help me too – they’ve caught the bug, it’s a real family sport.” Mark added that there are quite a lot of the people involved in the sport who are second or third generation. “In this sport it is cross country, there are tracks but its real rough, you do need to be fit the tracks are twisty and rough and the car will do 220kmh but the average speed is usually 100kmh, sometimes you may be back to 50kmh,” Mark explained. Currently Mark and his team is getting the car ready for his first race, which will be the first round of the National series in Mildura in a few weeks time. “We have a bit to do before then and then the big race. The second round of the Australian Championship is up in Alice Springs, so we do that one on the Queen’s birthday weekend, and then the last round is in South Australia around August,” he said.
The proof of Mark’s ability is in the number of wins he has had over a fourty year career including seven Australian Off Road Championship titles and five wins at the famous Finke Desert Race. “For me our biggest achievement was that we were the first car in Alice Springs to beat the motor bikes – it’s a car and motor bike race. Motorbikes had been winning much more and in 1999 we got a car quick enough to beat the bikes,” he said. “That was a feather in our cap, much to the disgust of the motor bike riders.” Mark has an easy aura about him and is quick to share a laugh. He has cut down on the number of races he takes part in and said he is happy to be in the ‘back seat’ should his two sons decide to take up the sport. “Matthew is fourteen and at that age he can start navigating club races, Tom 10 and into motorbikes,” Mark said.
“I keep going, I enjoy it, and I want to keep involved in case the boys decide they want to do it. “I used to do probably 12-15 races a year now I do 3 or 4. “I’m lucky I have a couple of good sponsors in Ballarat – Edmonds Engineering and Albins Transmissions.”