Images: GOLD COAST BULLETIN.
AS MOST OF YOU KNOW, I spent the last 20 years of my career in sports administration, during that time I had dealings with hundreds of athletes in professional golf and motor racing.
There were plenty of good guys – both male and female. And more than a few handfuls of those much less pleasant. Some, in fact, were just too precious for their own damned good. And decidedly unpleasant. No names here!
Except for one. Matt Mingay is one one of those extreme athletes who definitely is one of the good guys.
During a 10-year tenure with the WA Sporting Car Club, it was my pleasure to welcome daredevil Matt back to Barbagallo Raceway where, over a number of years, he thrilled thousands upon thousands at the annual V8 round. Nothing precious about Matt.
He came to WA, did an extraordinary job on his trademark bike for a most reasonable fee – always happy to get on track whenever we asked (often with minutes’ notice) – eventually attracting a huge fanbase to Wanneroo.
Over time, Matt and his talented team developed a death-defying entertainment package. It morphed into a business he still runs, the Hot Wheels Stunt Team – as good as anything going. It was inevitable the world stage would beckon. Remarkably free of serious injury after so long, it seemed the Stadium Super Trucks series was designed for a man with his extraordinary abilities. It was a natural progression.
Then, in June last year, 40-year-old Matt’s luck ran out bigtime at the Detroit IndyCar round. The accident which left him with horrific injuries has been well documented. He was fortunate to survive the massive head trauma.
Many surgical procedures later, Matt Mingay desperately wants to come back for more. It is, after all, his life’s work. And his medical bills are diabolical. SST category owner Robby Gordon also wants him back.
CAMS thwarted Matt’s return to competition in Adelaide earlier this year on medical grounds. It’s difficult to argue against their reasoning after such a devastating accident. Then again, motor racing’s governing bodies elsewhere have licensed seriously injured racers, including some who have lost limbs. The matter of his licence is ongoing.
“I’m not angry. I’m not disappointed. I just feel unlucky,” Matt says. “You win some, you lose some. I’ve been winning all my life so given what I do, I get unlucky every now and then.”
I have no doubts all ACM subscribers wish Matt Mingay, his wife Sheena and 10-year-old son Maddox (Madzy) well.