PART 1: Chris Western – Racing the Legend

Chris Western lives and breathes off-road racing. His dream is to race in the Baja 1000, the one race that American racing legend Mickey Thompson dreamt of winning and, at the end of his racing career, won in 1983 in record time. In fact, Chris and Mickey share more than a dream to race the Baja 1000.

Chris Western

Born to race
Chris was only two years old when he got hooked on racing, going to watch his Dad race and sitting on his lap to steer his buggy around the farm.

As a child, Mickey built cars from orange crate wood with wheels from his sister’s roller-skates, powered by motors from washing machines.  He raced the rich kids in his neighbourhood who bought gasoline-powered cars and beat them soundly.

Junkyard racing cars
Mickey scraped together his first racing car for $100 by being highly resourceful.  He used his high school workshop to mill heads and grind parts by hand.  He did anything he could with material from junkyards.  It’s all he had.

Chris was just as resourceful as he explains, “My first buggy was a black Baja VW with a 1200cc motor we bought for a carton of beer.  It took us two years to build using old parts the other racers were throwing out.  In my first race I came first in class and fourth outright.”

Off-road entrepreneurs
Mickey Thompson formed the Mickey Thompson Entertainment Group and announced he would produce an off-road race in a stadium.  That’s exactly what he did at the Los Angeles Coliseum before 40,000 cheering spectators in 1979.

Mickey looks over a model of the off-road course in the LA Coliseum

Mickey looks over a model of the off-road course in the LA Coliseum

In 2001, Chris Western was selling day tours at a Port Douglas resort and guests would ask what else is there to do.  Chris explains, “My mates loved coming for hot laps and I thought tourists might enjoy the experience too.  I started taking tourists for hot laps as passengers on land that I rented from a local cane farmer.  But, everybody wanted to drive the buggy so I made a track and we have never looked back.  Our Off Road Rush company was born.”

For more on Mickey Thompson’s off-road racing history or for information on the entire range of Mickey Thompson tyres visit www.mickeythompsontires.com.au.

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