Oozing enthusiasm for motorsport

A man of many uniforms: Malcolm Mitchell, of Invercargill - St John Ambulance patient transfer office, Southland Sports Car Club ClubSport co-ordinator and MotorSport NZ ClubSport Commission.

WITH the 2021/2022 ClubSport season about to get under way, the Southland Sports Car Club (SSCC) ClubSport convener Malcolm Mitchell is entering his third season in his role of organising clubsport events.

Mitchell had an unorthodox introduction to the sport when his brother-in-law Cameron Morison, a multiple NZ ClubSport champion, invited him to a clubsport event at Teretonga
Park, near Invercargill.

Mitchell thought he was going to an event featuring Holden clubsport vehicles, only to discover clubsport was actually entry level motorsport.

However, unknown to Mitchell, who was an emergency medical technician, Morison had invited him for his medical knowledge.

After 15-20 minutes watching autocross, an element of clubsport, Mitchell decided he ‘‘could totally do this’’.

His partner Aimee, Morison’s sister, said ‘‘well let’s get you a car then.’’

A Nissan NX, which had become known as Larry, was purchased through the Ralston family.

That was four or five years ago. Mitchell said his passion for the sport had grown to a level he couldn’t describe.

‘‘I love ClubSport. There is a personal challenge, you are always trying to do better, and tinkering on the car between events and during the off-season.

‘‘It has taught me a lot as I am not mechanically inclined.

‘‘We rebuilt the Nissan and I learnt a lot from Cameron and the Lines family.

‘‘That is what I like. The ClubSport family are very competitive but the camaraderie and environment out there is social, with all willing to lend a hand.’’

Mitchell did a clutch at the Bent Sprint last year and Luke Oliver said, ‘‘use my car’’.

‘‘Stacy Lines did the same another time. The environment keeps me coming back.

‘‘I want to tell other people and show them the inexpensive side, it is really cheap motorsport.

‘‘There are people who are using cars that cost $200 to $300, even cheaper ones.

‘‘It is fun and you learn to drive properly. It is teaching young fellas and girls good skills.’’

Mitchell was a man of many hats.  ‘‘I think I manage those hats well,’’ he said.

‘‘In the ambulance service I have many hats, then there is clubsport and family.

‘‘I am lucky to have a supportive partner, Aimee. She gives me a bit of stick about the time I spend on clubsport, but my enthusiasm has rubbed off and she is going to start  competing too so we will have our own duel.’’

Mitchell said he enjoyed organising events.

‘‘When I lock the gates and look back at the track knowing everyone was smiling, safe and wanting to come back, I feel good.’’

Supporting clubsport, Rick Michels, of Evolution Motorsport, had supplied two cars, including a Nissan Sentra, for use at events, which Mitchell was appreciated of.

‘‘I have the utmost respect for Rick, as well as Ian Richardson, the president of the Southland Sports Car Club.

‘‘He gives me 100% support. He is outstanding and a voice of reason.’’

Adding to his list of roles, Mitchell had also recently qualified as a clerk of course for events, and had recently been elected on to Motorsport New Zealand’s ClubSport Advisory Commission which was a two year role.

‘‘It was pretty special getting into a position at national level to bring enthusiasm for the sport and get it out there and promoted.’’

— Lindsay Beer is the Southland Sports Car Club promotion officer