O’Brien’s pole position

PITSIDE: Parkes mechanic Siobhan O'Brien experienced all the action and drama of the Bathurst 1000 working with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.
PITSIDE: Parkes mechanic Siobhan O'Brien experienced all the action and drama of the Bathurst 1000 working with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.

A young Parkes mechanic and motorsport enthusiast has spent five days working in pit lane at the Bathurst 1000 with the Red Bull Holden Racing Team.

The highlight, of course, was all the drama and excitement of the great race.

“It was intense,” Siobhan said. 

“The Whincup car had engine dramas, they lost compression in one cylinder so everyone was up in the air with that.”

Siobhan said when it happened they thought he might have broken rockers.

“That takes maybe six laps to fix,” she said.

“Then they looked in there and there was no valve so they essentially band-aided it up so he could go out and finish the race. 

“Thankfully he was able to go back out there and finish so he would still get some points to contribute to the championship.”

No stranger to the Bathurst 1000, this was the third year Siobhan has worked at the event through the TAFE Motorsport course.

“I worked in the pits on the main day but I didn’t really get near the cars,” she said.

“Because a guy that was doing the same thing as I was doing down in tasmania was working with them when cut his finger off spinning a wheel,” she said.

“He was spinning the wheel from the rim not the tyre and sliced his finger off.

“Because they don’t know me and don’t know my skill they were very nervous about me touching the car incase I did something that cost them the race.

“It’s fair I guess but it kind of made it a little boring.”

On race day it was Siobhan’s job to keep the drink fridge packed, keep the fuel drums topped up and get tyres.

“Because the race started off sunny and then it rained, it was really busy going back and forward getting all the slicks changed to wets,” she said.

“And then when it started to dry up a bit we had to change the wets changed back to slicks!”

Siobhan met the drivers and found them very friendly.

“Shane Van Gisbergen had a very intense race too,” she said.

“He would spin off and then be back in 15th place, then 10 seconds later he’d be up in third.

“Then he’d spin off again and be in 19th place and then be up to fifth place ten seconds later. He was good.”

Siobhan would like to thank TAFE for the opportunity.

“And thanks to my boss, John Ivey,” she said. 

“He was very generous to give me the time off.”