TED BREWSTER: AN AUSTRALIAN MINI RACING LEGEND.
On a rainy day in Melbourne, Ted Brewster is surveying his home race track.
The conditions are terrible with sheets of rain sweeping into the pit garages of Sandown Racecourse.
Ted isn’t bothered though. What looks like a day ruined by weather is simply another challenge to him.
Preparing to take to the track is a ritual for Ted, as he unpacks a car filled with racing equipment that transcends decades.
Ted’s original vintage driving gloves, racing helmet, and faded clippings from newspapers and old programs are coupled with his current driving suit and helmet.
Taking centre stage in this process is Ted’s classic Mini, a reconstruction of a car he bought almost 60 years ago.
Given that he built the car himself, and has been racing his Mini for decades, that’s not surprising.
What is surprising is Ted’s ability to change a tyre in seconds, to load his historic car onto its trailer in minutes, to take to the racetrack at a moment’s notice - at the age of 83 years old.
It’s an age that most people would expect to find themselves slowing down – but it seems that hasn’t even occurred to Ted.
He says he tried giving up racing when he turned 70, but couldn’t quite give it away. He then planned to hang up his helmet at the age of 80, but again, found the lure of racing too difficult to ignore.
In the mid-1960s, Ted, then a mechanic had been racing other touring cars but was looking for a different car to compete with.
“I decided to purchase a Morris Cooper Mini as they looked to be very competitive with great handling, brakes, steering and modified and maintained for racing at a reasonable outlay,” he recalls.
After competing in circuit racing and hill climbs, Ted was “hooked” on Minis.
“They are such a great car to compete in as they handle, brake and steer so well and give great satisfaction when racing,” he says.
Ted’s love of Minis has seen him buy and race a collection of classic Mini Coopers since the 1960s.
Not one to boast about his own achievements, Ted puts a lot of the success of his racing career down to his cars.
In 1968 and again in 2002 he took out trophies in races against much bigger cars, proving the Mini’s unassuming power.
But Ted’s record speaks for itself – and he’s known among the Mini community as being one of the men to beat.
With various circuit lap records, three Victorian Touring Car Hill Climb Championships, an Australian Touring Car Hill Championship, and two class records under his belt, Ted’s reputation as a formidable competitor on the racetrack is one that has stood the test of time.
Years of experience have given him a calm, methodical approach to racing.
“As we grid up to start our races I start to work what I can do to get a good start and pass other cars if possible before the first corner, from then on holding that position and enjoy the competition of passing others when possible,” he says.
“Regardless [of the outcome] just competing gives me great satisfaction.”
The pure joy that Ted gets from racing is something he has fostered in his family, who have grown up around cars and racetracks.
Ted’s wife Margaret has played a supporting role in Ted’s career since they met and got married – helping with pit lane timing, lap boards, and preparing for races.
Their two sons have also gone on to get involved in
Ted’s words of wisdom for aspiring race drivers are simple.
“Remember it takes time to develop a car and the driver,” he says.
“Select a good car and prepare it well, and do not spend over your budget and spoil the experience.
“Do it well and I feel sure you will have a great time racing and enjoying the comradery of the sport like I have, since 1964.”