Brock Hallett wanting to continue sprintcar “dream” for Erhart family at Nationals
By Brett Murray
Friday 10th February, 2023 - 9:08am
When Brock Hallett “stuck it” for a last turn pass to win the 50th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at Warrnambool last month there were two cheers you could hear above the record sellout crowd.
Queensland-based motorsport veterans Graham and Wendy Erhadt had just been delivered the biggest thrill of their almost five decades of involvement as team owners in the sport and they were going to enjoy it.
Hallett passed World of Outlaws sensation Sheldon Haudenschild just metres from the final line to snatch the victory and the $50,000 winner’s cheque by just 0.122 of a second.
Defending Classic Champion Lockie McHugh had the box seat for the final-turn move back in third.
Hallett, 31, will have the chance to continue the “dream” for the Erhart clan at the 60th Australian National Titles at the Perth Motorplex over the next two nights.
Graham and Wendy split their time between Toowoomba and the Gold Coast, but the majority of their racing has been done on Darling Downs dirt tracks over the last 48 years.
They have ridden the highs and lows the sport can deliver, but the Classic victory was the biggest reward they had ever experienced – and there was no team owner/owners that night who deserved it more.
“It really was a dream for us to win the Classic and to do it with a team just seven months old was amazing,” said Graham.
“Wendy and I both love the sport and we have never experienced a bigger thrill than winning the Classic.”
The Erharts put the privately-backed deal together for Hallett back in August, but the relationship was cultivated over a couple of years.
“Last year we rang him [Hallett] because we thought we might be able to help him out with a bit of my gear and he went OK,’ said Graham.
“We saw plenty of potential in him and he had surrounded himself with a bunch of talented and dedicated people, which is half the battle in this game.
“We know how tough the game is, especially in the current era, so we decided to put a serious deal together and that started at Darwin in August.
“Since then he has produced almost a 60% podium and 70% top 10 finishing rate.”
While Hallett is obviously a wheel man, Graham and Wendy have made their investment based on far more than the speed of the 31 year-old.
“On the track he is respectful of his equipment because he has been there himself and knows how much it costs if you start ripping up gear,” said Graham.
“Off the track he is a class act.
“He is a Victorian ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and what he does to support that organisation is fantastic.
“When he won at Warrnambool, he made sure he visited his MDA guests before he even went to the podium.”
The team race truck runs between Toowoomba and Portland and was driven to WA this week by Hallett and his partner Skye.
While the cheering could not have been much louder in the early hours of Monday morning at Warrnambool, it has been tougher to find a wider grin than the one that has been permanently creased on Wendy’s face ever since.
“There were just so many years of hard work to get to this point,” said Wendy.
“This all comes together when you’re having fun! And we’re having FUN.”
This year’s milestone Nationals will be held over two nights with 51 cars currently entered.
While several US-based drivers had headed back Stateside after the Classic, this weekend’s field runs deep.
One of Hallett’s biggest threats this weekend will be NSW racer Ian Maddsen who will be looking to clinch his maiden Nationals crown after finishing second to his brother Kerry on their then home track of Parramatta in 2017.
Ironically, that was the second of three consecutive titles for Kerry.
Like many drivers, Ian will be have having his first start in the West for several years because of the interruption of COVID-19.
Reigning Nationals title holder Marcus Dumesny will be back to defend his crown.