PremiAir truck driver outlines his pit strategy for Perth trip

PremiAir Racing truck driver Mick Shortus

PremiAir Racing truck driver Mick Shortus

Race engineers are not the only ones considering ‘pit strategy’ ahead of next week’s Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint.

With four Repco Supercars Championship teams based in South East Queensland, their hauls to Wanneroo Raceway, on the other side of the continent, are the longest of the year (Melbourne teams face a somewhat shorter journey to Darwin).

Among that quartet is PremiAir Racing, whose truck driver Mick Shortus is getting ready for a 10,000km round trip in the team’s B-double.

While James Golding and Tim Slade are set to drive their Nulon Camaros into the pits only for fresh tyres during the trio of 100km sprints at Wanneroo, Shortus will be refuelling.

However, with the PremiAir Kenworth’s four fuel tanks holding 350 litres each, far more than the 133-litre cell in a Gen3 Supercar, he will only have to take on diesel once each way, at South Australia’s Port Augusta.

Even so, Shortus leaves for Western Australia a week out from practice on Friday week (April 28).

“I will start off from our Arundel headquarters on the Gold Coast and head up through Toowoomba, before going down through Goondiwindi where I will stop for Friday night,” he explained.

“From there, Saturday morning I will head down through Moree and then down to Gilgandra, before turning right to head over to Cobar, before stopping at a little truck stop in the middle of nowhere called Little Topar.

“I will spend the night there before leaving Sunday morning, going through Broken Hill before heading down through Yunta to South Australia, turning right and heading up over into Peterborough.

“Then it will be time to go around and over Horrocks Pass before dropping down into Port Augusta, where I will fuel up before turning right down through Iron Knob and then across to Ceduna where I will stop at a little place called Penong.

“After spending Sunday night there, the morning will see me head straight across the Nullarbor to Norseman, where I will stay one final night before heading to Perth in the morning, arriving Tuesday by around lunchtime.

“Along the way I will listen to a bit of everything but mostly country music, while taking in the great scenery and keeping a sharp eye out for the local wildlife.”

Shortus is a foundation member of PremiAir Racing but this Perth trip will be his 16th.

“Penong would have to be my favourite [part], thanks to all the fresh King George Whiting you can get there,” he added.

There will be some downtime once in Perth, but the nature of Supercars is that the truck drivers are still put to work at the track.

PremiAir Racing truck

A Supercars truck driver’s work does not stop once they step out of the cabin

“Once I arrive, I will wash the truck Tuesday afternoon, before detailing it and polishing it up (PremiAir-spec it) on Wednesday morning,” added Shortus.

“I will then head to the track and park up on Wednesday afternoon – it is a pretty cruisy day really, which is nice after a long trip.

“First thing Thursday morning I will park up in the pits, and then it is time to unload and set-up simultaneously so it is a day of go, go go.

“We take all day to set-up – the tyre tents go up, the catering tent goes up, the team builds the garage and the whole set-up.

“Once the truck is unloaded, it is time to tidy up inside the truck and then we get straight onto the tyres in the tyre tent.

“I mount the tyres for #23 [Slade car], and my offsider Trevor does the ones for #31 [Golding]. It is our job to concentrate on the tyres all weekend, while making sure the truck is kept looking good and clean, inside and out.”

Pack-up is a relatively rapid process.

“While it is a full-day operation on Thursday to set up, come Sunday afternoon, the truck will be loaded and ready to come home around an hour-and-a-half after the chequered flag flies for the last time,” said Shortus.

“We will then get some rest before heading off bright and early Monday morning to start the trip home back to HQ.”

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