Racing drivers come in all forms and from all walks of life. Not everyone can be a Formula One driver, as much as most of us want to be, and so many great drivers from grassroots motor racing never make a page in the newspaper.
Car and Bike News are working at changing the promotion of club and state drivers and by sitting down with them and asking questions so you can get to know who you are watching and racing against.
This week we spoke with Michael von Rappard. Michael is well known in the Queensland Hillclimb family and has proven he has what it takes to make it as a top driver in country. At only 22 years old, Michael has won some of Queensland’s greatest hillclimbs and is looking at the bigger picture.
The weekend of July 22 and 23 saw Michael win the Noosa Hillclimb with a record breaking time of 50.55 seconds. Finishing at the top of the 160 entries in only his third year. Get to know Michael.
Name: Michael von Rappard
DOB: 4th March 1995
What was your first car? Ford Falcon
What is your current car? Ford Ranger
What is your ideal car? A super car of some variety would be a dream come true if I could ever afford one. i.e. A Lamborghini or a Ferrari. These cars are a stand out for me. Admittedly it is a little outside of reality.
Have you ever been done for speeding? I have been booked once for speeding during my first week of receiving my licence. It was at a low speed, only receiving one demerit point against my licence. After that I haven’t been booked again.
What’s your philosophy of life? To be humble, respectful and grateful for everything the people have done for me in my life. Always appreciate what you have. And don’t let people tell you what you can and can’t achieve.
Do you get road rage and what do you do? No not really; I am usually calm behind the wheel, especially after a race weekend. Any anger that I have I like to save for when I put my helmet on.
What are you like as back-seat driver? I usually sit back and relax and listen to music. There is no stress at all when I’m not driving, it feels good sometimes.
Where do you stand on fluffy dice? Not sure. I personally don’t own a pair and the race car doesn’t have a rear vision mirror, it’s my understanding that they are illegal anyway so best just leave them off.
Have you ever run over an animal? I would be lying if I had said that I had not. I couldn’t call myself Australian if I haven’t accidentally hit a kangaroo once in my life ha-ha.
Favourite Race Track? I would have to say the Noosa Hillclimb is one of my favourite hillclimb tracks. It’s such a fantastic thrill racing through all 14 corners winding through the national park. The scenery and the weather are often great and makes for a fantastic weekend.
Have you driven this track? Yes, this is my third year running at Noosa and definitely not my last.
What major Race Series do you follow? I enjoy the Virgin Australia Supercars because of the incredible competition and tight racing between the field of 20 + cars. Also the F1 because I am a massive open wheeler race car fan.
What do you think of the way motor racing is conducted in Australia? I think motor racing is great in Australia considering our population compared to the rest of the world. We have many great up and coming and current motor racing stars. That I think as a nation we can be proud of.
Favourite Driver that you look up to and respect? Craig Lowndes and Daniel Ricciardo because of their happy and easy-going nature. They are both so humble in victory and defeat.
Best race car you have driven and what made it so good? I have driven quite a few “Tin top cars” but nothing compares to the open wheeler I am currently driving. The acceleration, the braking and the handling are in a completely different level to anything out there in my opinion.
How long have you been racing? I started racing go karts when I was eight until I was 16. I then took a break for a year as me and my dad decided what direction we would like to go in. We went to a hillclimb meeting and instantly fell in love and I haven’t stopped since.
What was your first race event and how did you go? My first ever race event was when I was racing go karts at the age of eight in Mackay. I honestly can’t remember where I finished, I just remember how happy I was competing in my first event.
What racing do you currently compete in? I mostly compete in Hillclimb events and sprint events. I.e. Mount cotton hillclimb, Noosa hillclimb and the Leyburn sprints
Do you do anything for race fitness? I try to be as healthy as I can be for my own wellbeing. I eat healthy and exercise daily. And this helps towards my racing
What does racing mean to you? Racing means the world to me. The highs the lows, the competitive nature. The great competitors are all something that makes me wake up in the morning thinking about the next meeting.
Where do you want to be in racing? Obviously, it would be a dream come true to be a professional race car driver but, there is a very, very slim chance of that becoming reality. At the moment, I love the hillclimb events and to become an Australian champion would be incredible.
If you could drive any race car in the world what would it be and why? An F1 car of course. I think F1 is the pinnacle of motor sport and to drive such an incredible machine would be a dream come true.
Who is your biggest supporter? Without a doubt, my dad is my greatest supporter; not only pushing me but organising everything for me so that I can compete in such great events. Without him my racing simply would not be the same and I cannot thank him enough.
Final Words: I would just like to thank everyone who has supported me, I am truly grateful.
Myself and my family have made so many friends throughout the hillclimb community. All the supporting clubs and of course the officials and volunteers throughout all the events deserve the biggest thank you of all, without all their dedication and hard work at these events there simply wouldn’t be an event for myself or the other competitors to participate in.