Spotlight: Meet Supercars' frontline responder

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/04/2021
  • By Charlie Bullis

To have a front-row seat to some of the biggest moments in Supercars history is every racing enthusiast's dream, but for Supercars Recovery Manager Alistair Walker, it's where his work begins.

Being the person no driver wants to see during a race is not something Walker takes lightly, but his passion has kept him coming back as a first responder for more than a decade.

As a teenager, Walker was part of the recovery team at his home race at the Adelaide Grand Prix.

Travelling around Australia and New Zealand to support Supercars at every round is the norm for Walker, as is performing under the immense pressure of recovering vehicles with the clock ticking.

“No one wants to see a race end under a Safety Car or red flag,” Walker told Supercars.com.

WATCH: 2017 TASMANIA RECOVERY

“There’s pressure to act quickly and you need to look after the car and the driver; there’s a lot coming into consideration in the moment.”

Attending some of the hardest moments the sport has ever seen, Walker admits some incidents stay with him.

“I’ve been to a lot of fatal accidents, not only on the racetrack but in other fields,” he said.

“There was a fatality at Adelaide many years ago now and Lucas Dumbrell at Oran Park; that was tough.

“Chaz Mostert at Bathurst was a big hit, and he got a broken leg out of it.

WATCH: ADELAIDE RECOVERY

“It plays on your mind a bit but it’s just the job I do and it’s no different to a lot of other disciplines.

“We’ve got a job and we do it to the best of our abilities and being mindful of taking care of everything we possibly can.”

Acknowledging he is often the first person drivers see during some of the most challenging times of their careers, Walker recounted one career-ending moment he will not forget.

“It was on the Gold Coast two or three years ago now,” he explained.

“In the end the race got red-flagged because of the rain, but Paul Dumbrell was in his final race for Triple Eight.

WATCH: COULTHARD RECOVERY IN THE RAIN

“I had to open the door and tell him to get out of the car.

“If you’ve got to tell a driver to get out of the car, and their race is done, that can impact a lot of things.

“It’s not a decision made lightly, and it weighs on your mind.”

Beginning as a volunteer himself, Walker has built a team of dedicated recovery specialists to support him at every race.

WATCH: DE PASQUALE RECOVERY

Giving their time to keep the racing underway, Walker is proud of their continued effort to improve how they respond to incidents.

“I have a dozen of so people who travel to races throughout the year,” Walker said.

“They are all volunteers, but they are people that love their motorsport, are really switched on and enjoy what they do, have a passion for it and do the best they can.

"I like to think we are and we all try to be good at what we do, it’s fun, it’s a rush, it’s never boring and it's never the same.”

The Repco Supercars Championship field will return to The Bend Motorsport Park for the OTR SuperSprint across May 7-9. Tickets are on sale now.

The event will be broadcast live on Foxtel and will be streamed on Kayo with highlights on 7 and 7 Plus.

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