Cuban boots and bass guitar: The standout Super2 rookie

  • Dunlop Super2 Series
  • |
  • 02/03/2021
  • By James Pavey

Eggleston Motorsport's faith in Matthew McLean was realised on his Super2 debut following a standout showing in Bathurst.

McLean, a Cuban boot-wearing, bass guitar playing karting prodigy, was the inaugural Let's Go Motorhomes Rookie of the Round after two strong results on the mountain.

The Melbourne racer's weekend got off to a bizarre start, with the right front wheel parting company in practice.

However, the 24-year-old recovered to record finishes of sixth and seventh to end the weekend the highest-placed rookie.

First-time round winner Jordan Boys, maiden race winner Broc Feeney and first-time pole sitters Angelo Mouzouris and Jayden Ojeda stole the headlines.

However, McLean flew under the radar to keep a clean nose and impress among the highly-fancied Super2 aces.

A delighted McLean joined Boys, Feeney and Zak Best on the podium, and cut a smile bigger than all three podium-finishers combined.

"It feels really good, If anybody told me before the deal was done, which was super last-minute, that I was going to end up on the podium as rookie of the round, and pop it on the front row in the first session, I would've told them they were talking crap" he said after Race 2.

"To be honest, it's absolutely sick. I didn't think we'd go this well.

"It's an absolute boost to my confidence, to be honest.

"This weekend, I only ticked over my 400th lap in a Supercar whatsoever, fresh out of go-karts.

"I'm really excited to see what I can do."

Eyebrows raised when McLean ended first practice in second behind MW Motorsport's Ojeda, who claimed his maiden pole on Sunday.

The weekend stung many of the fancied names; Boys crashed in Practice 1, Ojeda and Mouzouris both had big offs in Race 2, and Feeney was penalised for an incident with Ojeda.

All the while, McLean, who was down on experience in Supercar machinery, kept his nose clean and met the chequered flag in both races.

It was a big weekend for the Eggleston team, which entered the weekend with an all-rookie Super2 line-up of McLean, Bradley Neill and Jack Sipp.

McLean was the standout, having entered the event with a strong karting background.

He won the Australian Kart Championship in 2016, was runner up in 2017 and claimed the title for a second time in 2018.

He also combined with Team 18 co-driver James Golding to win a karting endurance race in 2018, defeating the likes of Chaz Mostert, Nick Percat, Cameron Waters, Michael Caruso, Anton De Pasquale and Andre Heimgartner.

The karting enduro win helped McLean receive an offer to race a Supercar for the Erebus Academy with Image Racing.

It has been a rapid rise to the development series for McLean, who also plays bass for Melbourne band The Crookeds.

A triple j Unearthed favourite, The Crookeds embarked on a first headline tour in 2019 off the back of their single 'Sucker for Pain'.

From big vocals, powerful drums, and hardcore riffs, The Crookeds are a rising force in the local rock n roll scene, with McLean carrying his colourful persona to the track.

McLean wore his trademark Cuban heel boots around the paddock, with his long dark hair flowing behind him.

On the podium on Sunday, he stuck his tongue and out cut a Cheshire Cat-style grin, delighted with his results.

"I like to look smart. I'm into rock music and I play in a band," he said.

"I just dress in whatever I think looks good.

"If I think it looks good, then I'm gonna wear it."

Regardless, the future for McLean appears set in racing, with his Super2 standout a possible sign of things to come.

"P2 in Practice 1; people say practice doesn't mean anything really, but to me, it does, considering the lack of miles that I've done," he explained.

"It's quite big [to debut in Bathurst]. We got to do three rounds of Super3 with Image Racing in 2019, fresh out of go-karts.

"And then last year, we did do the last round of the season at the Bathurst 1000 with Matt Chahda Motorsport.

"It was good to do that round last year, to prepare for this season.

"Credit goes to Ben and Rachael from Eggleston, and the whole team.

"It was a really last-minute deal, and they did everything they could to get me onto the grid.

"I'm really excited to see what I can do"

McLean will return to the track at Winton across May 29-30.

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