A star is born
Easing up the dark driveway, I had no idea what to expect upon my first meeting with Brock Paine. I’d been asked to meet the teenager after agreeing to write an article, pertaining to his incredible racing portfolio. That in itself was an amazing opportunity but two key elements made it even greater. Not only was Brock just fifteen years of age, but it had been brought to my attention that he’d suffered from Cystic Fibrosis since birth.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) primarily affects the lungs and digestive system because of a malfunction in the endocrine system, responsible for producing saliva, sweat, tears and mucus.
The mucus causes impairment of the digestive functions of the pancreas and traps bacteria in the lungs resulting in recurrent infections which lead to irreversible damage.
On average in Australia, one baby is born with CF every four days. There is no cure.
Knowing this information as I parked under the double story home, overlooking Southern Moreton Bay, I was both excited and nervous to be encountering such a courageous young man. I had no idea what to expect. Having lived in the area for a few years, I had never heard of or met the family before.
Rosie the dog, greeted me merrily as I got out of the car and walked toward the stairs. Her excited antics included jumping in the air beside me and scurrying around my feet, immediately helping to put me as ease.
Matt Paine, Brock’s father welcomed me at the top of the stairs, graciously allowing me into his home. We both lived in the small community south of Brisbane which has a close-knit feel whereby everybody looks after each other.
With friendly introductions, I turned my attention to the quiet, unpretentious boy who looked every bit a regular teen. I had a hard time imagining his lifelong illness lurked beneath as I brought him in for a hug, which he returned confidently and affectionately. That hug spoke volumes about his character and as I sat and began to hear Brock’s story, it only reiterated what I already knew. The boy I’d met moments earlier might have looked like your average teenager on the outside, but he was far from typical in every sense of the word.
After the initial blow of finding out Brock had CF at two weeks old, his family were determined to have him live as normal a life as possible.
Brock himself, although unaware of his illness, also had other ideas about sitting back and living a conventional life.
Introduced to go-carts at four years of age, Brock took to driving as if he was born to be behind the wheel. While most kids that age were playing with Lego and fighting make-believe bad guys with their plastic swords, Brock began mastering his raw passion whenever he had the chance, dedicating tireless hours to tearing up the dirt, unknowingly setting the stage for what was to become something far greater than simply a young boy’s hobby.
My pen flew over the pages of my lined book, desperate to capture each and every victory relayed to me by his extremely proud Dad. Impressed didn’t even begin to cover how I felt as I watched his resume grow.
Determined not to let his talent go to waste, Brock entered into his first competition in 2006 at just five years of age. He began racing rookies at The Lockyer Valley District Kart Club, a great start to help him compete against others and get a feel for a more structured driving environment.
After showing amazing potential and proving himself able to handle the karts and the team atmosphere, Brock never looked back. It gave him the chance to hone his skills and practice for what lay ahead.
By the age of 10 Brock was so competent he was put into the Junior C category which is normally reserved for thirteen year olds and won the championship. This feat is almost unheard of for someone so young. As if that wasn’t amazing in itself, in 2011 he rose to Junior B and won that championship as well, leading to the title of Club Sportsperson of the year. It was becoming clear that this kid had unbounded talent. There were no coincidences here. He won on merit alone.
While Brock’s dad proudly listed all of his son’s achievements, Brock quietly listened on, humble in his own acknowledgment of such outstanding successes. We chatted about other things he enjoyed.
Fishing in the local area and flying remote control planes had me smiling. His motor skills clearly extended to all other areas of his life as well. Was there anything he couldn’t excel at? It would appear not. His academic record proved that not only was he great behind the wheel of a go-kart, he thrived at High School too, gaining numerous Principals awards for behavior and high results in his subjects. He has been admired and respected by his peers and teachers for his diligence and attitude and ability to get results.
Upon hearing this, my initial thoughts were, “I’m sitting in the company of greatness.” Through and through. It’s no fluke to be such an incredible all-rounder in every aspect of one’s life. It takes hard work and more so, a focused mind. The capability to problem solve with a positive and calm approach.
Matt continued on, delving into Brock’s young career which only continued to blossom. In 2012 he became first in Junior B. Remaining in that position for twelve months, Brock needed more of a challenge so he moved into Junior A at just 12 years old. This age group is normally reserved for sixteen year olds so he was essentially racing against kids four years older than himself. Showing he could handle the move with ease he placed second in his first year.
It continues to get better and better. Brock was awarded the 2014 and 2015 Junior A club champion. There was nowhere else to go except up. It would be his last year racing Go Carts before climbing into a Nissan Sylvia non-turbo – under two litre in 2016.
With the challenge of being behind the wheel of a more powerful, larger vehicle, it proved to only enhance Brocks driving ability.
Matt explained that when his son first got behind the wheel of the car, ‘Dad’ was a little nervous, not knowing how the boy would handle it. He needn’t have worried though. Brock took off as if he were a seasoned pro and by rights he was fast becoming that.
2016 proved to be an eventful and successful year for Brock Paine. Below are the prolific achievements for the 12 month period.
· Won Mt. Cotton Hill Climb (most improved overall class winner for the year).
· Wondai – In the sprints, Brock was the fastest junior.
· Ipswich/West Moreton Auto Club – Was autocross champ for the junior category.
· Placed 2nd overall for the Sprint Championships.
· Short-circuit Motorsport Association – Won Qld/NSW Junior sprint champ.
· Received the honorable Cams achievement award.
This award is desired by most adult racers, so for a teenager to receive it, goes a long way to prove Brocks talents in the industry. Continuing to get better and better, Brock is aiming for the stars. Already 2017 is proving to be equal to or exceeding 2016 by obtaining a personal best of under 50 seconds in his first race at Mt Cotton.
My notebook filled up fast with page after page of scribbled dates, times and wins, I could barely keep up. It would be days later when I began going through those same scribbles that I would truly garnish the vastness of Brocks talent.
Longtime family friend and driving mentor Keith Edwards, Project Manager for Boral has been in the racing industry since 1970. Having raced go-carts for 14 years it was here he met Brock. Edwards described Brock as a shy, reserved boy but once he got behind the wheel he truly shone. Keith continued to watch the young prodigy get better and better over the years, observing him move from strength to strength.
Talking to Keith via phone, I could tell in his voice his deep respect and love for the teen, not only because of his racing ability but because of Brock’s respectful nature on and off the track. He races for himself and no one else which means there’s no animosity towards any other drivers while competing. He doesn’t use underhanded tactics to win, but merely raw talent and determination.
With an attitude like this, Brock has won many admirers over the years. In fact, in my conversation with Keith we both likened his nature and mindset to that of racing legend Craig Lowndes. It is already obtaining him high regard.
Keith saw such continued growth in Brock, he created the Keith Edwards Trophy and presented to Brock, The Best and Fairest award for a driver for the year.
Mr. Edwards still races himself and has joined Brock at the Short Circuit series, held in Gatton, Pittsworth, Warwick, Stanthorpe, Oakey and Leeburn: Towns in the South East Queensland region. Edwards is quoted as saying, “I would be proud to have Brock as my son.”
It would appear the ball is now in Brock’s court as to how far he wants to take his talent. After asking him the question of where he would like to end up, it’s clear that the V8 Supercars would be his ultimate goal.
With a cheeky grin like a young Peter Brock, and skills to match, the sky is the limit for this Queensland teenager. Having a first name pertaining to the aforementioned legend may be merely chance but his rise through the ranks is no coincidence.
It was an honor to meet Brock and his Dad and have them allow me into their home and their lives. I can honestly say, I’ve never met two nicer, more genuine people. With parting hugs, I left oozing a sense of excitement and awe that I was asked to write this story. One that needs to be told and one that needs to be shared. I truly feel Brock is set for greatness and I’m proud to have met him and look forward to his continued successes. This is just the beginning…