When it comes to the New South Wales rally scene, there aren’t too many officials with more experience in the sport than Brett Middleton.
President of North Shore Sporting Car Club and a key figure for Rally NSW and the Whiteline Twilight Rallysprint, Middleton has spent 40 years of his life dedicated to rally.
While his contributions to the sport are often recognised at events with competitors and volunteers personally commending him, it became official earlier this year during the NSW/ACT Motorsport Australia State Awards, presented by Burson Auto Parts.
Throughout the evening, the North Ryde based official had multiple appearances in the spotlight after being named both the 2019 State Official of the Year and the Judith Rae Award recipient, an honour celebrating the best administrator in the state, as well as representing the Whiteline Twilight Rallysprint which won the Event of the Year.
Despite being a deserving recipient, Middleton revealed awards were not the main motivation behind doing what he does and instead was thankful of the formal appreciation he received.
“I don’t work hard because I expect or want awards. I do it because I love the sport and being involved,” Middleton said.
“The thing that means the most to me is the way my officials feel at events. People always want to feel appreciated, so acknowledging everyone under my guidance goes a long way in making them feel good.
“I am lucky because I have some amazing people who make myself look and feel good too, especially those like Adriana Pallister who won the Coral Taylor Award for best female official and her daughter Anna, who won the night’s Junior Official of the Year award.
“It’s great to see people like them recognised for their efforts. Both of them were blown away when they received their awards and I had a tear in my eye when seeing their responses that night.
“Heading into that dinner, I knew I had won the Official of the Year, but had no idea about the Judith Rae award and when I was eventually named, I was almost in tears. It was the cream on top of the wonderful night and incredible year.”
To unearth where Middleton’s passion for rally comes from, you don’t have to look far, with the Middleton name being prominent in the sport as far back as the 1960s through his father.
A life member of the Western District Car Club, Ross Middleton was a highly respected co-driver back in the 1960s and was heavily involved in the sport, so it was only a matter of time before both of his sons were following his footsteps.
And of course, the apple didn’t fall from the tree with Brett soon establishing a rally career of his own – competing in the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship with the Daihatsu factory rally team, before focusing on his now successful business MRT.
“My father’s enthusiasm towards rallying and being a director of different events around Geelong certainly had a big impact on my brother and I when we were growing up,” Middleton added.
“The three of us were very involved in rallying for such a long time when we were all living in Sydney, but we eventually moved apart as we grew older. I even had a stint Honda with the semi factory support which was great.
“I decided to put my entire focus on MRT, which ultimately became a workshop and a well-known rally business. Now, in-between that and my volunteer work, I sometimes try to squeeze some rallying in, which I always enjoy.
“I get a lot of pleasure being a president of a fantastic club, being on the state rally panel, being the major sponsor for the state rally championship and still competing regularly. I just love the sport.
“I think we’re only as good as the people who support us. As club president, I’m only as good as the committee and members, and our events are only as good as the competitors and volunteers who attend, so I wholeheartedly want to thank every person who has helped me in any capacity along my 40-year journey.”