Armadale technician revved up for Aussie Driver Search in Queensland


Armadale racing driver Michael Holland. d472553
Armadale racing driver Michael Holland. d472553

ARMADALE’S Michael Holland is set to hit the track in Queensland later this month for the Aussie Driver Search.

By day, Mr Holland is a senior condition monitoring technician at Komatsu in Welshpool.

“The easiest way to describe it is like blood tests for machines,” he says.

But after hours, he’s Perth’s next racing superstar.

“The Aussie Driver Search is a competition that this guy developed, and he wants to show that people that don’t necessarily have the budget can enter. When they win, they get a season in a car,” Mr Holland said.

“From that, it gives whoever wins the opportunity to head to other levels and actually obtain sponsorship, which when you don’t have any backing is very hard to get these days.”

Mr and Mrs Holland, parents of a seven-year-old son and twin four-year-old girls, came across the competition on Facebook.

“I was a bit sceptical, but she said ‘why don’t you just apply for it?’ I said okay, it’s a lot of money, but we’ll see how we go. She said ‘I’ll sort that out’,” Mr Holland said.

“I got an email saying we want to offer you a role in Queensland.

“Then I had five days to come up with $2500. My wife did a Go Fund Me, and I’ve got some very generous friends who all chipped in. It was amazing the way it happened.

“We paid the entry fee, got a bit more for flight money, and it all came together.”

Mrs Holland described the competition as the “equivalent of The Voice for racing car drivers”, and said the pair had raised more than $4000 in support.

“He has the support of his wife and three kids behind him all the way,” she said.

Mr Holland flies out in two weeks for the big race.

“It’s quite weird. I’m really excited, but I’m maintaining composure, I’m not there yet,” he said.

“It’s something really cool. I’ve come from… everything’s been family focused. I’ve put everything into my wife, children, mortgage. There’s never been the ability to race for quite a while, and it’s been my lifelong passion.”

The 35-year-old said cars have been a part of his life since his earliest memories.

“When I was about five, I was watching Bathurst with my mum. She was rather excited to watch it. And then my dad started working for a guy who used to race sports cars, and I got involved indirectly – he had a rally car, and I’d go to Dad’s workshop at the time and polish bits and pieces for him,” Mr Holland said.

After time spent by the racetrack meeting high-profile drivers, winning a state championship and getting into go karts, the GFC put the brakes on his career.

“The GFC hit in 2008 and I didn’t have any money, didn’t have a job, and I got married that year. We’d do the occasional go kart race here and there, but we didn’t have the money for it,” he said.

Mr Holland said getting to the grand final would be huge, and almost a dream come true.

“To win it would be the ultimate dream. We’re hoping that sparks a career. I’d like to be a professional driver. It’s something to show my kids… I can say I’ve worked hard from a young age and done all this stuff and now I’m at this level.”