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If you love Aussie sedan racing, whether you want to call them Supercars, V8 Supercars or touring cars, then Computer Road Yatala is a special place. In the northern fringes of the Gold Coast hinterland, tucked in a non-descript industrial area a few hundred metres from the M1 Motorway, it’s where the Stones have based their racing efforts since the 1990s. As in Ross and Jimmy Stone, the New Zealanders who first came to Australia in the 1980s, worked for Dick Johnson Racing for five years, Alan Jones for two years and then founded their own outfit, Stone Brothers Racing (SBR). Ross ran the business, Jimmy did the engineering, together they called the shots.
One Bathurst win and three championships – two for Marcos Ambrose and one for Russell Ingall – made SBR the pre-eminent Ford team of the early to mid-2000s. They were the ‘humble Kiwi mechanics’ who could, doing it on smarts and cunning rather than a huge budget, conquering Mark Skaife and the Holden Racing Team along the way.
Ross and Jimmy were bought out of big-time racing in 2013 when Betty Klimenko turned SBR into Erebus Motorsport. Jimmy semi-retired, Ross hung in there with Erebus for a couple of years and then moved on to pursue other racing in other categories.
But the Stones never left Computer Road and now, in the very same complex that housed SBR, the next- generation Stone is returning to Supercars. This time it’s Jimmy’s son Matt who is running the show. He served an apprenticeship – literal and figurative – that started at SBR in 2004-05 and later included a stint as lead mechanic on Shane van Gisbergen’s Falcon. He then struck out on his own in 2011 to create Matt Stone Racing (MSR).
Matt has done his hard yards in junior formulae, culminating in winning the Dunlop Super2 Series with Todd Hazelwood in 2017. For 2018 they stepped up to the main game together, leasing Jason Bright’s licence and securing an ex-DJR Team Penske Ford FG X Falcon with the financial assistance of one of Australia’s great modern-day motorsport patrons, James Rosenberg. Bigmate has continued as naming-rights sponsor with iSeek, Optus and Land Transport adding significant support.
The team has expanded from 10 to 16 personnel, because this program is happening in addition to existing activities in other categories.
The never-ending sponsorship search is in the hands of Queensland businessman and long-time supporter James Gomersall and Hazelwood, the 22-year-old with a maturity beyond his years and potentially elite driving capability.
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