General News

14 May, 2023

Mareeba local at starting line in supercars career

EVER since he was little, Mareeba local Dylan Longbottom has dreamt of being under the hood of some of Australia’s most powerful V8 supercars and recently got his chance after securing a position with Matt Stone Racing in Brisbane.

By Rhys Thomas

Mareeba local Dylan Longbottom alongside other apprentice Ben Rhynehart working on a 1954 Chevrolet pickup, named Daphne.
Mareeba local Dylan Longbottom alongside other apprentice Ben Rhynehart working on a 1954 Chevrolet pickup, named Daphne.

The young 21-year-old started his light vehicle mechanic apprenticeship with John Cole Toyota in Atherton in 2018 but did not get signed off until he moved to Brisbane this year and completed it through a Hyundai dealership.

Dylan has always wanted to move to a bigger centre and pursue his dream of being a Supercars Championships mechanic, a goal that was fostered by his personal love for cars.

“My whole life plan is I have always wanted to move to Brisbane, move to the city and chase my career and it was always as a Supercars mechanic – that was my lifelong dream for as long as I could remember,” he said.

“I actually applied with Matt Stone Racing before I even had a place to stay when I moved down here, I applied and decided to move down early and I hadn’t heard anything back about the job.”

One of Dylan’s good friends who was already living in Brisbane offered to put a roof over his head, so he jumped at the chance and committed to his move to the south-east corner.

“Without him really I wouldn’t be down here and obviously the support from my parents has been crucial,” Dylan said.

“From when I was about 12-13 years old, they were getting me into pit tours to all the race events in Townsville and taking me to Supercars as often as they could.”

There wasn’t an actual job opening for Matt Stone when Dylan applied but he decided to try his luck and send in a resume anyway.

“I’d heard very good things about them, I love what they are doing so I applied and said ‘if an opportunity does arise, I am willing to move I am willing to relocate everything, I can fly down for interviews’ obviously because I hadn’t been living down here at that point,” he said.

“It just so happened that I moved down, found my feet and it all just fell into place after that.”

Almost 12 months after Dylan threw his hat in the ring, he got a fateful call asking if he was still interested in a job.

Dylan felt like he was on cloud 9 and the next few weeks flew by in a blur until he took his first steps into the workshop just a few weeks ago.

“Up until the first day I actually walked in to start here, it just did not feel real at all,” he said.

“I called my parents and my sister and told them the news, mum and my sister shed a few tears and everyone was so excited but we were still all very ‘is this really happening’.

“When I walked in and started it was finally real.”

Dylan in the pits during the recent supercar round in Perth
Dylan in the pits during the recent supercar round in Perth

Currently Dylan and another apprentice, Ben Rhynehart, are working on restoring a 1954 Chevrolet pickup, named Daphne, and when they are not working on that project, they are assisting in the workshop.

“I am just basically helping out on the floor – at the moment because we’ve just finished a race meet I am helping repair all the damaged panels and getting them ready to go back on the vehicles,” Dylan said

“When it comes to race events I will travelling around and helping out, giving a general hand.”

Ben travelled with the team to the Australian Grand Prix and was the 'tyre man' for car #35 of driver Cameron Hill.

Matt Stone Racing team owner Matt Stone said it was great to give young, enthusiastic mechanics like Dylan and Ben a chance to dip their toes into the world of Supercars.

“Looking towards young talent and helping them grow when they are just starting out in the motorsport industry has always been one of the cores of what we do,” he said.

“That is the case with not only drivers, and engineers, but also mechanics, and both Dylan and Ben are just the latest example of that.

“Working alongside the Supercars team in the factory where our truck assist racing Chevrolet Camaros are based will give them a good toe-in-the-water experience, with the goal that they would then graduate to our Supercars team in the future.”


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