Lee Holdsworth reveals the stories behind some of his favourites
As a child, all Lee Holdsworth wanted was to be on four wheels.
At seven, he took up go-karting and, once he had the required go-kart licence, started racing the vehicles at weekends.
“I loved driving. I had a real will to win and beat my (older) brother, Brett. I also loved spending time together as a family. Mum used to come and would check the tyre pressures and time us with the stopwatch,” Holdsworth recalled.
It wasn’t long before he set his sights on bigger vehicles racing in more ambitious competitions, in particular, the Supercars Championship, where his idols Peter Brock, Dick Johnson and Larry Perkins found fame.
“All I wanted was to become a Supercars driver. And there was never any doubt in my mind as to whether I was going to make it to Supercars. So, it’s a dream come true (being a Supercars driver) and I’m still living the dream. Not many people get this opportunity,” he said.
Holdsworth got his big break in 2006 when he signed with Garry Rogers Motorsport motor-racing team, racing in what was then known as the V8 Supercars Championship Series. He won his first race at Sydney’s Oran Park the following year.
“That’s still the highlight of my career, the most special of all my wins,” he said.
Now in his 14th season, Holdsworth, who this year moved to the Tickford Racing team to drive its Ford Mustang, has chalked up 16 podium finishes, including two more wins.
In 2016, he had to take time out from racing after he crashed heavily in Darwin, which resulted in a fractured pelvis, knee and ribs. But, while recognising the dangers of his sport, he said he tried not to think about the accident.
“The crash in Darwin was massive and fairly frightening. But I have to push it to the back of my mind because things like that can really affect your career and your speed,” he explained.
And Melbourne-born Holdsworth, who lives with wife Alana and children, Ava, 7, and Riley, 2, in Bayside, is still hungry for more wins.
“There’s always unfinished business. There’s still plenty more to achieve,” he said.
Typical Saturday morning
Weekends are a time for family because I’m often away. So, if I’m not working, the kids will wake us about 6.30am. We’ll then go out for brekkie before we take Ava to swimming and gymnastics.
Hot chips are my go-to. They need to be crispy and served with chicken salt.
I’m not much of a cook. Alana likes to keep me away from the kitchen. But I do what the kids call a McDaddy’s. It’s a homemade breakfast muffin that consists of egg, bacon and a little burger.
On my bedside table
I’ve got Johnathan Thurston: The Autobiography, which is a really cool book (about the former professional rugby league footballer). I love a sporting biography. I’ve also got my phone charger, my Apple Watch charger and three remotes.
Fantasy place to live
Monaco. I went there once and it’s a beautiful little place on the water.
I like acoustic stuff from the likes of John Mayer and the John Butler Trio. I enjoy a good singalong.
Happiness at home
Health. As long as you’ve got enough money to live on, health is the key to happiness, I think.
Secret domestic skill
I pride myself on my dishwasher-packing skills. It’s a bit like putting together a puzzle. I don’t let Alana touch the dishwasher when I’m around as she can only fit half of what I can get in there.
My favourite things
Molly is our much-loved beagle cocker spaniel cross. Alana and I got her nine years ago and she was our baby before the kids came along. Now we’ve got kids, she’s just a dog! The kids adore her and she’s definitely the one they want to see first in the morning. They play with Molly all the time but she’s great with them; she’s such a placid dog. I think it’s good for kids to have pets and something to care for as it teaches them about responsibility. But, as much as they love Molly, they still want another puppy.
Golf is something I really enjoy, even if I’m not that good at it. Golf is similar to racing in that it’s a mental game. If you’re not in the right frame of mind, you’re not going to perform properly. It’s quite a social thing for me. I like going out with a few mates and whacking some balls around. There are actually quite a few Supercars drivers who are also keen golfers. In fact, at the last couple of events, I’ve managed to squeeze in a round of golf with (fellow drivers) Cameron Waters and Chaz Mostert a day or two before the race.
I was lucky enough to be given this Basso road bike by one of my sponsors a few years ago. It’s an Italian brand and I like the bike so I’ve hung on to it. I do a fair bit of cycling, predominantly in the warmer months. During winter, I mainly stick to riding on an indoor trainer with the cycling app Zwift, as it’s too cold to get outside. I like to ride on Beach Rd but I try to do it at times when the traffic’s not too busy. My brother and I took part in the Great Ocean & Otway Classic Ride in April, which was cool, and I’d really like to do the Around the Bay ride at some point. Like golf, cycling is a social thing for me but also keeps me fit.
I love my sport, and my Foxtel remote gets a good work out. I’m surprised I haven’t worn out the channel-change button because I tend to channel surf and switch from sport to sport when the commercials come on. Obviously, motorsport is my No. 1 go-to, but I also love watching rugby union, rugby league and AFL. I enjoy playing sport, as well. Even though motorsport was always my priority, I got into rugby when we moved to Queensland when I was six, and also played some water polo and cricket and did athletics. I do occasionally hand the Foxtel remote over to Alana, but I’m always a little hesitant because I know it’s going to go straight to (Keeping Up with) the Kardashians!
My collection of diecast model cars is my pride and joy. I have practically every car that I’ve ever driven (professionally) in model form, with all the different teams and paint jobs. No one but me is allowed to touch them. I first started collecting them when I started in Supercars. I’m very much enjoying driving the Ford Mustang this year. It’s got plenty of potential and it’s been a long time since I’ve had a car that can do the job, so I’m loving that. Another memorable car would be the Holden VE Commodore that I was driving when I won at Oran Park in 2007.
This photo of Alana, me, Ava and Riley was taken at Sandown (raceway in Springvale) last year. They are very much my life. I met Alana 16 years ago in a pub in Brisbane. She’s always been there to support me and it can be pretty tough on her when I’m away as we don’t have family in Melbourne to help out. If Riley wanted to follow in my footsteps, I wouldn’t stop him but I’m not going to push him into it. I’d probably prefer him to put on a pair of footy boots or pick up a tennis racket, if he’s got the talent, because it’s hard to make it to our level. There are plenty of people who sacrifice their whole life trying to make it to where I am and end up going down another path. But, ultimately, I would just like to see Riley and Ava do exactly what they want to do and Alana and I will support them 100 per cent.