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Rallying, Diet Coke, and his mates. These are just three of the things that Brad Markovic loves.  When grouped together, anything could happen.

RallySport Mag’s Matt Whitten caught up with Brad, and spoke of perfect stages, fires, and R5 cars. 

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Name: Brad Markovic

Role: Driver

How did you get into rallying?

The family property where I grew up was five minutes from Mundaring in WA. Going to the Forest Rally and Rally Australia to watch stages like Atkins Road, in what was basically my backyard, I was hooked, and had to be out there!

My first car purchase was a Mazda BMFR 323, which I ended up practicing on the family property with, and then a short time later, ended up doing a deal to get the Nissan Sunny GTi.

The F2 class was becoming the way forward in Europe, and getting a good presence in the ARC.

What is you favourite rally moment you’ve experience? 

Unfortunately it’s two fold, because it was the first gravel stage ‘Koala’ in the Forest Rally a few years ago. We had prepared so well for the event and had the backing to do the whole ARC campaign.

It was to be our first full season. Being the first event of the year, we wanted to show people we could mix it with the best.

We ended that stage, and missed out on the stage win by 0.9 of a second to Harry Bates. We were in second place overall, and then a few seconds off the lead after three stages.

We finished the stage, and at the control, Glenn Macneall, who was co-driving for me, said: “If that’s the last stage we ever do together, you know you deserve to be here,” as he was amazed that we didn’t win the stage.

Then, the next stage, we had the car burn to the ground. Talk about the biggest range of emotions felt in 30 minutes. The end of that stage with Macneall, regardless of my career wins or podiums, was - and is - the moment I will cherish forever.

Brad Markovic's 2016 Forest Rally did not go to plan.

What is your favourite rally?

I loved the Forest Rally, because of it being my home rally and the home support just brings a whole different feeling to an event. I just wish I could have driven the event in a 4WD car when it was based at Mundaring.

Who is your favourite driver? 

It has to be Ari Vatenen, just the way he handled himself, both in and outside of the car. Ultimate professional.

If you were not a rally driver, what would you be doing? (Or what do you do when you’re not at a rally?)

Tough question, because there was no other sport I could see myself committing to at that level. Obviously, I do other activities like golf and tennis for enjoyment, but rallying was the passion.

The only thing that it would have changed, from a financial perspective, is I could have retired 10 years earlier if I hadn’t been rallying!

What is your go to snack food?

I wouldn’t call it a snack, but it has to be Diet Coke. That’s my one bad vice, and it’s even worse when I catch-up with (Dean) Herridge and Macneall.

Brad Markovic

Brad Markovic throws dust at the 2018 Eureka Rally. Photo: Luke Whitten

You’re based in Western Australia, which means all but one ARC event endure a trip across the Nullarbor. How much of a consideration was this when planning your ARC campaigns?

That’s the toughest part for us, the added time and financial cost attributed to running a team from WA, especially when it come to finding people to drive trucks back across the Nullarbor time and time again.

We are also fortunate that Rob Herridge really enjoys adding to his tally, and is easily bribed with Diet Coke.

We have looked at other options like leaving cars and equipment on the east coast in between events, but it’s never worked out to be the best option at the time.

On that note, how many times have you made the trek across the Nullarbor?

I’ve been across three times, but I will definitely never be catching Rob Herridge’s number.

There was heavy talk last year about you bringing an R5 to Australia. While that seems to have been forgotten, is this still a chance for the future?

I was so motivated by this next direction in obtaining a purpose built R5 rally car, and had a few options on the table. Unfortunately, the timing of my back injury, and constant issues with recovery, has put a dampener on that.

It’s great to see my team-mate John O’Dowd campaigning a R5 car, as we had the plan almost in place to run as a two-car team for 2019. 

Your ARC campaigns were supported by Maximum Motorsport. How much of a benefit is it having someone as experienced as Dean Herridge running your team?

It was a huge benefit to have Dean managing the program, both before and during the event. It definitely took the pressure off in so many areas, where you could just arrive and drive, so to speak.

Also, being best mates away from motorsport, he also understands my motivation, as well as my goals better than anyone.

Brad Markovic (middle, left) with best mates Dean Herridge (left), Glenn Macneall (middle right) and Tim Batten (right).

Lastly, when is your next event, whether it be ARC or state championship? 

I never say never, and would love to be back out there right now, but most importantly, it’s getting my body to a stage where it’s not in pain or at risk of worsening the injury.

There has been talk of a one-off appearance, maybe at a state round in the near future just to get the motivation levels back up, but that’s a month-by-month plan at this stage.

I’m just trying to get back to being pain free, as I’m sure my supportive family are sick of seeing me stuck lying on the floor for a week, time and time again.

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