Polo player Neill Ford will test his skill with horsepower of a far more potent kind when he debuts an 'infamous' steed at Victoria's Mt Buller  Sprint in November.  

The Brisbane businessman will drive a Mercedes-Benz CLK55 AMG coupe that was  previously raced by former motorcycle world champion, Mick Doohan, during  the 2001 Targa Tasmania.  

After gathering dust in a Sydney workshop, the V8 coupe has been totally  're-born' and Ford hopes it will be a strong contender for the eight timed  runs up the 16km Mt Buller tourist drive over the weekend of November 4-6.  

"The CLK was a pretty special car when it was built for Mick, but it was a  bit knocked around when I got it. It will be back to original for Buller -  and it's only got 2702km on the clock!" Ford says.  

Competition driving is a relatively recent challenge for Ford, who is one of  Queensland's best-known polo players and hosts the annual Mercedes-Benz of  Brisbane tournament at his country estate, Alsace.  

But he's done plenty of kilometres in his career, progressing from a driver  for Yellow Taxis to managing director of the company's operations in eight  Australian cities.  

"I started motor racing in my late teens, but it came to the point where I  had to give it up or give up my business. So I'm only new, but I'm  absolutely loving it," Ford says.  

November's event will be Ford's second tilt at the Mt Buller Sprint and he  should feel at home in country traditionally more famous for its horsemen  than racing drivers.  

"Buller doesn't hold any fears for me - the more you do it, the more you  know the corners and the Mercedes is very safe. My co-driver, Doug Fernie,  is one of the best around, too. When you're half-slipping off the mountain,  he'll still be calling the pace notes."  

Ford is relishing the prospect of competing in the same event as his son  Daniel, who will be co-driven by his wife Natalie in a Subaru Impreza STi,  and he will also be up against a number of other Queensland crews.   

"We'll all travel down together and get around together at Mt Buller," he  says.  "And to do something with your son is pretty magic - although I reckon we'll  be pretty competitive with each other too."  

The Mt Buller Sprint is a fully CAMS-sanctioned event for driver and  co-driver (navigator). Competition stages are tarmac-only and pace notes are  allowed.  Competitors must have a CAMS national rally licence (or higher) and wear  fireproof racesuits and helmets, while their vehicles must meet stringent  safety guidelines, including rollcage, fire extinguisher and safety  harnesses.  

Anyone interested in entering is urged to read the event regulations and  submit an entry form, both of which are available on links from the website,  www.mtbullersprint.com, or contact event director, Peter Washington, on 0418  337 955 or peter@mtbullersprint.com

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