Bruce Stephens from Bruce Stephens Racing (BSR) gave me a call 2 weeks ago and was commenting on this website. He came up with an idea and invitation that I couldn’t refuse.
Bruce suggested that I come around to his Western Suburbs Factory (Melbourne Victoria) and photograph the build up of his brand new A.R.T chassis – from start to finish.
Bruce is no stranger to Speedway having raced SDAV Hot Rods for many years and then Sprintcars after buying Ian Lewis’s Maxim in 2001. He successfully raced that package for 3 years and then headed for the lofty heights of Sprintcar Team owner.
Bruce has had a number of high profile Drivers pilot his cars since 2004 including Brad Sweet (USA), local champs Dave Murcott & Harley Bishop, and last season USA young gun Josh Fisher. Bruce reminisces and reckons one of the finer moments for BSR was when Dave Murcott came home 3rd in the gruelling World Series Sprintcars Championship in 2005/6.
This year he has enlisted the services of Matt Egel from South Australia to drive the brand new V91 A.R.T. Matt will pilot the car when he is not tied up with his own local Speedway City commitments in Adelaide.
The plan was to build the new A.R.T. chassis car for the running of the 6 th round of the Eureka Sprintcar Series at Warrnambool (Sat 26th Nov). The build up was to be lead by Bruce’s long time friend and Crew Chief Graham Summers.
The BSR Team did their bit and got the car built through the week and headed to Warrnambool, but after engine starts the rain came and put an end to the night. The A.R.T’s next outing and attempt to turn its first racing lap is scheduled for round 8 of the Eureka Series at Warrambool 17th Dec.
The A.R.T. chassis has some a very unique history to it. After Bruce had seen Jesse Hockett race last Christmas at Brisbane, he admired Jesse’s aggressive and calculating driving style and wanted Jesse to race for BSR.
Bruce offered Jesse a drive here in Australia for season 2010/11 after that meeting. Jesse at the time was sponsored by A.R.T. Chassis’s and he was keen to maintain that relationship for the proposed Down Under stint. Jesse studied the tracks that Bruce was intending to race using websites and footage on YouTube and set about ordering two custom made “Hockett Spec” frames from A.R.T to suit those venues. At that point Bruce had provided an initial funding instalment to commence the manufacture of the frames.
Sadly only a few months later while back in the States, Jesse’s life was taken in an electrical accident while working on his race transporter. Bruce being the diplomat that he is let it go for a month before contacting Jesse’s Father and a deal was struck to send back to Australia a car that was in Jesse’s Father’s possession. This ended up being the frame that Jesse was going to race at the 2010 Knoxville Nationals.
Bruce arranged to have Australian Tyson Perez of Smiley’s fame collect the racecar from Jesse’s Father and load it into a Smiley’s Container and then ship it back to Australia. That worked out well because Tyson was a crew member for racer Travis Rilat and about to leave for America.
The car was indeed collected by Tyson and Travis Rilat, but another tragic twist was about to be played out. Tyson’s life was sadly cut short in a methanol drum explosion in Washington. Travis Rilat was also severely injured in the same accident.
Again Bruce waited for a month or so before making contact with connections in the US to establish where his car was. Bruce had thought it was at Travis Rilat’s workshop. As it turns out it wasn’t and no one really knew where it was.
In the end it was unearthed way down the back of the workshop at Smiley’s (Parts Supplier) in Texas. Bruce was so happy because at the end of the day, he had reconciled that it was gone forever. It was road freighted from Smiley’s all the way to Indianapolis and then into a container for the long boat trip to Australia.
So fast forward a few months and that same A.R.T chassis is now sitting proudly at BSR in Tullamarine and being built up to a racing condition with all the latest trick bits including a killer JSR (John Sidney Racing) 410 CI engine with some pretty special numbers !
This week Torque Tube Media has brought you some “sneak peaks”, and next week we will continue with a full pictorial of the A.R.T build up – from Go to Whoa……….. Just pictures of how you go about bolting one of these Winged Beasts together.
Catch us next week for all the pictorial detail of the A.R.T build up – Step by Step.
BSR would like to acknowledge the support and assistance provided by:
- Lakes Entrance Country Cottages
- Hobbs Trenching
- JSR – John Sidney Racing
- Marsh Building Services
- Mainline Dynolog Dynamometers
- The BSR Team: Graham Summers, Trevor Smith, David Aldersley, Hayden Smith, Steve Pilbeam, Rob Bowie, Gary Doig and Matt Stock.
Bruce is the first to admit that without the support from these guys, BSR would not be on the track, but of course with all forms of Motorsport you can always use a little extra help !
If you would also like to help this Burgeoning High Profile Team and secure valuable Corporate exposure, feel free to contact Bruce Stephens from BSR on:
- M: 0418 335 860
- E: Bettertilt@connexus.com.au