Bonnie living the motorsport dream
BONNIE Beard is doing stuff most young blokes would die for.
This weekend you'll find Ms Beard in pit lane working on Adam Marjoram's No5 V8 ute, which is running in second place in the national championship.
Helmet and overalls on, she will be in her element and at the starting point of what she hopes will become a career in motorsport.
Four years ago, the now 22-year-old's mother Melissa took her to watch the motor races. From there she was hooked. After her first experience as a spectator, Ms Beard got more involved and took up some volunteer roles before gaining her CAMs licence as a race official in 2013, which has taken her to official positions at Ipswich, Townsville, Sydney and Gold Coast.
The interest has grown to the point where she has now started on the more formal path of enrolling in a motorsport technology course at Melbourne's Kangan Institute.
"I was reading a V8 Xtra magazine and there was an advert calling for people to go on the course. I jumped at it," she said.
She has managed to gain work experience with the Erebus Racing Team, which runs V8 Utes, GT race cars and V8 Supercars.
Her studies so far have gained her a Certificate 2 in motorsport technology and she's just started on her Certificate 3 studies.
The next step is to gain an apprenticeship with one of the race teams, and she has already received approaches from two teams.
"I'm not sure exactly which one I'll take - I will start looking after the Gold Coast, which will run two weeks after Bathurst."
Her ultimate goal, at this stage, is to end up as a second mechanic in a V8 Supercars team. "It would be great to be first mechanic, but I'm taking small steps."
The life is just what she expected - very tiring and long, long hours at a time, but overall extremely invigorating.
"It's very rewarding. there are days when I feel as though I'm out of my depth, but then something will happen to get me back on track. It's just so exciting. "It's awesome. The adrenaline is full-on during a race meeting, but when you get to the end of the weekend, it's great to be able to say 'I worked on that car'."
If Bathurst's your thing and you're busy watching the TV coverage on Saturday and Sunday, keep an eye out for Bonnie - she'll be decked out in helmet and overalls, and she could well be in charge of a fire extinguisher for the No.5 ute.