Raised in Tasmania, Andrew's interest in motor racing started when he attended the historic Longford Motor Racing circuit as a spectator with his father. "Something magic happened that day - I knew right then what I wanted, and I have pursued that goal ever since." "I'd wag school to watch the motor races, "he confesses with a grin. "Anything with wheels and pedals, I was into. Then when I was about 15, I got my first job in the timing box at Longford." Andrew got those first addictive "couple of dabbles" in the sport in his early 20's, but his professional driving career really began with the 1974 Australian Formula Ford Championship where driving a Birrana F73 he captured second placing and a guaranteed team driving position for the future. Over the next 11 years he moved through the Australian Formula 2 Championships and then on the formula Atlantic Championship circuit, which led to racing engagements overseas from Macau to Malaysia, Britain and New Zealand as well as Australia. In 1984 Andrew made the transition to the touring car circuit and has continued to achieve outstanding performance in the Australian Group A Championships for the past 16 years. Last year Andrew competed in his 13th Bathurst 1000 and is already planning his driving strategy for the "1000 in 2000". But the challenge of competing on the international motor racing circuit was not enough for Andrew. He started business on his own in 1980, and in 1983 was awarded the prestigious Mercedes-Benz franchise for Port Macquarie. This was the beginning of a new era marked by a unique combination of motor racing expertise and Andrew's particular business philosophy based on serving the interests of his customers, his staff and importantly the community. By 1984 Andrew had gained the Ford franchise and the business has since grown to include the Chrysler, Jeep and Hyundai franchises. A RACING STORY Andrew describes it as one of those "scary and funny ones", and by the look in the professional motor racing driver's eye, you'd better believe that the story ahead is a twister. And when Miedecke starts to tell one of his motor racing stories, rest assured you'll be taken along for the ride. "It happened in Macau in 1980," he begins. "I was driving a car there for an English team - it was a single-seater Chevron. Anyway, I was driving faster and faster and getting closer and closer to pole position on this particular part of the racetrack. A boundary wall had been constructed along a cliff edge for the track, and standing beside and on top of the wall at various spots were the "flaggies" or flag marshalls, who in this race happened to be locals," Andrew explains. Approaching one flaggie who had been standing on top of the wall, Andrew says he had thought "that's a bit dangerous" when suddenly he lost control of his vehicle and it sashayed across the road, bouncing between both sides for at least 200 metres. "Wheels were coming off. The gearbox had broken off. There was only one wheel left on the car. The nose cone came off. the fire extinguisher was going off. And I was around the corner, sideways across the road, sitting in this thing that was just sitting on the gound - and the biggest danger there of course, is that someone's going to come around the corner and take you out." Realising that, as an escape route, the boundary wall was out of the question, Andrew clicked off his seatbelts and headed for a nearby fence. "As I went over I realised there was the cliff down the other side - so I just caught onto the fence as was hanging there!" It's few who can say they've literally gone over the edge for their life's passion, and the cliffhanger-of-a-story continues to remain a mystery for Andrew to this day as he wonders what happened to the brave flaggie who had unwittingly scored the closest viewing possie for the incident. "After a while, I thought 'Where's that little flag marshall that was just here?' - he'd just disappeared! I don't know where he got to. I reckon he'd fallen off - a wheel might've hit him or something. I couldn't find out what happened to him because they didn't speak English. Fortunately the flaggies further down had worked out what had happened and had slowed the other drivers down as they approached the wrecked Chevron, and it was not long before Andrew was being whisked away to a nearby hospital, and found to be remarkably without injuries. It's a story that would undoubtedly have many similar close-call accounts throughout the Port Macquarie car dealer's extensive 25 year racing career, and by his own confession, it's all a part of the game. His worst racing injury occurred during the New Zealand Grand Prix in Auckland in 1979, when he broke both legs ("one was broken in 20 places") after his single-seater car suffered wheel failure and slammed into a fence at 220 kilometres an hour. In an outcome that perhaps tells more about his strength of character and will to win than anything, Andrew was only (in his own words) "out of action" for about five weeks after the crash - returning straight back into the competition circuit. It's almost chilling when he says something like "actually they're the best kind when you just bounce off the walls", as you realise it's a reference to some of the more serious and even fatal scenes he's unfortunately witnessed. Andrew Miedecke has devoted nearly his whole life to motor sports and motor vehicles. "There's so much I've learned about automotive engineering over the years. I guess that attention to detail and meticulous servicing are perhaps the two most important things that I have carried over to the dealership from motor racing - lives literally depend upon it." And there are also other lives which Andrew cares deeply about. As a member of the Hastings Reachout Committee, Andrew works tirelessly on the issue of youth suicide. "Our young people have so much to offer. Life is so much more complex these days and I try to lend what experience I have gained on the track, in business and personally to help prevent such a tragic loss." Whatever it is that drives Andrew Miedecke to win, either on the track, in business or in his community endeavours, it certainly continues to produce a winning performance every time.
Taken from "A Racing Story" by Jeanette Stephen - PMQ News)
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