In the late 90’s I worked for an engineering company in the heart of Melbourne. The Instrument designer, my boss Ross, raced Porsche’s for a hobby. He knew I was not doing much during the week, so he asked me to help him with his race car. I did tell him that cars and car racing were something that did not do it for me, but still I went along.

The first night we went out to Lilydale and tinkered with his car. There I met Kaye and Mike. Mike was Ross’ mechanic and Kaye ran the Pirelli Porsche Cup for Australia. Occasionally Spence, a mechanic who worked for Porsche, would come and help out. So began the year of Sam Bucca.

Mike Racing his Porsche 911 in the 90's

We prepared the car during the weeks leading up to the first race at Oran Park, outskirts of Sydney. When the Friday of the race came around we headed off very early to Mike’s place. Kaye had already headed up there to meet and greet all the other drivers.

So off we head in Ross’ Range Rover, towing the ‘yellow peril’. Mike was the first driver, then it would be Ross, then me. The trip takes about 10 hours of solid driving from the outskirts of Melbourne to the outskirts of Sydney.

Not long after we left we heard a bang and a clunk, so we stopped to investigate, didn’t look like anything, the car was safe and tied down properly. So we continued without incident, swapped Mike for Ross at a rest stop, then we got to Gundagai, yes the famous place with the dog on the tuckerbox. It was my turn to drive, I took it fairly easy, but the trailer felt very unstable. Anyway we eventually got there, in time for the first practice.

The Dog on the Tuckerbox

We offloaded the car in our garage, then Mike took the trailer out the back. He came back white as a sheet. “Remember that noise after we left?”, he inquired of us. We all agreed we did remember it, he said it was one of the two bolts holding the trailer had snapped off, and the other was barely holding on, no wonder it was so hard to handle!

That night was the night I was christened Sam Bucca. We went out for dinner to a restaurant near our hotel. We had a nice meal, and not being a wine or beer drinker I partook in Sambucca, I love liquorice. So after three hours in this place and consuming close to four or five shots an hour, I was quite inebriated. It had been raining while we were there, but only drizzling as we walked home, or staggered in my case. On the path was a drain cover, that was very slippery. Drunken me stood on this and did a cartoon like run to try to save my fall. I caught the fall and kept on walking, much to the amusement and amazement of the others in the party. So Libby, (RIP), coined my name, and it stuck for the entire time I was with the racing.

Sadly Ross’ car blew up in the first race, so we sat out the rest of the weekend. It was six more months before we got the car back on the road and off to Mallalla, Adelaide, but that is for next time.


Porsche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)