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A Tribute to a good guy.

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A Tribute to a good guy.
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Text from my speech at Mark's funeral.
 
I hope others gain an insight into what made Mark such a fine man.

My name is Mal and as a lot of you are aware, I wasn’t lucky enough to know Mark for the length of time that others have.

 

Although I knew Mark for only three short years – those three years filled my life with all the excitement of a team preparing for the greatest race of their lives – Im sure Heidi and the girls will know the feeling of excitement around the place when Mark was “in tune”.

 

Mark blazed a trail across my line of sight like a 65 AFX Factory Experimental on the gas – Crazy, unpredictable and always surging forward.

 

From the day Mark said to me “lets go get your engine” (we drove to Adelaide and back in 24 hours after Id waited some time  for it to be finished) – we found a common bond, and that was to “never wait for tomorrow".

 

Most here would know that Mark was never shy about “staging up” when there was a car to make faster….I think Stu, Phil Mick, Theo, and John know all about that.

 

Mark was not all “converter and gears” though – He loved situations where he could “walk” people through their difficulties with their cars - where he could train, instruct and educate without the barriers of people’s pride and ignorance delaying the message.

 

I think in that we saw a common enemy – we both could never understand people’s unwillingness to listen and take good advice on board.

 

He taught people, and in doing so he proved himself to be a true intellectual – and of course anyone who witnessed his ability to explain complex Physics and mechanical engineering theories – saw a genius – in another life he could been another Enzo Ferrari or a NASA engineer – but I think we were ALL pretty lucky he was Mark.

 

Mark would purr through these chances to teach others  like a Ferrari F40 at 8000 rpm down the Mulsanne straight (that’s the main straight at Le Mans.)

 

If I can ask you all - Remember the last time he gave you some advice or gave you tip – well if you listen very carefully - can hear the echo of the TT V8 that was Mark "on song",  even now - …….

 

This day is a about remembering all the different things that went into Mark the man however – and Id like to reminisce -

 

When we arrived in Adelaide on the engine collection trip, it was 1.00 am we bunked down at my Mothers place –

 

I should mention that my Mother is an active eighty year old – and in her day was a qualified Electronics Engineer and Maths teacher.

 

As we staggered through the door – my Mother was, as usual, ready with a barrage of questions particularly as to why I “needed” a new motor…..(Mother’s are like that!!!)

 

I still remember Mark explaining the issue of the two distinct plains when dealing with rocker arm geometry of a V8 engine to her, I can still see that sly smiling look of “is she getting this”?????…

 

…...and I remember my mother validating his efforts by correcting him on the definition of a vector vs a “plane”!!!!………

 

…I just fell asleep on the floor and left them to it!!

 

But this was the true Mark – We all know he was at his best being the “Harry Firth” to the little guy – and my car out there is testament to the confidence he could instil in others – but which was so sadly lacking in himself.

 

Of course let’s not “armorall the dash” here - Mark could be as cranky as a 750 HP Hemi with fouled plug!!!!! When he wanted to be -

 

But he could joke and wise crack like the winning team at Bathurst,

 

He could drive like Ayrton Senna…(although he’d probably prefer Bandini or Schumacher being a Ferrari man)

 

And he could smile like he’d just broken a lap record…..……….and you just knew everything was under control.

 

I feel sure that sometimes he believed that if he didn’t keep busy – or if he was frustrated by life – the “backmarkers” would catch him – and so he was always looking to what was around the next bend – and he took those corners at WOT……always on the edge – in perfect harmony with the goal that was in his mind.

 

Mark was as complex as any friend could be – but more than anything – like a blueprinted motor, he was born to run, and run hard.………..and there wouldn’t be one person in this place that wouldn’t dearly love to be able to catch him just to say goodbye.

 

But!!!!

 

Mark was about achievement and moving fwd – not looking back - and Im sure he’d prefer for me to end this speech by re-enforcing his viewpoint on life – which was to “get er done”

 

For myself – Ill just say to Mark – “I cant sell the damn car now can I?”

 

And for us all - I feel sure that his last message to us all would be – Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines – there’s a race to win....................

 

And its called Life.