AS LONG as it had wheels and a motor, Simon Blandford has been tinkering with it since early childhood, and now he has scored a mechanic's opportunity of a lifetime - a full-time job with the (V8 Supercar) Dick Johnson Racing Team in Brisbane.
A lifelong Ford supporter, Simon completed his apprenticeship with Al's Mechanical in 2010 and will remain with Allan Rowles till his departure in about a fortnight.
Simon said he grew up in Whiporie working alongside his grandfather Lionel Dennis - who died in 2004 aged 64 - on cars and motorbikes, as well as building projects.
"I was going to be a builder. Me and him used to build heaps of things, not just mechanical stuff," Simon said.
"But then I spoke to my grandmother and she told me that he wanted to be a mechanic (he worked for State Forests) and I thought, that's good enough for me."
Simon took to his trade with gusto and was awarded Apprentice of the Year for Northern NSW in 2008 and 2009 before being granted the prestigious Best Workplace Attitude award by the Institute for Automotive and Mechanical Engineers in 2010 for his three years work at TAFE.
An avid V8 Supercar fan, Simon's success helped him secure two stints on the circuit - one with Paul Cruickshank Racing, the other with Dean Fiore FFF Racing.
Proving that success depends both on what you know and who you know, one of Simon's friends helped secure him a job with the Dick Johnson team.
Simon will be a suspension specialist, focusing all his attention on the springs and dampeners of the team's four Falcons.
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