SMU Racing (formerly Start Me Up Racing) has been racing in the Australian Off Road Championship since 2004. The team won the Championship in 2006 in Super 1650 class and has been competing in Pro Class since 2007. SMU Racing won the Australian Off Road Championship outright in 2012 including the Series win for Pro buggies and also the Tri Series outright.
Driver Matt Hanson
Matt first started in Off Road racing in 1984 navigating for his father Neil in a Verco Hustler. His first race as driver was in 1988 and he went on to win the Victorian Off Road Championship in Class 1 (now Pro Class) in 1989 in the same Verco Hustler powered by a Datsun 1800cc engine and VW Kombi gearbox.
He continued to compete at club and state level over the years before racing in the Australian Off Road Championship in 2004 in Super 1650 class.
Matt won the Super 1650 Class Australian Championship in 2006 finishing 3 of the 5 races and finishing 1st in class in these races including three top 10 outright placings.
In 2007 Matt started in Pro Class with a BMW V10 powered Porter. Drivetrain reliability proved challenging in this vehicle and in 2011 drove the Nissan V6 twin turbo powered Jimco for the first time.
Matt won the Australian Off Road Championship outright in his first full season where he also won the Pro Class and Tri Series outright for 2012. This gives the team the right to wear AUS #1 for 2013.
Matt is a member of the Victorian Off Road Racing Association and the Portland Dune Buggy Club.
Navigator Leigh Wells
Leigh has been involved with Off Road since he was a boy following his Dad and Uncle round the pits of Off Road events all over the country. He has navigated with many Off Road teams in recent times before calling SMU racing home.
Leigh’s key to navigating is his photographic memory with him quite often able to memorise a lap (up to 80km round) after just one lap. “Getting it Done” as he is known to many is in the competition’s elite navigator’s.
Leigh with Matt won the Australian Off Road Championship outright in his first full season in the SMU Racing Jimco as well as Pro Class and Tri Series honours.
Also known as Baughurst after the great South Australian stayer, Borgy, ‘Gettin it Done’, and Smooster Leigh has a keen eye on the fillies and is always the life of Off Road presentation evenings.
Performance Manager Shane Cottee
Shane has driven for many years in Off Road with many outright victories and placings during his career in a turbo charged single seat buggy. Shane was in the top echelon of drivers (and still more than able to hold his own) and was a driver for the Bridgestone Off Road team during the halcyon days in the late 80s and 90s.
Shane now puts his efforts into the AUS # 1 Jimco at Shane Cottee Desert Prep where under his watchful eye the car is meticulously prepped before each outing. Shane’s experience ensures that no stone is unturned in the pursuit of excellence for SMU Racing.
Head of Pit Crew Daren Wells
Daren has been in Off Roading for 32 years. He has driven for the Yokahama team in the 80s and 90s and won two Australian Off Road Championships as driver. Daren has the prestigious honour of being an Off Road Hall of Fame member and was recently inducted as a Life member of the Victorian Off Road Association.
Daren’s experience in the team speaks for itself and his input in the team to all aspects is of great benefit at SMU Racing.
Team Manager Glen Wells
Glen has been in Off Road for many years starting the sport with his brother in the early 80s. Glen was a superstar Super 1650 driver with several podium finishes including outright victories at Waikerie and the famous BAV 100. Glen also managed the Yokohama team during the dizzy heights of the late 80s and 90s when the team was the premier team in Off Road.
Car Preparation / Pit Crew – Tammi Saunders
Tammi joined the team in 2011 and performs and enormous amount of work on the SMU racing Jimco in between races in the Australian Off Road Championship.
The reason the SMU Racing Jimco wins so many ‘Best Presented’ awards is largely because of the amount of work Tammi puts into the car. The SMU Racing Team loves having Tammi as part of the team and she is considered ‘one of the boys’!
Chairman SMU Racing Neil Hanson – ‘The Godfather’
Neil is Matt’s father and cut his teeth in the early 80s driving a Verco Hustler with Matt as Navigator. Reliability problems plagued Neil during parts of his off road career with many victories cut short by DNFs.
Neil then drove a Verco Hornet before finishing his driving days in a Southern Cross powered by one of the original 20 valve Toyota 1600 engines in Super 1650 class. Neil has also navigated at a National level with Matt.
Neil is the overseer of team SMU, has his sleeves rolled up in the Pits on Race Day and has final say on most matters. Neil as they say at SMU HQ is a living legend.