Having not been behind the wheel of his BMW M6 GT3 since Phillip Island in May, people may think Mackay’s Morgan Haber has been sitting back relaxing, but nothing could be further from the truth for the 22 year old.
Not adverse to hard work, it’s not unusual to see Morgan doing university work at every opportunity, especially over the last few months as he completed his final exams. The hard work paid off with the Mackay Christian College alumni graduating last week with a Mechanical Engineering degree. It was a visit by motor racing legend Jason Bright and Race Engineer extraordinaire Phil Keed that lead Morgan to pursue an Engineering degree. “I was struggling at school and I remember Phil asking me what I wanted to do with my life. I said I wanted to be a race engineer. He told me I better put my head down and do the hard work, so I did and finished school with top marks and went onto QUT to study Engineering. The rest is history, but Phil’s words were definitely a turning point for me. It’s been challenging to juggle both University and racing, but there are plenty of us on the track doing it, so I think it’s great for the future of Australian racing to have highly qualified drivers”, said Morgan.
On the track, Haber has been a regular within the Australian GT Trophy Series, assisting Marc Cars Australia in their campaign of the Championship with their custom built cars. Morgan’s expertise has been integral to the team and his experience behind the wheel of a Marc Car has been an asset to the team. Early in July Morgan was called up to partner with veteran racer and 2-time winner of the Bathurst 1000, Tony Longhurst. This weekend, Haber received a very late call up to jump in and partner with Rob Thomson, an experienced endurance racer, in the number 96 car. “It’s always great to jump behind the wheel of a Marc Car, or any car really, it’s just great to be racing”, commented Haber.
The pairing of Haber and Thomson qualified 3rd on Saturday behind fellow Marc Cars teammates Jake Camilleri and Jack Smith. Race 1 on Sunday morning saw Thomson start the race on the 2nd row of the grid but couldn’t match the pace of the front running Marc Cars off the start. As a professional driver, Morgan’s pit penalty is the highest in the field and after being handed the car with 25 minutes to go, he rejoined in 8th, but under a safety car. What a difference 5 minutes can make, with Haber slipping into 3rd place with 20 minutes to go. He continued to charge and set the fastest lap time of the race, a 1:12.4395, with only 5 minutes to go and was enough to push the Mackay racer into 2nd place as he crossed the finish line.
Race 2 kicked off with Morgan taking the first stint in the #96 car and started alongside Series leader Jake Camilleri. It was a drag off the start line, but having the outside line, Haber tucked in behind Camilleri into turn 1 and held 2nd place for the first 3 laps. Haber noticeably came off the pace, sacrificing 2 places and falling 5 seconds behind due to power steering issues with the #96 car. A lap later, the issue was resolved and Haber began the climb back up and quickly regained 1 position to sit comfortably in 3rd until the hand over to team mate Rob Thomson. A pit penalty of 1 min 19 sec certainly hurt the chances of the #96 car, especially given the lesser penalty time for both Camilleri and Smith and the lead-time both cars had ahead of the Haber/Thomson pairing. Despite a valiant drive by Thomson, he crossed the finish line in 5th place, but this was enough to put the pair on the podium as they claimed 3rd for the round.
Haber will be heading home to Mackay for the upcoming “Mechanos Wings and Wheels” event on the 14th August. “I haven’t been home in a while due to Uni exams and racing, so it’ll be great to spend some time in Mackay and support a great community event”.
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