By MITCH RODD
ARCHITECTURE is all about keeping objects as sturdy and still as possible, while racing is all about moving as fast as you can.
Hamish Ribarits looks to have both covered.
Like many other students from Sunraysia, the 19-year-old has relocated to Melbourne for university, studying architecture.
Unlike others from his hometown, however, Hamish is charging towards a future at the top level of Australian motor racing.
In his first season in the Super3 Series, the young gun holds the lead heading into the third round of the championship at Queensland Raceway in his Matt White Motorsport Ford Falcon.
He is already in talks to secure a drive in the 2020 Super2 Series, essentially the second division to the top flight Supercars Championship.
Securing his place as a Supercars driver has been the dream for Hamish since taking up racing karts at age 12, and he is well on the way to making that a reality.
“It’s been really competitive this year, I have found,” Hamish said.
“There are a lot of young guns in the category this year and it’s provided some really good racing.
“Obviously we’re all trying to go to the same place, Supercars is the ultimate goal for all of us. It’s made competition really fierce this year and it’s been an exciting journey so far.
“I’ve been really happy with my form so far this year. Going into the third round of the series leading, I think that’s a good start and hopefully now that I’m in front I can just extend my lead and create a buffer for myself.”
Hamish jumped from karts to Formula Ford Racing in 2017, finishing third in the Victorian series that year, before finishing second last year in the Australian Championship.
His overall record since 2017 is eight wins and 32 podium finishes from 74 races. That is fantastic record of finishing on the podium 43.2 percent of the time.
As well as racing in the Super3 Series in 2019, Hamish also received a late call up to fill in for Rik Breukers Melbourne Performance Centre Audi in the TCR Australian Touring Car Series in June. His teammate for the weekend was former Supercars champion, Garth Tander.
He impressed over the three races, finishing sixth, third and ninth. It was first podium finish for any of the Audi drivers in 2019.
“It was a pretty late call-up actually,” Hamish said.
“Of course I wanted to get on board and give that a go. I quickly gave my sponsors a call to see if I could come up with the funds to be able to do it and fortunately it all came together for me.
“It was a completely foreign experience for me, I’d never driven a front-wheel drive car before.
“I knew the track which was a benefit, but it was completely different. It was all paddle shift and left foot braking, a lot of stuff I’d never done before so that was a really good learning experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Mildura is known for producing outstanding motorsport talent, and Hamish has had no shortage of idols to look up to.
Todd and Rick Kelly, and Cameron Waters, have all walked a similar path previously, and the 19-year-old hopes he can emulate their careers.
“I’ve grown up and always seen V8 Supercars on the TV and thought it was really cool as a young kid,” he said.
“(When I was younger) Some friends of ours had a go kart, they got them one Christmas, and they said to come around and have a look at it.
“I thought ‘This is pretty cool, can we get one of those, Dad?’ and as soon as you know it I got my own go kart and we were whizzing around together. That was a pretty cool way of getting into karting.
“I have quite a close relationship with the Kelly brothers, which is good. In all my rounds I get to hang around in the pits and watch on.
“It’s been a really cool journey for me so far and I’ve obviously drawn a lot of inspiration from those guys (Rick, Todd and Cam), which will hopefully push me up to reach their level.”
If he continues on his current upward trend, Hamish could very well make his mark at the highest level of Australian championship racing.