Champion ‘mini’ car driver and cattery/kennel owner, Meaghan Lucas takes us for a drive through her double life.
Full name: Meaghan Lucas.
Time spent living in the Manning Great Lakes area:
A short 10 and a half years, now. I moved here from the Northern Beaches in Sydney after returning from a working Holiday in the UK. I knew my parents intended on moving to the Manning when they retired, so I thought it would be a great start for us. I found the kennel and cattery for sale in the SMH, and as I was veterinarian nurse, I was looking for the next step, which was the kennels and cattery.
I class myself as a self employed kennel and cattery owner and operator. We cater for all types of pets and look after them while the owners are on holiday or in hospital – whatever the situation may be. We are also the main carers for the Animal Welfare League NSW local branch, so we have a fair amount of waifs that need loving homes, and we look after them until that right home comes along.
How would you describe the industry you are in?
Dedicated – you have to be! All the boarders need attention and they need to be fed, so it is a huge part of your life you don’t just switch off. It’s 24/7, but it has its rewards.
Describe your home and work environment:
Hectic. With two small kids as well as running a business which needs 100% attention, plus trying to have a life of my own – my nights are early. I can’t complain … I have the most lovely 25 acres; everything is at my doorstop: bush walks, motorkhanas in the paddock, a creek for my dogs to swim, Curves in Taree and family and great friends close by.
Tell us about your car racing and some of the highlights?
I love Minis. They have been in my life since I was born, thanks to my father giving my mum a 1963 Mini 850 for a wedding present in 1968. After two minis she moved on to a Holden Commodore in 1985, but they kept the two minis, hoping that my sister and I might show an interest! I did and now have four of my own.
My family joined the Mini Car Club of NSW in the early ‘90s and began competing in the club’s super sprints and hill climbs (we had two twin Clubman GTs).
I won the Ladies’ Speed Championship three times. My favourite track was Catalina Park at Katoomba, unlike most other competitors. Unfortunately, this is another ghost track in NSW now, along with Oran Park, Amaroo Park and Warwick Farm.
I went to the UK in 1997 to do the Summer Mini Show season, and I used the Mini to do the Italian Job with my younger sister – a charity event where you are sponsored to drive from England to Italy and back in 10 days with 100s of other Minis. That was a blast!
I was taken with a relatively new championship, the 1998 Mighty Minis; it was for the later model Rover Mini with fuel injection. The Minis are raced in road specification with only a few modifications allowed, which keeps the racing very close. It was great fun, hard work and costly. The biggest struggle was preparing the car without my father being there.
I met my (now) husband there, a Mini nut also who became my support crew, including mechanics. I had two nasty crashes at Brands Hatch in a two week span and a major tyre blow out at Donnington. I then brought the Mini home.
How easy is it to pursue your racing now you are a mum with young children?
It is not so much being a mum but being self employed that makes it hard. I have had a bit of a break recently, but fully intend to pick up and get the competition side of me back in the game. It’s also really exciting to see the interest my girls are showing in the Mini. I started the Mid North Coast Sub Branch of the Mini Car Club back in 2005 but have found it an effort to maintain numbers.
Why would you not change your current circumstances for the world?
Four reasons: 1. The space here is great, plenty of fresh air. 2. Close to the beach. 3. The Old Bar village environment. 4. Walk to work.
Your biggest struggles/highlights?
If you saw how many beautiful pets get surrendered every week, you would see my struggle.
My highlights are as I have spoken about – my competition days back in the 90s. It was a great time. I met some of the most amazing and influential people, whom are unfortunately no longer with us, and moments like being sped around Goodwood Circuit, England in a genuine D type Jaguar driven by Doug Nye, a motoring writer and journalist. Unforgettable!
Do you ever feel like you lead a double life?
Definitely! I wonder where I have gone sometimes!
Life motto: Imagine what you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail.
Thank you Meaghan.