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Vale Dale Brede

LONG-TIME Australian motorsport and automotive identity Dale Brede is being fondly remembered after his sudden passing last week at the age of just 48.

The former V8 Supercar and Formula Holden racer was well known through the industry from his time behind the wheel and in business heading up the Canberra Motorcycle Centre, one of Australia’s largest motorcycle dealerships.

Brede, who was originally from Canberra and had moved to live in Queensland in recent years, died last Tuesday, July 11.

He had been working most recently as a stunt driver at Movie World on the Gold Coast with long-time friend Warren Luff.

“We started out as competitors 20 years ago and quickly became mates,” Luff told V8 Sleuth today.

“It has been so much fun the last couple of years having him up here on the Gold Coast and working together in the stunt show out of Movie World and teaching him to drive out there.

“Having him part of the show was awesome, he was such a great person to be around and was a valued member of our team out there at Movie World and brought so much to the team.

“It’s just such a massive loss and we’re all going to miss him terribly. He was a great mate, a great friend and someone that you could always rely on to help you out whenever you needed help.

“He was just one of those great people that always brought so much to everyone around him. He is going to be greatly missed by everyone.”

Brede jumped out of karts virtually straight into Formula Holden in the late 1990s, becoming a regular in the open wheeler series.

He later drove for Arthur Abrahams’ NRC Racing squad in 2000 and made the move along with the team into the V8 Supercar Development Series (then known as the Konica Series) in 2001 in a Perkins Engineering-built, ex-Chris Smerdon Commodore.

Brede moved to drive a Harris Racing-run, Gulf Western Oil-backed Falcon in the 2002 series and enjoyed a breakout season. He won the season-opener at Wakefield Park and finished the series as runner-up to the dominant Paul Dumbrell.

He joined Briggs Motorsport for the Queensland and Bathurst endurance races in its CAT Falcon alongside Steve Owen, having originally had a plan to share his DVS Falcon with Andrew Jones.

Brede on his way to winning the Wakefield Park round of the 2002 Konica Series. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

Brede reflected on this period of his racing career with Grant Rowley for a V8 Sleuth ‘Saturday Sleuthing’ story on the Supercars.com website in 2018.

“When I think about 2002, it makes me think of good decisions and bad decisions – decisions that either makes or breaks careers, and I reckon 2002 was the first step to me making the wrong decision,” Brede said.

“I was going really well in the Gulf Western car and I’d developed a good relationship with Brad and Kim Jones. I’d structured a deal for Andrew Jones to drive with me in the two enduros.

“We’d agreed to it, but out of the blue, I had a call from Briggs Motorsport who wanted me to drive in the CAT Falcon in the enduros that year, but their exact words were ‘it’s on the proviso that you’ll agree to drive for the team in the main championship in 2003’.

“Now, for a young bloke fresh on the scene, that was a big deal, so I took it, but when we sat down and structured the deal, it wasn’t quite what they made it out to be. They wanted me to drive the CAT car, but they wanted to attract the Gulf Western sponsorship too, so I kind of burnt the Jones’.

“The writing was on the wall. Simon Wills had a falling out with the team. They drafted in Steve Owen a couple of rounds before the enduros and I didn’t know why they got him when they were talking so positively to me. So I should have known then.”

The Canberran continued in the development series in a John Faulkner Racing-run Young Lions Commodore in 2003 and made the step into the V8 Supercar Championship the following year as a full-timer alongside Wills in a pair of Team Dynamik Commodores.

Will Davison made his Bathurst 1000 debut in 2004 alongside Brede. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

“Team Dynamik was going to sign Garth Tander, and at the 11th hour, Garth back flipped on the deal and decided to stay with Garry Rogers’ team,” Brede said in 2018.

“They would have paid Garth pretty well to do it, so when that went away, they came to me with a pretty attractive offer.

“In their defence, they got stuffed around by some of the sponsors they were dealing with and, as a consequence, they stopped development and they were building a third car that they put Will Davison in as a third entry, so they were spending money they didn’t have.

“As a consequence, my car was breaking down all the time – massive reliability issues. As an experience, it was awesome to run the full championship. It was disappointing because the writing was on the wall – I had no momentum to continue to grow as a driver and become stronger. I really had the opposite (effect).”

That 2004 season marked Brede’s only year as a full-time driver in the championship, however he returned as an endurance driver with Brad Jones Racing for 2005 and 2006.

Brede made two appearances in the HPDC Series in 2005 with BJR ahead of his endurance co-drives with the team. This is Wakefield Park that year. Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

He and Scot John Cleland finished seventh in Cleland’s last ‘Great Race’ start in 2005 and Brede was set to drive with Kiwi Mark Porter in the 2006 race until Porter’s tragic accident in the supporting Fujitsu Series race on the Friday.

Michael Caruso was drafted into the line-up to share the #12 Team BOC Falcon with Brede, however the latter crashed at Griffins Bend after failing to pump up the brake pedal after a pad change. It remained the last time he drove a V8 Supercar.

Brede made six Bathurst 1000 starts between 2001 and 2006, including 2004 when he shared a Dodo-backed Team Dynamik Commodore with Will Davison in Davison’s Bathurst 1000 debut. The two remained close friends ever since.

Brede’s motorcycling interests stretched beyond business, running the works Suzuki team in the Australian Superbike Championship. His team won the ASBK crown with Josh Waters riding in 2017.

V8 Sleuth extends its heartfelt sympathies to Dale’s family, friends and industry colleagues.

If you or anyone you know needs assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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