THE teenager who became the youngest winner of the Australian Golf Open on the weekend, Aaron Baddeley, has his own high-powered racing connections in Champ Car. Baddeley is the son of a former Formula Ford racer who was later crew chief to ...
THE teenager who became the youngest winner of the Australian Golf Open on the weekend, Aaron Baddeley, has his own high-powered racing connections in Champ Car.
Baddeley is the son of a former Formula Ford racer who was later crew chief to racing maestro Mario Andretti.
Records of Ron Baddeley's racing career in the Australian Formula Ford Championship in the 1970s are scant with him being described as "a midfielder" - there is no record of him having scored any points in the national series.
After his race driving days he moved to North America, where he worked with Andretti in Indy Car (now Champ Car), eventually becoming Andretti's crew chief at Patrick Racing in 1982.
Aaron was born in the US and was taken along to many motorsport events and was regularly seen around the Vermont race shop of well-known American racer Bill Alsup, who was Ron's boss after his departure from Pat Patrick's operation.
Another Australian, John Anderson, worked for Alsup at the same time and remembers Aaron well.
"I remember the day we had this brand new Chevy and Aaron's mum, Joanne, came up to give us the news that Aaron had just provided us with some of his own marking pen artwork on the new velour seats," laughed Anderson, who is now Vice-President of Racing Operations for the PacWest Racing Group in Indianapolis. "The little bloke was into anything he could get his hands on. "Now he has won the Australian Open, that's just bloody fantastic. "Maybe we should have got him to autograph those seats in Chev."
Now 18, Aaron has become the youngest winner of the Australian Open in the event's 96-year history, beating Greg Norman and West Australian left-hander Nick O'Hern by two shots.
The young Baddeley has just completed his high school education in Melbourne and certainly has no lack of confidence.
"My goal is to be better than Tiger Woods," he has been quoted as saying.
While Ron reached some reasonable heights in the US, he now enjoys a slower pace as the owner of an Ultra-tune Tune franchise in Croydon in Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs.
Now tuning the cars of suburban housewives, Ron once worked with some of the greatest ever to sit behind the wheel of a race car.
Some of the drivers he worked with include Andretti, Australian international star Vern Schuppan, New Zealander Graham McRae and Alsup.