Trip. Smithton Tyre and Battery owner Mel Sowter recently experienced life in the fast lane at the Maxxis factory in Shanghai, China.
The local dealership operator joined fellow dealers from around the country for the international experience after ranking among the top dealers for most units sold in a period of three months.
Taking a tour of the Maxxis factory, the group also attended the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit, forming part of the Formula One World Championship.
“There was only a tiny part of the track we couldn’t see,” she says of the Grand Prix experience.
“We were in the grand stand looking straight into the pit lane.
“The noise, the vibrations of the engines, the racing – it was incredible!”
A tour of the tyre manufacturing facility provided insight into the making of the product the dealers sell.
“Everything is done by computer until it comes to the inspection,” she says.
“The tyres are hand inspected meticulously then they test on every possible surface.”
The testing ground consists of several tracks varying in conditions with 370 sprinklers allowing the test of rubber in a depth of up to 10 millimetres.
“We did a few hot laps, that was wild fun – the g-force was incredible!”
Bringing her knowledge back to Circular Head, Mel says the trip opened her eyes.