Champions Chat: Chris Perini

After finishing second in 2018, Chris Perini finally managed to secure the Radical Australia Cup title in 2019 after fighting off challenges from Peter Paddon and Mitch Neilson.

The trio fought all the way until the last race in New Zealand, where Perini held firm and did enough to win his maiden title. Following on from that well-deserved victory, the Shannons Motorsport Australian Championships spoke with the series winner.

Chris, it was a thrilling end to the season but you finally managed to take out the title. How did it feel?
CP: To sum it up, it was a huge burden/pressure off my shoulders. It’s been something that meant an awful lot to me being my first national title – given that it went so close to the wire in New Zealand and the fierce competition I was up against. It was a massive overwhelming sensational of joy and relief.

I think the relief comes in because it was so far from a sure bet all year, we were just in front of Pete Paddon but he had raced in New Zealand and had wrapped up three series victories there in the past, whereas I had never been to the track before in my life.

Was there any particular moment that sticks out for you?
CP: It really has to be the New Zealand round. I don’t think I have ever felt such satisfaction in terms of a racing result before. I have had one-off good results but to put together a series like that – I have never been in a position from a talent or financial resource point of view to make it all happen, so to win the series, it’s the pinnacle of the year.

What about moments you would rather forget?
CP: There was one stage throughout the year where Mitch Neilson was poised with good form and getting good results and I was actually behind in the points. I never felt it was impossible, but what was going through my mind was that it was out of my control. I had to accept that I was doing my best and even winning races wouldn’t be enough. It was a difficult to try and mentally overcome.

Was that the attitude throughout the year?
CP: No, I did eventually get over it. I’m that type of person that puts everything into something I set my mind to and I had set my mind to winning the series. It was really important for me to do so. We narrowly missed out to Kim Burke in 2018 despite holding a win-at-all-costs attitude and it was awesome to have the same way of thinking and finally win the series last year.

Anyone in particular you would like to thank?
CP: Without a doubt my mum and dad are at the very top of the list. Without them, I would be riding my pushbike around. That is number one. Closely followed two and three would be the Garth Walden Racing team, as well as Pete and Mitch for pushing us so hard. It’s a massive team commitment to go away for these meetings so I have everyone to thank.

What about your plans for 2020?
CP: I will be back to hopefully defend my title.