Beard gathers speed

By Grace Jones | posted on March 7, 2019

THERE were plenty of amazing cars to look at when walking through the pits at Racewars over the weekend but one of the most prominent was Ian Beard’s 2017 HSV GTSR.

A car aficionado would recognise Mr Beard’s GTSR as the last ever HSV to roll out of production as well as the most powerful performance car Australia will ever produce, however on closer inspection you would notice something a bit different.

In July 2014, Mr Beard was training for the annual footy grudge match between the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and WA Police when a car hit him as he was cycling in Attadale.

Mr Beard said the accident left him with fractures to his C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae and confined him to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.

That didn’t stop the firefighter from reaching a top speed of 253km/h in 22.3 seconds on Saturday with an enthusiastic fan riding shotgun.

“The messages from my brain gets through to some of my limbs and I can hobble around slowly on crutches,” he said.

“My hand function is pretty poor but my left leg is pretty good so I use a left foot accelerator conversion and a spinner knob on the wheel.”

Mr Beard’s mean looking GTSR has a spinning knob attached to the steering wheel to cater for his hand function and on the floor is a detachable accelerator conversion.

“It’s pretty simple to convert a car for my disability,” he said.

“I went to an engineering firm and they had the parts available to make something. It still had to be taken over the pits though.

“The modifications clip off in seconds so if anyone wants to give it a go, it’s easy to pull out the conversion.”

Mr Beard said his 2014 Holden Ute was modified as well and functioned as a daily driver whereas his GTSR was the “every-now-and-again car”.

Mr Beard said this year’s Racewars event was the first he had attended but he was a frequent visitor to Whoop Ass Wednesday’s at Perth Motorplex.

“I saw that Racewars was coming up and thought I might as well see how fast I can go and what the top speed is in the HSV,” he mused.

“My whole goal of getting through rehab was to get strong enough to start driving again.

“Driving is my passion and I wasn’t going to let what happened to me stop me from doing what I love.”