McMullen does Australia proud in World Driving Championship

He may have finished outside the podium but for Pete McMullen, the experience of just representing Australia in the World Driving Championship was rewarding enough.

The reinsman returned home to the Sunshine State on Sunday night following a whirlwind week in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, which saw him go up against the best drivers from across the world.

McMullen had worked his way up the WDC leaderboard to be in second place heading into the last day of the competition at Trabrennbahn Mariendorf in Berlin, but had to settle for sixth in the end.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience, and something I’ll cherish forever,” McMullen said.

“I had a couple of winners but unfortunately heading into the last day of the competition running second and didn’t have a great day and ended up running sixth.

“It really was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity…I’m forever thankful for being able to represent the country.

“At the end of the day, to be there was excellent but I always want to do my best and the last day just didn’t work out all that great.

“But I think sometimes that’s just a bit of luck of the draw and it’s part of racing I suppose.”

Reigning champion Rick Ebbinge from the Netherlands again took home the winner’s trophy, with Canadian Doug McNair nabbing second and Belgian Hanna Huygens taking third.

Pete McMullen after the third leg of the WDC at Hippodrome de Wallonie in Mons, Belgium. (Photo: WDC)

“Leader Peter” said the trip had given him a new perspective on harness racing, as well as some lifelong friends.

“It was great to be able to go and see how the rest of the world functions and how they do things…it opens your eyes up to how everything is on the other side of the world,” McMullen said.

“To see different things and how they do different things in different counties and create new friendships for a lifetime was a great thing.

“A lot of little things are different but at the end of the day it’s still horse racing and still a lot of things that are very similar.

“I think that’s probably the best part about it is you go and meet people from all around the world and there was some really good people on the trip and the ones that speak English, we sort of made really good friends with them and will look to stay in contact with those people forever.”

There was no time for any extra sightseeing for McMullen and wife Chantal Turpin, with the duo flying straight home from Berlin to Brisbane.

Arriving on Sunday night, McMullen had Monday off to recover before jumping back into the sulky with four races at Albion Park on Tuesday, which included a win on Kalypso Sam.

“It’s a big flight – over 24 hours in transit which knocks you round a bit too,” he said.

“You don’t really realise the effects of the jet lag but it’s good to be home and straight back into it.”

McMullen racing in Belgium. (Photo: WDC)

By Andrew Smith