Alex Campbell story told

BOOK RELEASE: Baden Butler will release his book 'Relentless: The Alex Campbell Story' later this year. Picture: EMMA STOKES

Charlotte Varcoe

AFTER more than a decade, Mount Gambier/Berrin resident Baden Butler will release his book ‘Relentless: The Alex Campbell Story’ later this year.

Alex Campbell is known within the Mount Gambier/Berrin racing community as one of the best sidecar racers.

The experienced sidecar pilot lost his life at the age of 49 in an accident during a round of the road racing championships held at Adelaide International Raceway.

He was piloting a chassis built by himself which was fitted with a Yamaha engine with three other men injured in the accident.

Mr Campbell took part in two editions of the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy scoring sixth place at the Isle of Man Sidecar 1000cm TT in 1976 while two years later he won the Master of Mac Park Sidecar Race Series.

Mr Butler will release the novel about Mr Campbell’s life alongside his co-author Geoff Bickerton – a long life friend of his.

“Alex Campbell tragically lost his life during his last race in 1980 and he actually came slightly out of retirement just to do the last race to show his solo sidecar at the time,” Mr Butler said.

“His achievements up to that time were just incredible and some of the things he did here was just incredible.”

He said Mr Campbell achieved some groundbreaking things including creating an engine in Mount Gambier/Berrin where he combined two 350cc twin cylinder motors and made a 700cc incline two stroke engine.

“That came to the attention of Yamaha Japan who came to Mount Gambier to have a look because in terms of racing, nothing could touch it,” Mr Butler said.

“The second big thing he did was go to the Isle of Man and race twice in 1975 and 1976 where he got sixth and seventh place out of the entire world.”

He said Mr Campbell went onto the Isle of Man races with a “limited budget” and only one engine which he combined as a bit of an adventure with a trip to Scotland while remaining a successful businessman in Mount Gambier/Berrin where he built a workshop in Sturt Street.

Speaking on the reason behind writing the book, Mr Butler said he was a lifelong admirer of the sidecar racer.

“I met Alex when I was very young and even as a five or six-year-old I remember he treated me well,” Mr Butler said.

“I was later offered a position to work for him at age 15 as a mechanic but I did not do it.

“I then respected him and followed his career as best I could and felt through reading publications they were telling great stories of what some of these amazing motorcycle racers had done in Australia.”

He said it was a “sigh of relief” for the book to be complete after he self funded the entire project.

“I hope people will embrace it and enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed the process of actually doing it,” Mr Butler said.

“Alex’s family involvement with this is also a big point, his children have been amazing with this and they have given me all the help I have needed right up to the event itself where they will bring sashes, trophies and his sidecar down for the book launch.”

The book launch will take place at the Riddoch Arts and Cultural Centre on August 2 beginning at 5.30pm.