My story and how I got my nickname
I’ve been around 4wds in one form or another all my life. When I was a baby Mum and Dad took me up to Cape York in Northern Australia in a 1956 short wheel base Land Rover. Dad didn’t let me drive that trip which kinda sucked but from there on 4wds were part of my life.
My early memories of 4wds were on a plantation in Papua New Guinea where we had a number of different 4wds over the years along with various tractors and machines. I loved being around machines and doing things with them.
I moved back to Australia in 1987 to start my apprenticeship as a motor mechanic at Singleton TAFE college in the Hunter Valley of NSW. For the next few years I played with cars and was slowly working towards killing myself by trying to go faster in my pieces of rubbish. Then one day my next door neighbour Bob took me 4wding with his 4wd club and I was hooked. I went home that day and started making plans to save up for my 1st 4wd a 1982 Holden Jackaroo 2 door. What a piece of junk they were but I wheeled that hard for the next 2 years and that was the start of a love for what a 4wd vehicle allows us to do.
After the Jackaroo I bought a 1986 Toyota Bundera turbo Diesel and owned her for 5 years. Once again she was off-road more than she was on-road; I couldn’t get enough of 4wding. During this time I got to go on a trip through Africa leading a 2 vehicle team as Mechanic and 4wd expert. Aside from lots of adventures on this trip one of the Land Rovers dropped an exhaust valve in the Sahara desert and all but wrote off the motor. Bent the head and conrod and destroyed the piston. I rebuilt it and got it going again. I still have the piston with genuine Sahara Desert sand in it. A tip for you: don’t rebuild engines in sand.
There are so many connections to things I enjoy doing that centre around the 4wd. I love camping and being outdoors doing cool stuff with people. I’m as happy touring around the bush looking for a great campsite as I am in an offroad race car or anything in between. But what always brings me the greatest joy is the people I meet and get to become friends with. For me 4wds have been the means with which I’ve been able to make lifelong friendships around the world and go on some fantastic adventures because of a 4wd.
Where did the name MadMatt come from? When we were kids, my mates and I started owning cars. We used to play hide and seek on the AM CB radios at night and we all had codenames and mine was MadMatt. I’m not sure who came up with it though.
I didn’t use it for many years after that until the advent of internet forums and when they asked for a user name it seemed to be the first that came to mind and now it’s kinda stuck.
Today the reach of MadMatt 4wd as a positive voice in the worldwide 4wd community blows me away. I’m humbled that anyone would want to hear what I have to say and so it is a great privilege that I get to be MadMatt.
Nowadays after 8 years at this my wife Paula (aka Mrs MadMatt) and I are full time in our little business doing something we love. Our 2 sons are out into the world as mighty men who will also be positive contributors to the communities they have influence within and that will make any parent proud. And as they say at our church, “The best is yet to come”.