GARY HALL BACKS A WINNER WITH ISUZU
Gary Hall is a name synonymous with the Australian harness racing industry. Between earning a place in the West Australian Racing Hall of Fame, and founding Gary Hall Pacing Stables, Gary’s success has instilled in him a thirst for resilience and dependability.
The champion trainer bought his first Isuzu truck in 1983 and hasn’t looked back since, so when he needed a new vehicle to transport his most precious asset – his horses – Gary’s industry nous led him to select Isuzu’s FRR 600 Premium AMT crew cab.
He may be one of the most successful harness-racing trainers in the country, and the proud patriarch of a growing family dynasty, but Gary’s future in the racing industry didn’t always look as bright.
In 1983 – just prior to training his breakthrough horse – Maru Adios – Gary was struggling to make ends meet, supporting a wife and four youngsters under five-years-old.
It took a tremendous work ethic to build up his training business, but in return Gary’s been rewarded with equally tremendous success.
“If the breakthrough (Maru Adios) hadn’t come when it did, I never would have made it into the industry in the first place,” Gary said. “I would’ve been forced to do something else.
“But I’ve been training full time since then and the job just builds up and up, to the point that I’ve now been the state’s leading metropolitan trainer for the last 10 years – every challenge you have strengthens you.
“Today we’ve got 100 acres at Serpentine south of Perth, and I train horses on that property, seven days a week, all year round.”
In his career, Gary has trained over 2,200 race winners, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact he hails from a non-racing background. While building from the ground up takes a lot of hard work, he’s had the reliability of an Isuzu truck by his side throughout to help handle the heavy lifting.
“I bought my first Isuzu in 1983 and at the time, safety was a huge priority for us,” Gary said. “My trucks have to be as safe as possible and strong enough to cart 10 tonnes: five tonne of horses in a five tonne trailer.
“The FRR is particularly nice to drive, and the crew cab offers plenty of space to ferry my staff to race meets as well.”
These days, and with safety still critical, the Isuzu F Series is a natural choice for Gary, with driver and passenger airbags, Automatic Braking System (ABS) and Hill Start Aid.
The FRR’s grunt is the product of Isuzu’s six-cylinder SITEC 235 engine, producing 176 kW of power @ 2,400 rpm and torque of 706 Nm @ 1,450 rpm.
And inside the cabin, it has the creature comforts you’d expect, including an ISRI 6860 air suspension driver seat, cruise control, electric windows and central locking with remote keyless entry.
Indeed, trucks have come a hell of a long way since ’83, and so too has Gary’s growing business.
“Starting from scratch didn’t really disadvantage me,” Gary reflects. “I think I taught myself most of the stuff I know through experience. I’ve developed my own methods and have been very successful.
“I pioneered the method of working horses in heavy sand with a strong aerobic focus, and a lot of people have started to imitate that now.
Despite being a veteran of the horse racing industry, it’s easy to identify the passion that continues to drive Gary every day.
“It’s quite strange really, I’ve always had an inherent love of horses,” Gary said. “The closer I got to them, the more I fell in love and that’s how my career has come about.”
He’s got a strong fondness for his Isuzu fleet too.
“Whenever I’ve bought Isuzu’s in the past I’ve always found them to be very good, so I’ve stuck with another proven method.
“My current model’s very enjoyable to drive. It’s more than powerful enough; it’s perfect for the job.”
While the FRR 600’s Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of 11,000 kg makes light work of carrying five horses, the Premium variant’s Automated Manual Transmission, with fully-automatic and clutch-less manual operation modes, allows even greater ease of operation with a sensitive load on board.
Leaving the business in quality hands – both on and off the bitumen – is now Gary’s top priority. Having achieved everything there is to achieve in Australian and New Zealand harness racing, Gary is now focusing on the future of the business, with help from his sons.
“Creating a dynasty isn’t important to me, but to tell you the truth, I’m 67 years of age and I’m probably looking to retire within the next three or so years,” Gary said. “So I’m hoping my sons can carry on the success of the business.
“My advice to them would be to respect hard work. In this industry, if you’ve got a solid work ethic, success will come.”
It’s certainly sage advice and comes from years of learned experience. It proves the point too that when backed by the right equipment and charged with a passion for what you do, anything is possible.
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