Boat Racing History - Brett Nidree of BNR Engines


Brett Nidree - Australian Powerboat Racing history

Brett Niddrie started out boat racing in 1992 where he helped Tom Heffernan with his 4.2 Hydroplane Dragula.

As his interest grew he decided to get involved further in the 1.6 Litre Class and asked Tom to build him a new Staudacher Hydroplane with safety cell.

As he lived next door he spent many hours with Tom helping him build his boat and learning the principles of boats and boat set-ups.

At the same time along with his father John and Tom they purchased a”Frenzy” a 1.6 Litre Hydroplane and went out and started driving and honing his skills.

In 1995 he and John then purchased a 2.5Litre Hydro from the USA and had it shipped over.

Although not a class for this over here it was to be turned into a 1.6 Litre but in the meantime Brett drove it on several occasions against anything that he could and showed some skill in his driving ability by running with 4.2 hydros and beating most of them.

At the same time his 1.6 litre hydro “Airwalker” was completed but was not a very successful craft being anew design at the time and fitted with the extra weight of a safety cell, however persoverence prevailed and he campaigned it for a couple of years.

In 1997 a partnership with John and Paul Burton saw Brett progress to the GP Hydroplane class by purchasing “Radical Rat” from Warwick Jones in NZ while the boat was over here competing in the Trans Tasman Series.

Both he and Paul had a drive in that series and came 3rd overall which was a tremendous achievement being new into the Blown game.

During this season the boat competed at numerous events and gained first places in the Victorian Championship and the Inland Championship at Broken Hill.

In 1998 Radical Rat went to New Zealand to defend its tile as winner of the previous years Masport Cup.

Although not successful in this was able to win the Moult Gold Cup and run 3rd in the Trans Tasman Series.

1999 saw a change in the ownership of Radical Rat as Paul Burton wanted out of the deal so John and Brett continued on alone and it was in this year that they decided on the biggest challenge in boat racing and that was to contest the “E.C.Griffith” Cup at Yarrawonga.

This was a successful push and after a hard fought battle was victorious making Brett the youngest winning driver of this prestigious event.

This same year he was 2nd in the inaugural “Mary and Ernie Nunn” GP Hydroplane Australian Championship.

The following 3years he backed this up with a three consecutive first places.

Many other major events were run and won with not only Brett driving but also maintaining the engines for Radical Rat

In 2003 Brett had a major accident in Radical Rat which then put him out of the seat for a time and he was approached by Paul Burton to maintain the engines and craft “Big Chief” which Brett did with renewed enthusiasm, helping take it to a reliable and successful level.

Then in 2005 Paul got “Warlord” from his father Ron from New Zealand and Brett took over the reigns as mechanic for this which was to continue through to 2009.

A very successful run with Warlord winning countless championships and then again in 2007 Brett drove it in the Griffith Cup, as Paul was sick at the time, and proved successful getting his name on the “Holy Grail” of boat racing for the second time.

Paul passed away in 2008 and Brett was asked to campaign Warlord in NZ for the UIM World GP Hydroplane Championship.

With the blessing of his wife and mother he jumped at this challenge and after a lot of hard work put in by himself as driver and mechanic and the crew, John Niddrie, Kane Lambert, Tom Briggs and Matt Crockett were successful in achieving the ultimate recognition of being crowned a WORLD CHAMPION.

During the time of 2006 to current he has also been involved as mechanic and boat maintainer with Brett Sheppard in “Unleashed” and this combination has been successful with 3 Puff Chesser wins and 2 Marj Watson wins as well other championships.