MEET THE EXPERT
Name: Brad McCarthy
Role: Owner, MaxTrax
Experience: 4WD guidebook author; founded MaxTrax in 2005
I AM DRIVEN to explore; it’s in my genes. I have an innate desire to see what’s over the horizon, down the track or around the next bend, and I just love exploring our amazing planet. The more remote, challenging and treacherous the adventure, the better. So, 30-odd years ago, when I finally got sick of constantly having to retreat from challenging tracks in my Ford Laser, I bought my first four-wheel drive (an ex-Army Land Rover), and I’ve been exploring Australia by 4WD ever since. I’ve traversed the Simpson Desert, Cape York and Fraser Island more times than I can count, and I’ve explored practically every off-road location in Queensland, as well as countless other places around Australia and in the USA.
In 1999, I turned my passion into my career when I researched, field-checked, wrote and self-published my first 4WD guidebook, Dirty Weekends in South East Queensland, in my spare time. Following its instant success, I quit my ‘real job’ as a plumber and went on to publish three more 4WD guidebooks on Queensland. It was while field-checking routes for a Dirty Weekends guide to North Queensland and Cape York in 2001 that I got bogged on a remote beach with the tide coming in, and the path that my life would take changed forever. I was travelling alone, as I often still do, and despite having all of the traditional vehicle recovery gear onboard, spent six hours recovering the vehicle with a hand winch. Once it was finally on solid ground, I lay sprawled on the beach, covered in black mangrove mud, sunburnt, dehydrated, exhausted and covered in sandfly bites, and I thought to myself, “There’s got to be an easier way than that!”
When I got home from the trip, I started researching alternative solo recovery equipment, but I couldn’t find what I wanted, so I started designing my own. Four years of R&D, and numerous prototypes later, Australian-made MaxTrax was launched onto the 4WD world, and instantly won a renowned magazine award for ‘Best New Product under $500’. Since then our company has grown from our first year of selling solely on the 4WD show circuit to supplying all of Australia’s major outdoor and 4WD retailers, and to distributors and customers all over the world including the Australian, US and French militaries; the United Nations; NGOs; mining, energy and exploration companies; government agencies; emergency services departments; lifeguard services; desert racers; 4WD trainers; tour guides; and weekend warriors.
Our mission has always been to produce the very best 4WD recovery tracks available so that our customers can depend on them when a successful recovery can sometimes be a matter of life or death. So, it was extremely rewarding when our MaxTrax MKII product won a couple of Global Media Awards for ‘Best New Product’ at the 2010 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, our first major international trade show.
We don’t rest on our laurels, and we’re always looking at ways to improve our products and create new ones that make 4WD recovery better, faster, safer, simpler and easier. We’ve recently released our MaxTrax Xtreme, with replaceable metal teeth, designed with direct feedback from our military customers. It’s manufactured on the Sunshine Coast, and we’ve won a ‘Good Design Awards Gold’ for our efforts. We’ve also been working hard on a comprehensive high-quality vehicle recovery system that will be released before the end of this year.
Our tagline is ‘Take the easy way out!’ and our mission has always been about making vehicle recovery safe, simple, quick and easy. The Australian 4WD products industry has a well-deserved reputation for inventing and producing the best 4WD equipment in the world, and MaxTrax, a little Aussie family company, is very proud to be a longstanding member of that community.
Now that I have a great team to take care of the day-to-day running of the business, I get to do what I truly love, which is to go bush as often as possible, to test new products, gather promotional content, and meet our customers. I also get to push the boundaries, and from personal experience, that’s where great ideas come from.