Why do we need MENTORS and ROLE MODELS?

by: Vicky Reihana on

Why do we need MENTORS and ROLE MODELS?

Jaxon Reihana on MENTORS


As someone who is looking to become one of the best at what I do (motorsport/car racing), health, fitness and making sure I am maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is key to making sure I can have my mind 100% on the job whilst on track (it’s proper hard work!)

As well as this, one vital thing that often goes unnoticed to the general public, and/or observers from the outside looking into any kind of sport, whether it be motor racing, athletics, or football; how the positive impact of a mentor can influence an athlete, from grass roots to an international level.


Personally, I feel a correct, positively influential mentor can change the outlook of a situation you may or may not be going through, personally or professionally. Some may not need one, but especially for the younger generation, a mentor has the ability to give an extra push of motivation when the going might get tough. To me, at times this has been the difference between keeping my head down and pointing in the right direction, to throwing in the towel altogether.


My mentors range from parents, to legendary kart racers/team owners, to World Championship winning GT drivers:


Tahi Reihana



  • My father, Tahi, who also happens to be my greatest mentor, has been to the top of World Rugby League – one of the most respected front rowers in the history of any team he has played in. On top of his knowledge of health, fitness, and being an athlete in general; he has also been my greatest mentor on a personal level. There have been times behind the scenes, where my attitude might have taken a slant, and he’s picked it up and made sure I was back in line before anyone would be able to notice! On top of this, he has also put aside many weeks of his time during my junior years of racing, getting me to the track and back home with all my gear safely (may not sound tedious to some, but it can be when our closest circuit is over an hour and a half drive away!). I would never have been able to get my feet off the ground without his support!


Dale Verrall





  • My coach, crew chief/team owner, and mentor, Dale Verrall (Pacific Kartsport), is a very highly respected coach and mentor to many young(ish… my teammate Scotty Howard might have bumped the average age up a bit! Haha!) karters around the Trans-Tasman part of the globe. He has taken under his wing names who have won Le Mans, youngest V8 Supercar race winners, and potential Formula 1 drivers. His professionalism, yet warm and at times humorous approach to teaching his drivers is what sets him apart from the rest. He has created more of a family than a race team, an environment that you wouldn’t normally have at the professional level his team is at, and made it an environment that any driver, young or old, rookie or professional, would thrive in being they grab the opportunity to be apart of it. Personally, there have been many times where by choice, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty so that I would be able to get another competitive edge over the opposition. I do hope to one-day repay his efforts with a green/gold number plate, and a surfboard (trophy) to hang up on his wall of achievement!


Maro Engel




  • Maro Engel came to Australia, relatively unknown to most fans of the competitive series he was joining back in 2013. In a year that provided many lessons, and much heartbreak during his professional duties, Maro always made the time and effort for his fans. In the cutthroat world of big-time motorsport, that one year he spent in Australia racing V8 Supercars proved to me that no matter how bad his luck got, the professionalism he showed in dealing with the pressure guided me to knowing the kind of person I would like to eventually become. It was by nothing really but luck him and I got to know each other! If I told the story, it’d be tough to believe (maybe some other time)! Ever since, we’ve kept in contact, despite him becoming a World Champion, and a driver for the Venturi Racing team in the ever-growing Formula E series. He’s still the man I knew from a few years ago, and the fame and many new fans he has received hasn’t stopped him from making time from all, not just myself. For sure, he is someone I look up to as a mentor, and hope to be teammates with someday perhaps!


Never underestimate the personal impact a mentor can have on you, as an athlete or someone in any profession, or as a person in general. For me, the people I look up to have given me the inspiration and the push to keep digging for my personal and professional goals.

Who knows? These people could help you become a mentor to the next generation too!

  • Congratulations on an interesting post that is as well articulated as it is enjoyable to read. Kudos to your mentors and to you for writing about them.
    Don’t stop now Jaxon, I’m sure there’s plenty left in you. I hope to read more of your work in the future.