OverTake presents our Hero of the Month for August: 67-year old F1 game league racer John Rowland Mason.
Image credit: John Rowland Mason
League racing has been the backbone of the online racing game space for many years now. Communities operate to provide any and all racing fans a chance to satisfy their competitive streak, and people from all walks of life unite to race together and have a bit of fun in organised friendly competition.
One of the many people who compete in league racing is retired chartered electrical engineer John Rowland Mason, who at the grand age of 67 years old has been competing in One Hub Racing’s F1 22 P4 tier. In the second round of the season he took a remarkable victory, proving that competing on video games is not just a young person’s game. For this wonderful achievement, we are making him our Hero of the Month for August!
John was born in Wales back in late 1954, he got interested in motorsport in the mid-60s, watching the likes of Jim Clark and Graham Hill. His mother, though, was not particularly keen to have young John watch racing as at that time, death was a common occurrence. If he had any hope to race himself, there was no way it was going to happen if his mother didn’t even like him watching the races.
Nevertheless, he was undeterred and continued to follow motorsport well into the era of Nigel Mansell, and then supporting the likes of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton into the present day. With his son Colin, he began playing the F1 games across various PlayStation generations, starting with the original and going through all other subsequent consoles.
John admits he never avidly played all the games unlike his son, as he was more interested in the real F1. But when Colin started racing in online competitive leagues, John took an interest and decided to also give it a go. He got himself a Thrustmaster T300 and began indulging in his love of racing.
He signed up to One Hub Racing and also for a time was in Premier Sim Gaming Leagues’ bottom PlayStation tier. In the second round of One Hub Racing’s P4 tier racing on the Red Bull Ring, Mason had been sitting in third after a couple of late safety car periods. He was holding onto the position quite nicely whilst the two drivers ahead of him tussled for victory.
However, with just under three laps to go, his two fellow competitors tangled at Turn 4 and he went into the lead. After holding off the advancements of his McLaren teammate who had much younger soft tyres compared to John’s hard tyres, he came through to take a very popular victory.
Driving for Wales
Mason was also picked up by Esports Wales – the national esports team of Wales – in September 2021, competing for their development team Esports Wales lâ. The team also compete in other esports such as League of Legends, VALORANT, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2 and Rocket League.
John considers being signed by ESW as the highlight of his time racing online. He had initially been offered a chance to join the team and declined it, believing himself to not be quick enough to be representing any esports org at any level. But he realised he wasn’t as bad as he thought he was so quickly got back to them to see if the offer was still on the table.
Growing up in a time in which online communication was non-existent, he is the first to admit that he’s not exactly tech savvy. His son helps him out with online communications like Twitter and Discord, but he does stream the races to his small YouTube channel as well.
Half-way through the league season, Mason currently finds himself only one point behind the lead in the standings. He’s not convinced he can win it, as he acknowledges that there are many more talented and capable drivers in his tier. But he will still try his best, and even if it doesn’t happen, he’ll be having a blast doing it and that’s all that matters.
Popular Member of the Community
Mason has been married to his wife Christine for 42 years and she’s immensely supportive of his competitive online racing escapades. He also loves Welsh rugby and considers himself a keen gardener, but F1 and racing are his main hobbies.
He’s made plenty of friends in his time competing, one of which is our January 2022 Hero of the Month Jessica Ball who competes in the same One Hub tier as John. She had this to say about him:
I have raced with John for a few seasons now over at One Hub Racing. He is a lovely man both on and off the track. I always enjoy the battles that I have with him and there were a few last season that were the highlights. His racecraft is fantastic.
He is one of the kindest people I have ever met in the league racing community, with a passion of helping others too. When he won the race in Austria on 19th August, I celebrated it like it was my own win. I was so happy for him and he proves race in race out that age is definitely no barrier. He is a worthy Hero of the Month.
John Rowland Mason is proof that nobody has to feel like they can’t belong doing what they love. Everyone who wants to compete with like-minded people and share their love of racing can do so without the thought of any sort of barriers being in their way.
Ultimately, driving games and competitive online racing are not bound by age, race, sexuality, religion or gender identity. It transcends all of it, we are all united by our passion, and subsequently every one of us can all realise our individual brilliance.
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Are there any personalities in esports racing you would like to nominate for the next edition of Hero of the Month? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!