Jeff Tyrrell adjusts race carAs the Honda V-Tech engine screamed on the dyno at Balanced Performance Motorsports in Sugar Hill, Jeff Tyrrell stood quietly studying the two computers in front of him as he looked for a way to tweak a few more horsepower out of the metal beast! Despite Jeff’s expertise in most mechanical and electronic aspects of many motor vehicles, this tall, quiet, young man with a friendly smile was a bit of a nomad during his formative years.
Though Jeff was born in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, his dad worked for National Cash Register, and their company policy was to move employees every few years. Therefore, during his youth, Jeff’s family also lived in Orlando, Florida, for almost ten years, Columbia, South Carolina, for about five years, and Dayton, Ohio, where Jeff finished high school.
Even as a child, Jeff loved to tinker with mechanical toys, but his great work ethic was developed when he labored on a salvage boat near Boston, Massachusetts, with his uncle throughout summer vacations during his teenage years and for an entire year following high school. His uncle and a crew of experienced divers performed all of the dangerous underwater parts of each salvage job, and Jeff ran all of the topside operations. He knew at a very tender age, however, that the underwater crew’s lives depended on how meticulous he was about every facet of his duties, and that attention to details is one of the main reasons that Jeff Tyrrell is such an excellent automotive technician today.
After the one full year on the salvage boat, the family moved to Atlanta, so Jeff decided to join them and consider going to college. He quickly discovered that school wasn’t interesting enough for him, so he began working with cars, which he had done as a hobby during his high school years. Instead of the American iron that he had worked with in the past, Jeff discovered the lighter, more nimble Datsuns.
In an effort to learn more about the Datsun Z cars, Jeff found a job in a shop in Marietta working for SCCA racer, Thomas Thorman, who began Jeff’s education into the fine art of diagnosing technical problems with modern sports cars. This association also led to Jeff working as a crew member at Road Atlanta and other tracks around the Southeast with Thorman, Pepe Pombo, and Ron Delvalle. During that period, Jeff also became friends with SCCA Atlanta Region Champion, John Williams, and worked with Jim Thompson, one of the owners of Sunbelt Racing Engines.
Eventually, Jeff moved to another shop that specialized in normal Lexus and Infiniti luxury cars, and while working near another excellent technician, Bobby Schowalter, he fine tuned his diagnostic skills. When Jeff had a problem with a diagnosis, Bobby would lead him in the right direction, but make Jeff use electronic gauges and his own skills to solve the car’s dilemma. This “on the job” training process made Jeff one of the finest diagnostic technicians in this section of the country!
Therefore, when Ron Delvalle decided to open Balanced Performance Motorsports (678-546-3133), which would offer state-of-the-art service, dyno tuning, and special fabricating to both street and racing high performance sports car enthusiasts, he asked Jeff Tyrrell to become his Shop Manager and Chief Technician. Though Jeff was very happy with the job that he already had, Ron insisted and gave Jeff an offer that was impossible to refuse, so almost six years ago they opened the doors.
Even for an old race driver and engine builder like myself, standing around down at Balanced Performance and watching Jeff Tyrrell diagnose and repair a problem that other technicians have failed to find is fascinating. He is truly a dream come true for those of us looking for just a few more horses under the hood or seeking the answer to a malfunction that seems impossible!