Eleven days ago, Firepower CEO John Finnin promised a stack of reputable test results from the likes of Shell and Volvo would be delivered to us last week proving Tim Johnston’s magic pills and incredible potions really do the unbelievable things they claim about cutting exhaust emissions and boosting mileage by 15 to 20%.

Let’s just say we weren’t surprised that they didn’t turn up.

Of course the Volvo results couldn’t be produced because Volvo hasn’t tested Firepower’s products. Firepower’s PR consultant, Brian Mahoney of Financial & Corporate Relations, told me Finnin might have been confused about that. Apparently some Firepower product was allegedly tested on a Volvo vehicle, but not by Volvo. There is a considerable difference.

We don’t know who conducted the alleged test or what their credibility might be. For that matter, we have been given no basis for believing any test has been conducted, but we do know that Volvo certainly doesn’t recommend any Firepower products.

“Volvo Car Australia and Volvo Car Corporation have not tested Firepower fuel additives, does not endorse Firepower, nor does Volvo Car Australia recommend using any type of fuel additive in its diesel and petrol vehicles.”

That’s what Volvo told us. Meanwhile Shell Australia has been asking around its international arms and can’t find any record or mention of testing anything from Firepower either. Brian Mahoney claims that might be because it was done way back in 1999. I’m still not holding my breath.

So a reasonable person like me with a healthy degree of scepticism about extraordinary miracle pills is still left with nothing to disprove the opinion that this Firepower business just doesn’t feel quite right, that there are aspects of it that smell more like copper bracelets and the secret healing power of vinegar than the biggest breakthrough in fuel efficiency since, since, since I don’t know what.

But that possibility either hasn’t occurred to or simply doesn’t worry the sports businesses pocketing millions from Firepower for spreading the Firepower brand. South Sydney Rugby League Club co-owner, Peter Holmes a Court was overseas when we were seeking his opinion last week on the $3 million Firepower sponsorship but the SMH’s Jacquelin Magnay tracked him down for her nice weekend feature on Johnston’s growing influence.

“I have done due diligence on the company and I am not a trucking or a train company but I have spoken to people who are and they like the product,” Holmes a Court told the Herald yesterday.

“We have an agreement with them and they have honoured every part of that and they are very good to work with.”

The Western Force’s chief executive, Peter O’Meara, played rugby with Johnston back in their Brisbane days but he didn’t seem to want to tell Magnay what he thought of Firepower’s products. He said the Force’s commercial relationship was first class and “we are very happy to wear his brand on our uniform”. Reports Magnay:

O’Meara said the Herald’s questioning and scrutiny of Firepower were jeopardising the good work the company did for sport in Australia. “The Herald is sensationalising it. This is putting at risk some relationships that exist in Australian sport and if you continue to pursue the angle, how is it in the interest of Australian sport or the promotion of Australian sport?”

Ah yes, that’s right, never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Peter Fray

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