At 7 years of age Max had been on crutches for 15 months with an injured foot, but by 16 he had won the Sheffield Wheel Race (Tas.) and caught the eyes of many as an upcoming Champion.
In 1940 he became the youngest rider ever to win the prestigious Latrobe Wheel Race at 17 and in 1941 saw him become the Victorian 5-mile Track Champion.
In Gippsland, Victoria he cleaned up the 1-mile, 3-mile and 25-mile Track Championships.
His brother Keith was also a keen competitor and it was after the World War that Australia were thrilled at 2 brothers taking first (Max) and second (Keith) in the Melbourne to Wangaratta. Max became the name associated with Hartley bicycles.
In 1946 Max was first again with Keith (4th) in the Melbourne to Horsham and in 1948 he was named Australian road rider of the year.
Max was a regular around his hometown training with his brothers, with his perfect physique and youth he went on to win many achievements in his career including the 1950 Melbourne to Warrnambool taking line honours and fastest time from scratch.
In 1952, Max took second place to his brother Keith at the Sun Tour who on this day was faster and Max announced his retirement, he went on to work on his beloved farm at Upper Maffra West.
He died in August 1987.
“The Rowleys: My Golden Years of Cycling” book was released prior to his death.