PREMIER Speedway has honoured three of its true believers with life memberships.
Michael Aberline, Wayne Beames and Kevin McCarthy became the 94th, 95th and 96th life members of the Premier Speedway Club at the season- ending presentation dinner.
Combined, the trio have nearly 100 years’ service at the club and each said they were blown away to be recognised with life membership.
McCarthy has held his supervisory position in the Premier Speedway grandstand for the past 30 years, only missing one meeting to attend his brother’s wedding.
“The guy who took my place that night, who I won’t name, told everyone that I had died and he had taken over,” he said.
“I showed up to the next meeting and everyone said ‘you’re supposed to be dead’. I had no idea what they were talking about.”
McCarthy turns 71 this year and said he still loved going to the speedway.
“When I was a young lad I would watch hot rods at speedways around Melbourne,” he said.
“When I moved to Warrnambool, I went to watch them at the racecourse and then out at Allansford. They asked me one night if I would be interested in doing some volunteer work and I’ve been involved since.”
For pit parking co-ordinator Michael Aberline, the recognition was unexpected.
“I don’t think I’ve been here long enough. I was a bit blown away by it actually,” he said.
Aberline has been officially involved with the club for “about 20 years” but has been following speedway all his life.
“I remember walking to the racecourse from home in Foster Street through the park as a kid and I remember the first meeting out at Allansford,” he said.
“But it was when I was doing a bit of sponsorship work out there that I got hooked on the behind-the-scenes stuff.”
Aberline has held a variety of positions on the board and the vice-president’s role. He has been the pit parking co-ordinator for the past 10 years.
“I like meeting new people and like a challenge. The pit co-ordinator’s role fills both those,” he said.
“It’s a busy role. There’s been a few disagreements and I’ve had to lock the gate a couple of times, but we always sorted it out.
“One of the highlights has been the three-night (Grand Annual Sprintcar) Classic this year. I’ve been a big supporter of the three-night concept for years, so it was good to see it finally come to fruition.
“It was busy in the pits this year. I worked for about a month trying to sort it all out.”
For track commentator Wayne Beames, the highlight of his time has been working with “some of the best commentators in the country”.
“People like Charlie Burleigh, Stewart Owen, Wade Aunger and Gavin Whyte, also working with Johnny Gibson from the United States,” he said.
“I’ve been going since I was a kid. Dad used to take me along.
“I started calling the bikes in 1981 and in 1996 started calling sprintcars. I just love the speedway, it doesn’t matter what class, I just love it all.”
Beames said one of his highlights was the 1999 Classic where Garry Brazier nearly made up a full lap on the field, only to be narrowly beaten by Brooke Tatnell.
“Trevor Green’s day Classic was another highlight and seeing Jamie Veal finish third this year was really special. I’ve known him since he was a baby so it was great to see him have such a great season.”