WITHOUT its army of volunteers Premier Speedway would not hold up its reputation as one of Australia's top speedways.
And for Darcy Stuart that role is a labour of love and he is just one the silent workers who help ensure the club stays at the forefront of innovation and fan engagement in the speedway community.
The Geelong-based computer programmer joined the club as a volunteer in 1999 and has remained an integral part of the team that helps deliver some of the biggest speedway events in Australia.
"I was brought on by my next door neighbour Alan (O'Connor), who was one of the board members at the time, and they wanted to bring some big screens in at the speedway which was a big, white screen with a projector on a big stick," Stuart recalls.
"Anne Anderson was doing it at the time and they needed someone to put the grids up and he knew I was handy with computers so he asked if I was interested."
From that season the now 35-year-old, who is preparing to help the 48th Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic run smoothly, has continued to create the grid slides that are projected around the stadium.
"Obviously it has changed in the time and we now use PowerPoint slides to put the grids up through the complex and on the big screens," he said.
"So at the start of the night there's a bit of entry to register all the drivers and some smarts so when I'm putting in the grids it automatically fills in their name when laying out the slides so it looks nice on the screen."
Stuart's official role at Premier Speedway is video incident recorder but he has taken on a number of other jobs.
The father-of-two, who's first meet as a volunteer was the 2000 Classic, is part of the social media team which helps engage with fans at the track or wherever they are tuning in from.
"I think we do quite a good job (with social media) and in Australia there seems to be some (speedways) that do it and some that don't and I like to think we are one of the better ones," Stuart said.
"We try to engage with the fans on social media and make sure there is a lot of content up there on race night to add another element to it so people get a look at behind the scenes of it as well.
"It's good for the American spectators too as they get just what's on the video stream so being able to see what is happening around the complex is good for them too."
Stuart's main role has also changed over the time.
"My role is the incident recorder so making sure we have the footage of rollovers or on-track incidents so we can replay them for the officials," he said.
"A few years ago we put a few TVs around so the corporate boxes could see what was going on and it's gone from there and make it a bit of a value add.
"We now push the feed out to all the corporate boxes on the Allansford side and the sponsors box in the broadcast tower and down in the pits.
"It's just another way of letting people throughout the stadium see what is going on."
Stuart has seen the evolution of Premier Speedway unfold from his little box next to the V.I.P room in the grandstand on the Allansford side of the track.
"At the start it was all desktop computers around the place and since then we have put more computers and screes around the complex," he said.
"We have also put some timing systems and stuff up near the pits so they can see what is going on down there."
The former Warrnambool resident, who grew up in the south-west coastal city before moving to Ballarat in 2003 and Geelong in 2016, said organisation was key to ensuring his nights run smoothly.
"It's mainly for the bigger shows like World Series (Sprintcars), Easter Trail, Eureka Series and the classic," he says.
"The classic is the biggest preparation one because we have such a small turnaround for events so you have to have everything set up beforehand so as soon as you get the grids you can throw them in and they are ready to go on the big screen.
"It's usually a super rods heat before a sprintcars heat (that messes him up) so you have a couple of minutes to get them ready. Having that stuff ready is always a big help.
"It looks like chaos (in his box) but I have been doing it for that long that it's second nature.
"It only stresses me out if we are running a bit tight for time with getting grids ready. That is usually only the first heat and after that it goes pretty well and it's just about getting tasks done when they need to be done."
Stuart is happy to admit that he is just a small cog in the bigger wheel that keeps Premier Speedway running.
"Everything in the club is a group effort," he says. "Everything is always discussed beforehand. Paul Hose basically set up the cabling we use nowadays and before him it was Graeme Hose.
"Like everything is a team effort - even the social media is a group of three who do bits and pieces.
"My incident reply is solely me, the social media is a shared thing, the grid entry and set up is me but if I wasn't doing my bit then someone else would be missing out on something and if they weren't doing their bit I would be missing out on something. It all sort of comes around."
Stuart says the work he does with the club is a labour of love.
"I love it and if I could do it as my full time job I would. For me it's nice to contribute to something that has given me so much enjoyment," he said.
I love it and if I could do it as my full time job I would... it's nice to contribute to something that has given me so much enjoymentDarcy Stuart
"Everyone gets hyped for the (Grand Annual Sprintcar) Classic obviously but it's all enjoyable to me, it's my hobby.
"I love going to the speedway and doing all this stuff and hanging out with people who love the sport as well."
Speedway and motorsport, especially Formula 1 and V8 Supercars, have been one of Stuart's biggest passions for as long as he can remember.
"Dad (Leon) used to take me to the speedway when I was about five or six and we would sit up in the grandstand as we had a couple of seats there," Stuart recalls.
"He was always alternating between me and my brother (Aiden) and my brother didn't have the same level of interest I had so I ended up winning out and getting to go every week."
The excitement speedway generates is what drew a young Stuart in and is what helps draw the computer programmer back to the Allansford stadium every year.
"The speed and skill of the drivers is amazing and it's just an entertaining sport to watch, there is always something going on," the 35-year-old said.
"There are cult heroes and the commentators hype up guys like Max (Dumsney) and as a kid you get on board with them and want them to do well and keeps your interest during racing. It's sort of gone from there."
In his 21 seasons Stuart has seen many big moments happen on the in-field of Premier Speedway.
He has seen 16 classic champions crowned, countless races, laps and crashes but only once has he been out to where the action transpires.
And that has become one of his fondest memories of his time with the club.
"A couple of years ago they took me out in a push truck during one of the nights of the classic," he said.
"That was the first time I had been on the infield in 15-16 years being at the club that was a big experience for me. That was amazing.
"Aside from that it's just nice going out there catching up with guys I have been working with for years and love the sport just as much as me.
"I walk in and we talk about who is looking good for racing and how you think track will go and every meet is always interesting and fun."
Stuart hopes to stay part of the army of volunteers for as long as he can.
"As long as I'm enjoying it why would I stop?" he said.
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