When the engines roar into action at this weekend's South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic, one of its biggest fans will be missing from the stands.
Warrnambool's Chris Gillin will miss his first Classic in 23 consecutive years due to the risk increased number of COVID-19 cases pose to his health.
Mr Gillin has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease, and said if he was to contract COVID-19 there was a strong chance it would kill him.
"It would be very hard for me to fight off," Mr Gillin said. "I'd more than likely need to be in ICU or most likely, death."
The 30-year-old said while he was disappointed he couldn't attend the event, his health and safety came first.
Mr Gillin usually attends with his dad Ashley, who introduced him to the sport, and said it's an activity the pair enjoyed watching together and meant a lot to him.
They would normally attend all three days of racing.
"It's the biggest and best sprintcar race in Australia," he said. "I just enjoy everything about speedway. The cars, the speed, the smell, the atmosphere and even the clay."
Mr Gillin said he had mates who raced and he enjoyed watching them compete.
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"It's also cool to see our Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Warrnambool stickers on some of the cars that help us spread awareness of muscular dystrophy and support The Gillin Boys Foundation Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Warrnambool and our fight for a cure," he said.
The pair will watch a live stream of the classic from home. They will be cheering on Gillin Boys Foundation ambassadors and drivers Brock Hallett, Corey McCullagh and James McFadden.
He said they'd also be keenly watching the drivers wearing the foundation's trademark green shoe laces or with awareness stickers on their cars.
Mr Gillin and his brother Aaron, who also had the condition, started Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Warrnambool in 2016 to raise money and awareness. Sadly Aaron lost his battle in 2017, aged 24. It became a registered foundation in 2020.
Mr Gillin said the past two years had been challenging with the pandemic forcing the family to stay at home, only leaving for very important family or friends' events.
His mum Mandy has isolated herself at home to care for him and dad Ashley only leaves to go to work.
"It's been tough limiting visitors and not catching up with people we really care about," he said. "Even though it's been tough we have still been making sure we are positive and enjoying life."
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