PREMIER Speedway manager Michael Parry is preparing for his first South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic at the helm. The avid tennis player goes Under the Auld Pump with TIM AULD.
Born: Geelong on March 18, 1979.
Wife: Danielle. Children: Madison and Sienna.
Parents: Ken and Jenny. Sibling: Lisa
Education: Corio Primary School before going to Flinders Peak Secondary College Corio.
Sporting highlight: Playing doubles tennis for Lara in 2022 when it won the section one grand final.
Michael, I take it you must be a handy sort of tennis player to have played in a section one doubles grand final side. Is that a fair comment?
I would say I've played a lot of tennis and really enjoyed it but I'm not prepared to say how good or bad I've been.
I started playing competition tennis in junior grades when was 11 years-old, so you can see I've played a lot of tennis.
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Is there a lot of tennis played around the Geelong area?
Yes. There are a lot of clubs with junior and senior sides in Geelong.
For example there were eight senior sides in one section and there were 15 sections.
From the age I've 18 I was playing in the senior tennis competitions of tennis.
The funny thing about tennis in Geelong is the sport is played in winter and summer with the majority of tennis played outside even in the winter months.
I would have been 20 years of age and had a 10-year break from tennis while I focused on all things speedway.
I've only been back playing tennis for about the past five to six years but I haven't played much tennis since I was appointed the general manager of Warrnambool's Premier Speedway back in June last year.
It's been an extremely busy time getting things in readiness for the (Grand Annual Sprintcar) Classic.
I aim to get back playing tennis on a regular basis once things have quietened down work-wise at the speedway.
Michael, I would take it with your love for tennis that you would be keeping a close eye at nigh of how things are progressing at the Australian Open. Did you get to the open much over the years?
I've got fond memories of catching the train from Geelong to go to the Australian Open as a youngster.
I used to find it amazing just to sit there and watch the best tennis players in the world playing the game.
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They get huge crowds to the event. It's just like everyone is a tennis expert for a few weeks.
I've watched a few of the games at night time this year and once again it is building up to an amazing finale.
Before you moved to Warrnambool to take up the general manager job at Premier Speedway, what line of work were you in?
I worked for Haymes Paint for 25 years in various jobs.
I started out working in the retail section of the Geelong store before going into a sales role which saw me travel to places like Apollo Bay, Timboon and Colac.
I was then appointed product manger for Haymes Paints.
It was a very diverse job which I had in the end but I loved it. I had a wonderful time working for Haymes.
They were a great company to work for but in the end I was looking for fresh challenges and the job came up at Premier Speedway so I took it.
Michael, had you been looking around for another job when the Premier Speedway one came up?
I was casually looking because I thought I has been at Haymes for 25 years. I was just looking to start the next chapter in my life.
The job at Premier Speedway ticked so many boxes for me because I've been passionate about speedway since I was a youngster.
How did your love for speedway come about?
I would have been five years old when I started going to the Avalon Speedway.
My dad Ken used to work on the admittance gate for competitors at Avalon.
Ken held that job for years. I just tagged along on Saturday nights.
It was like a real bonding thing between father and son.
My earliest memories of the speedway are the noise, crowds, bright lights and excitement.
A job came up when I was 19 at the pit gate at Avalon and I jumped at the chance to get involved.
I also sold programs for a few years at the various Avalon events.
I was really hooked on the sport.
My involvement in speedway went to another level when I was 17 years old and I purchased a street stock car for $1200.
The adrenaline getting out there driving the car was incredible.
The sport just got into my blood.
I drove at Simpson, Avalon, Warrnambool and Hamilton.
My family made the trip to Warrnambool to attend Premier Speedway and in particular the classic for years and years. It was a family tradition and it still happens to this day.
How are the preparations leading into the 50th South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic finale on Sunday night?
It's been a hectic time. There's a lot of pressure on us to deliver a great event and we've got our fingers crossed it will all go well.
It's the 50th classic which in itself is a remarkable achievement and we want to make this a memorable event for fans and everyone who attends.
Has it surprised you how big the event is now you're inside and organising it?
In a lot of ways it has. I've always know it was big event but once your there as the general manager you soon realise there's so many moving parts which make it work.
The wonderful support we receive from our sponsors - whether they are locals or from away - is amazing and of course I can't forget our volunteers.
They are the heart-and-soul of Premier Speedway.
Our passionate volunteers are putting in countless hours ensuring everything is in readiness for the 50th running of the classic.
The volunteers are so proud of the event and the venue.
It's just great to be involved in the second-largest sporting event in the south-west with so many great people who are all passionate about the sport.
The 50th classic runs at Premier Speedway from Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29.
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