The love of motorsport often runs in the family, especially when it comes to volunteering at events.
In many cases, a whole family will often go to a race meeting and spend the weekend together as officials.
It’s no different for the Thompson family from Palmerstone in Darwin with Gavin, Karina and their two daughters Montana and Jorja avid members of the North Australian Motorsport Club (NAMC).
The family of four are heavily involved with the club and attend almost every one of its events throughout the year – each with a specific role to play, whether it be in race control, the timing centre or trackside.
However one key detail that sets the Thompson family apart is the two State Official of the Year recipients in the one family – both of which named at this year’s Motorsport Australia Northern Territory State Awards Dinner, presented by Burson Auto Parts.
For his work as a Clerk of Course, Gavin was named as the 2019 Official of the Year, while Jorja took out the Junior Official of the Year award during the gala dinner.
For Gavin, it was an honour to share the spotlight with his youngest daughter, who was just as passionate.
“It was a bit of surprise to be honest because NAMC is a small club. To win was a humbling experience because I just really enjoy being an official,” Gavin said.
“It was an honour to win and fantastic Jorja picked up an award too. I was so proud of her. It shows how hard the four of us work. Without fail, we’re all at the track from 7am running until the chequered flag of the final rice.
“There was a bit of banter in the household after the ceremony, probably more so from Jorja than myself. Looking back on it now, I feel that these awards represent my whole team.
“You’re just as good as the people around you and if you don’t have the right team under you, you can’t do the job properly. We have a small team here but they are all dedicated, so I would like to thank all of NAMC on top of my family for their efforts at every meeting.”
Another unique element to Gavin’s story is how he got to where he is now.
Born in Victoria, the 46-year-old never had a profound interest in the sport, with his only involvement being via free tickets to Calder Park thanks to his brother or watching the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 with his father.
It wasn’t until he moved to Darwin in the 1990s where he begun to grow that interest, spurred on when a friend’s dad encouraged him to buy a second-hand Holden HQ.
Twenty-six years later and Gavin still has that same HQ Holden, which he will race during the NT titles and the BetEasy Darwin Triple Crown, flaunting his natural ability as a driver - making him a well rounded motorsport individual.
Through running club and state level events and competing at national events, Gavin has found a healthy balance in a hobby, which he shares with his family.
“I always had a small interest in motorsport but it wasn’t until I moved to Darwin that I joined and it wasn’t until I joined the competitive side of the sport that I became an official,” Gavin explained.
“I am not used to winning awards. I’ve won heaps of titles throughout the journey, but when you win an award like this, it’s a different type of feeling. It’s a good feeling.
“It’s different because it’s not something I worked hard to do or strived for like winning a race title, it’s more like recognition showing what I have been doing as an official is the right thing.
“It also further echoes how good it was with my daughter winning the award. I am passing on my knowledge down to my family and how to do things right and they’re learning the skills, which they will eventually pass down one day.”