Located five hours from Perth in the popular Albany region, the WA Club Great Southern Street Machine Association has prided themselves on being a family friendly club.
Click here for more information on the club.
Motorsport.org.au caught up with the club's event secretary, Christine Sargent, to discuss everything to do with the WA Club Great Southern Street Machine Association.
Tell us about the club’s establishment?
The club was established in 1984, but the formation wasn’t anything spectacular. It was just a bunch of people with some done-up cars having regular catch ups under a big pine tree in Middleton Beach. As time went on, more people began to join in and from there, they decided to make it if official.
It’s been more than 30 years since the original members met under the pine tree, where is the club at now?
We have over 100 members now and we are a family-oriented club. We try to involve the whole family. So husbands, wives and their kids make up the general population. There isn’t a specific criteria of people involved, giving us a diverse range of members. From people who want to do motorsport events to people who just want to be officials. Anyone can join, even if they don’t have a car. They are all welcome.
So the club is in a good position at the moment.
We sure are. Of course, we would like more members but we’re satisfied with what we have. We go on cruises and try to keep everybody happy. Not everyone is going to do everything. People are interested in different disciplines so appeasing them is one thing we really focus on.
We’ve also seen a rise of female participation, which I think is quite pleasing. The younger members are female mechanics and want to get involved with motorsport. It’s really good to see young members join.
Outside of being a family-friendly environment, what else does the club focus on?
Our annual ‘Show and Shine’ display is the biggest event we hold. That takes place in September and it’s just getting bigger and bigger. Our most recent one was really good because we had heaps of people from the club involved in putting it on. We are also getting more people trained as Motorsport Australia officials, which has had a significant increase of interest over the past 12 months.
We have also purchased a HQ race car for members to use in grass roots motorsport, as well as a runing a special workshop on Wednesdays where members would come a long to work on the car. We do a lot of community work too, including an auction for a VH wagon restoration at the Show & Shine. The proceeds went to the local charity, Give me Five Kids.
In addition to those activities, our main competitions are speed events, hill climbs and sprints.
Tell us more about the Show and Shine?
It’s been going for 25 years now, so almost as long as the club has been around. We get people from all over the state coming as well. Starting the Show and Shine off on the Saturday is some sort of speed event, before a super cruise travels to different parts of Albany.
We get a lot of clubs from Perth coming down and we also incorporate our local clubs. From karting, speedway and those from the Albany Classic. We have two pavilions at the event where there is lots of entertainment for children and there is always heaps of food options. It’s just a really community focused event, which we believe is the one of the biggest in the region. The event takes us about 12 months to organise. Hopefully the restrictions get lifted soon so we can still run it later this year.
You mentioned earlier about the big interest of members becoming officials - what else are some of the benefits of being with Motorsport Australia?
It’s quite beneficial to be associated with Motorsport Australia. I am not sure exactly when we became affiliated but I know we have been for a long time. It gives us that security knowing there is somebody to help us out when we need.
We are fairly new in the motorsport side of things. So it’s just good to be aware of what we can do. There are many people there who also help us out with organising training for officials.
Finally, have you got much planned when racing does return?
Our Show and Shine is our main concern. We were also due to do state hill climbs and sprints but that has now been amended as all of the local regions are still blocked off. If some of the restrictions do get lifted, we may be able to run these events but at a smaller capacity.
With the current situation, we have tried to be proactive and since our club can’t do any casual drives, we are trying contactless cars and coffees displays. This is basically where club members park their cars at different locations and the public can have a look. Nobody gets out of their car, which keeps the social distancing policies in tact. The City of Albany is on the board and is supporting us.
It’s good for the cars too because just like us oldies, they need to have some movement. We’re also trying to keep members engaged doing virtual meetings and having members send us updates on their cars.