Dr Jen Coleman may have only been a Motorsport Australia official for the past 18 months, but it’s been an experience she has cherished every minute of.
A happy member of Team Medical Australia (TMA), the Newcastle native has volunteered at some of the biggest events in the country, including rounds of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.
Her love affair with the sport began when she was growing up supporting her father, who was an avid racer himself, but it wasn’t until she got her license and started driving that she knew she wanted to get involved in motorsport herself.
It was always going to be difficult for the health professional to get into the sport, especially with her previous places of employment needing her to ply her trade on weekends, and soon enough, motorsport became just pipedream.
However, a switch from sports medicine to the emergency room opened up Dr Coleman’s schedule, allowing the passionate vintage car enthusiast to finally join the TMA ranks and volunteer at motorsport events.
“It all started when I met another doctor who volunteered for TMA around five years ago. He inspired me to get involved, but working as an Orthopaedic registrar and then moving into sports medicine, along with the fact there isn’t too many events close to Newcastle, made it really hard,’ Coleman said.
“Back in 2018, the change of job finally gave me some free time and I signed up as soon as I could. My first event was the Sandown Historics and I have since done a few Supercars rounds and the Formula 1, as well as training the Vietnamese for their Grand Prix.
“I really love being an official. I have been interested in cars for a long time and volunteering with TMA combines both my passion for cars and healthcare. I also get along with many of the officials at each event, because we are all there with a common interest, meaning we hit it off instantly.
“While the original Sandown Historics tipped me over the edge and inspired me to buy my own historic car, a 1970 corvette stingray, I would say the best memory I have so far was doing the Asian Le Mans series at The Bend Motorsport Park earlier this year.
“It was cool to see cars that have never raced in Australia before, but it was the professionalism of everyone involved that made it special, because the event’s international medical director revealed she had never felt so relaxed at an event as she could see we knew what we were doing.
“Those comments reflect so much on TMA, as well as the training from Brent May and the rest of the senior guys. It also highlights the professionalism everyone brings to a volunteer role.”
Like many of her fellow TMA colleagues, Coleman has spent the last few months on the front line battling against the COVID-19 pandemic, with the GP working in a hospital emergency department.
As someone who has seen the dangers of the virus first-hand, Coleman believed the Australian public had done a fantastic job in keeping it at bay.
“I think Australia has been really lucky from a couple of perspectives because we never reached the numbers our modelling suggested we could have,” Coleman added.
“The biggest problem in the lead up was the anxiety and fear of the unknown. We had seen all these horrible images from overseas and weren’t sure if we were capable to manage. But as doctors, we had simulation training for those situations and prepped for weeks in advance so it made us more relaxed.
“The community were also very good with adhering to the measures put in place, including social distancing, international travel bans, isolation and quarantining. It all had a positive effect on the numbers.
“We are not out of the woods yet. We are in a very good position at the moment, but we probably had less than 10 per cent of the population exposed.
If it does start to creep up, there are still a lot of people out there that need to be careful. It’s not something we can stop thinking about just yet.”