As part of FIA Volunteers Weekend on 22-24 September, Motorsport Australia is celebrating the countless hours of passion and effort that thousands of officials and volunteers have put in at both the national, and grassroots level.
More than 9000 passionate officials volunteer their time every week, and act as the backbone of motorsport events across Australia.
From the FIA Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix to national-level circuit, rally and off-road events, through to the grassroots level – the commitment and dedication shown by our Motorsport Australia volunteers and officials is unmatched.
Ahead of FIA Volunteers Weekend, what better way to celebrate than to shed light on one of our many active, hard-working volunteers.
Victorian, Paul Meade recently completed back-to-back weekends as Chief Flag Marshal at the Shannons SpeedSeries and Supercars Championship rounds at Sandown.
The 55-year-old's most recent Sandown weekend marked 37 years since first volunteering, which was coincidentally the 1986 Sandown 500.
Meade would then volunteer as a Track Marshal and in Recovery until 1992, but would also be involved in club-level motorsport events through to 1999. He would then go on to join the Victorian Flagmarshalling Team in 2005.
During his time, Meade has had the privilege of working as a Sector Marshal at three Australian Grand Prix events, while also being hand-picked by Motorsport Australia to officiate at the inaugural Formula 1 Korean Grand Prix in 2010.
“I have been a Motorsport Australia volunteer since the 1986 Sandown 500, an old work friend was showing me all his photos and told me what he did,” Meade said.
“I thought this is a great way to see the racing, I had no idea how close to the action you were, and I was immediately hooked.
“After a short period of time, I joined the recovery team for five years. There were then opportunities to do more with club-level motorsport until I decided to join the Victorian Flagmarshalling Team in 1995, and I've never looked back since.
“Now being able to train and mentor the new members who want to work trackside gives me great satisfaction.
“These people are the future of the sport, and giving them the knowledge to take over from us in the future is so important.
“I know that what we do is not a given, it's a privilege. To be given the opportunity by my peers to be a Chief at the second biggest event in Victoria, it makes me feel not only proud of myself but also the amazing work done by the teams.
“If you don't have the budget to go racing and if you're just interested in all categories in motorsport, becoming a volunteer official would be perfect for you.
“As long as you have the enthusiasm and want the best seat in the house, contact Motorsport Australia and find an official group that you can get involved in. There are so many avenues to go down to get to the discipline you wish to follow. You won't regret it.
“Not only do you get great experiences like I have, but also plenty of memories and friendships made along the way.”
Here are some tips to get involved with FIA Volunteers Weekend:
Spread the word: Share photos and stories using #FIAVolunteersWeekend on social media.
Send us your photo or stories: With some 9000 Motorsport Australia officials, there’s plenty of unique motorsport stories waiting to be told. If you’re happy to tell Motorsport Australia your story with some text and images, email us on [email protected]