After more than 50 years of contribution to speedway racing, Shepparton enthusiast Barry Myers has waved his last flag and hung up his helmet for the last time.
Barry announced his retirement from speedway at the Goulburn Valley Auto Club’s presentation night at Bendigo last Saturday night.
He was the inaugural president and the driving force behind the establishment of the GV Auto Club in August 1966, when he called a meeting of a little group of hot rod racers to form the club.
From that time to the present day, Barry together with his wife Evelyn has worked tirelessly in a variety of positions for the betterment of the sport in the Goulburn Valley.
The club honoured Barry with a presentation certificate celebrating his speedway career, and presented him and Evelyn with a ‘‘gold pass’’, ensuring them free entry to Rushworth Speedway forever.
In a brief speech, Barry said that of the three founding members of the club, he was the only one remaining, and commented on the progress in the past 51 years.
‘‘I am bloody proud to be part of this club,’’ he said.
Along the way, Barry has received many honours and recognition for his devotion to the sport.
This started with a life membership in the 1970s and at the club’s 40th anniversary, he was the first inductee to the Hall of Fame, to be immediately followed by his promotion to Legend status.
At the club’s 50th anniversary last year, Barry and Evelyn received 50-year gold medallions.
After starting his speedway racing career in the 1960s in a 1932 side valve hot rod called ‘‘Ramcharger’’, Barry progressed through a series of sedans including a shortened V8 Customline, with about 50cm cut out of the body, through to a Chev Camaro.
His main love though, was with the open wheeler super modifieds, where he earned several ‘‘number ones’’ for club and zone championships.
The pinnacle of Barry’s driving came in 1980 when he won the Victorian Sprintcar Championship.
With administrative capabilities stretching well beyond driving, Barry was club president for five years up until 1970 and since then it has only been on rare occasions when he was not on the club committee.
Add to this other duties such as chief steward, starter and clerk of course, there are few tasks he has not done.
It is an interesting fact that in view of Barry’s multiple talents, the GV Auto Club has seen fit to issue Barry with an identification tag that simply reads ‘‘GOD — Does everything’’.
When asked how the title of GOD came about, Barry inevitably responds: ‘‘We’ve both been around for about the same length of time.’’
Barry has also been at the forefront of committees that have organised club’s 40th and 50th anniversary events, and also the ‘‘Good old days’’ speedway reunion in 2013, involving drivers from across the Goulburn Valley, North East and Riverina areas.
For four years in the 1970s, he was also co-promoter of Rushworth Speedway as a founding member of the Waranga Promotions group.
Several members of Barry’s family have been actively involved with speedway, with Evelyn a long-serving member from early canteen work and fundraising on the ladies committee, through to lap scorer and working on the entry gate.
Son Dennis Myers followed his father into open wheel racing, and has achieved multiple Australian and Victorian championships in Grand Prix Midgets.
Daughter Katherine is indispensable to the club, running the lap scoring computer on race days.
Still an active member of the club, Barry was an accomplished pilot, travelling frequently around Australia with Evelyn in his own plane before giving up the skies in favour of a 4WD and caravan, with which they plan to spend more time travelling and exploring our country at ground level.