The Gympie Times goes One on One with Gympie Saloon Car Club’s Allan Jennings.
The Gympie Times goes One on One with Gympie Saloon Car Club’s Allan Jennings. Renee Pilcher

Speedway drives the Jennings family

GYMPIE Times has a one-on-one chat with Gympie Saloon Car Club life member about the old and new at the track.

Q. Welcome to one on one, Allan. You're Gympie Saloon Car Club president now but for how long have you been a part of Gympie's racing industry?

A. For as long as I can remember.

My dad was a founding member of the Gympie Saloon Car Club.

I can remember going to the club's Christmas parties when I was young and being at the track when I was 10 years old.

Q. When did you first get behind the wheel and race?

A. I first raced in 1979.

Q. Can you remember the car you were in?

A. It was an LJ Torana.

Q. For how long did your racing career go?

A. Around 1989 when my daughter Tegan was born.

Q. What did you do after you slowed your racing career down?

A. I stepped back and started as a steward and in 1999 I became club president.

I stood back from being president from 2005 to 2006 and then went back to it.

Q. What takes up your time at the track these days?

A. My kids Tegan and Brad race now.

They take up a lot of my time, looking after and fixing their cars.

My partner Selina English races too.

I try to give the kids tips on racing - they don't listen, but I try!

Q. What does it feel like when you get a chance to have a drive on the track or a race?

A. I've had a couple of drives in the kids' cars recently and it's awesome.

Racing is invigorating.

Q. What keeps you motivated and dedicated after so many years at the club?

A. I grew up there, so it's part of my life.

I don't know what I'd do without being a part of it.

I love the sport and the people. It's a country club with a country atmosphere.

There are a few people that are dedicated to the club and I couldn't do without them, they often work harder than me at the club.

Q. So you're not over racing then?

A. No, I'll do it until I have no choice but to stop.

Q. You're a newly named life member of the club, how does it feel to have your years of contribution acknowledged in such a way?

A. It's re-enthused me.

I'm extremely proud of being a life member.

Q. What have you seen change in the racing industry?

A. Well, 30 or 40 years ago it was just something for fun.

Now, it's very, very competitive and professional.

Cars are more technical, there was a lot less performance equipment years ago.

In the old days if the car didn't perform, you drove it differently, now it's more technical.

Q. Do you hope your kids still have fun even in a competitive atmosphere?

A. I hope my kids have fun, I want them to do it because they want to, not because they have to.

Q. Do you get nervous before your kids gear up to win a race?

A. Every single time, probably more than them.

My dad said when you don't get nervous it's time to give it away.

They are about to go into racing modified production cars, which to me is highest class. I'll be right behind them all the way.

Player profile

Name: Allan Jennings

Age: 50

Born: Gympie

Favourite food: Steak and chips

Favourite TV program: Star Trek

Favourite music: Country

Sport you would play if not racing: One day I want to buy a boat and go fishing.

Memorable moment in sport: Coming third in the 1985 State Super Sedan Titles.