New South Wales ANDRA volunteer Aaron Brookes has been announced as the Gallagher Volunteer of the Year for the 2017/2018 season.
As the recipient of the award, sponsored by insurance, risk management and consulting firm Gallagher, Brookes will receive a trip to the ANDRA drag racing event of his choice this coming season.
Brookes has been an ANDRA steward for 13 years and currently serves as Chief Steward for NSW as well as a valued member of the National Rules Committee and NSW Division Council.
Renee Morris, ANDRA’s Account Manager at Gallagher, expressed how thrilled the company is to support both this award and the drag racing community.
“At Gallagher we support one another and the communities where we live and work. Volunteering is the bedrock of not only drag racing, but of all sport and community activity throughout our country,” Morris said.
“Aaron has applied his skills and knowledge to guiding and helping the current regional venues in NSW while providing assistance with proposed future venues for the state.
“The Gallagher Way is all about doing your personal best to serve others, just like drag racing’s tireless volunteers do every week. Aaron’s community spirit, know-how, passion and work ethic are undeniable, and we would like to thank him and congratulate him on his receiving of this well-deserved award.”
For Brookes, whose ‘day job’ sees him working with performance parts company VPW, the passion for drag racing has been bubbling since before he could even roll over.
“The joke in my family is that my first race meeting came when I was just two weeks old, asleep in a pram, but really I had been there since before I was even born – you see, we lived on the same street as (top fuel pilot) Bob Shepherd and my mum was a real petrol head, as was my dad,” laughed the 38-year-old.
“We were always around some form of motorsport even when we moved up to Queensland, and when I got my licence, it just went from there – I started with a turbo-charged Sigma at off-street and Jamboree-style events before moving into some Super Sedan and Street class racing.
“When the car got stolen, I couldn’t afford to replace it, so I just hung around and helped people out and enjoyed the sport. A move to Sydney for a new job came in 2000, and with no drag strip I was just hanging around at Eastern Creek’s Wednesday night street meets.
“When Sydney Dragway opened, you couldn’t keep me away. Being there for virtually every race event with a friend of mine, eventually he said we should find out if they need any officials and I guess the rest is history. I have to thank ‘Kiwi Mike’ for making that suggestion 13 years ago, and all of the racers, ANDRA and track officials that have helped me along the way, as well as my wife and son for putting up with me not being home a lot!”
“I have been volunteering for 13 years now, and I have met and continue to meet some great people and see some great places. Between the people and the cars there is always something different and always something new to learn, and I am looking forward to continuing to volunteer into the future.
“I will be coming back to racing myself soon too – I am currently building a Mitsubishi Starion with 4G63 for X235/Super Sedan. With a second baby on the way, I am trying very hard to be finished soon before the baby comes!”
Brookes will be presented with his Gallagher Volunteer of the Year Award at an upcoming event of the 2018/2019 ANDRA drag racing season.