After nearly thirty years heading up Australia’s largest and most successful sport compact drag racing festival, Garrett Jamboree co-founder Ray Box, recently announced his retirement from the Jamboree.
Intrinsically linked to the growth and success of the small-engine drag racing scene in Australia, there are simply too many Jamboree milestones to list. But ever since that loose collection of Volkswagen enthusiasts got together to create the first event back in 1991, Ray Box and the Jamboree crew have gone on to build something truly world class with Collin Willshire joining in 2015 taking the event series to the next level again.
The 2018 Garrett Brisbane Jamboree marked Ray’s 50th sport compact event and in his stellar run promoting this iconic festival. Despite his myriad of achievements, Box remains humble about the status of the event, and offered the following thoughts.
“Jamboree is recognised as the longest running independent drag racing event in the southern hemisphere. That’s an achievement in its own right, I suppose. It’s probably the best-known sport compact show outside of the USA, and it’s still quite flattering that race teams and fans from around the world aspire to come here and compete.”
“It’s great to have come on this journey with so many racers and their families, and it’s heartening to see the next generation of racers now making their mark in the drag racing world. Likewise, it’s encouraging to see some of the businesses who have stuck with the event over the years still attending, sponsoring, and exhibiting at Jamboree. Many of them have grown just as the sport and the event has grown, and I think it’s relationships like these that are vital to any event.”
According to Ray, the best is still yet to come for Jamboree with Collin Willshire taking over as sole Director of Jamboree Australia Pty Ltd.
“I believe the future for the sport compact scene is very bright and is still growing. Performances are on world record pace, and new racers and sponsors are joining all the time. Collin Willshire has been part of Jamboree as a competitor with his world class JETT Racing Team for 20 years and is now the sole director with great vision for the future of Jamboree Australia Pty Ltd. The colour and excitement that Collin brings to Jamboree is very evident already, and there is a lot more to come.
For me, the future involves slowing down and focusing on my health, family and other business interests. I’m 52 now, and I’ve been running Jamboree for more than half of my life. Retirement is going to be weird, that’s for sure.”
Ray is quick to add that it is the people that set Jamboree apart and offered a special thank you to the most important people in his life. “I’d like to thank my family who have supported myself and the Jamboree through thick and thin from day one. Jamboree wouldn’t be where it is today without you. My wife Maxine’s support is second to none. My two daughters, Paige and Jazz, have grown up with Jamboree being a standard part of their lives, much to their displeasure some of the time. Special thanks must also go out to my original business partner, Mark Stanbury and his family, Lex Cowley, my right hand for the past 13 years Billy Fea, as well as all of the crew, volunteers and staff over the years that have been there for me. Special thanks must also go out to our sponsors, racers and venues who have supported the Jamboree and myself over the years.”
“The Jamboree event is poised to continue long into the future and I’d like to wish Collin Willshire and his team every success.”