IT took a good mate to get Bevan Gerrard to join the Southland Sports Car Club.
Last week, 45 years on, he became a life member of the club at its annual meeting.
Originally from Winton and now based in Invercargill, Gerrard has been involved with the club after good mate Ray Galt initially got him involved almost half a century ago.
“Car trials were a big thing at the time, we had one a month and we did all right,” Gerrard said.
He also competed in rally-sprint and sprint events in a Ford Anglia he and Galt built up.
Rallying was another discipline in which he competed both as a driver and co-driver with Galt and another club stalwart, Rodger Cunninghame.
After he stopped competing, Gerrard became involved behind the scenes, firstly on crash crew duty before becoming chairman of the social committee.
“I don’t know how I managed to get that job,” he said with a laugh.
“We had all sorts of activities in those days.”
One tale told at the meeting related to a club working bee where Gerrard and Galt were tasked with building a brick wall.
After completing the job, they went upstairs into the clubrooms only to hear the wall fall over.
In his defence, Gerrard said, “it was blowing a gale at the time”.
Gerrard became a member of the race committee in 1991, working in timekeeping and lap scoring and becoming chief timekeeper.
Initially stopwatches were used but in 1997 timing became computerised and Gerrard had to become computer savvy.
Helping at the club became a family affair for the Gerrard family with Bevan’s wife Liz, who he met through Galt (Liz had gone to school with Galt’s wife), working in timing throughout the years while the couple’s children, Alice and Leon, both spent about 10 years working on the timing team at the circuit.
The family also worked together on the club’s rally events when Gerrard was the assistant clerk of the course.
“The whole family would head off to the start of stages to perform start line duties,” Liz said.
For the past nine years, Gerrard has been chairman of the race committee which involved planning and organising the many race meetings held at Teretonga Park.
“It was a role I said I would do for couple of years.”
On receipt of his Life Membership, Gerrard acknowledged the support of his family, particularly Liz, who had worked alongside him.
- Lindsay Beer is the Southland Sports Car Club publicity officer