Rebecca McLaughlin was recently celebrated as part of a select group of Gallagher Volunteer of the Year award recipients.
McLaughlin is a valued member of the Central Queensland Drag Racing Association (CQDRA).
“It was definitely a surprise to receive the Gallagher Volunteer of the Year Award; it is a great honour to represent our club in this way,” McLaughlin said.
“It means a lot to know that the years of volunteering I have done for our club at Benaraby Dragway is appreciated this much.
“I would like to thank all of the committees that have put in a lot of time and effort to bring drag racing to our local area over the years.
“I would also like to thank the volunteers over the years who have helped at our track and stood with me – without them we couldn’t do what we do.
“Finally, I would also like to thank Benaraby Dragway for nominating me for this award., and the ANDRA staff for their support over the years with all of my enquiries and giving me the knowledge to grow through this sport.
“I love the fact that ANDRA helps bring this great motorsport to our door step at Benaraby. It gives our local motorsports enthusiasts a place to enjoy it – both racers and spectators. I have made many friends along my drag racing journey and hope it continues.”
McLaughlin has been part of the fabric at Benaraby Dragway for decades.
“I started volunteering at Benaraby Dragway more than 20 years ago after my father and sister joined. It had a great social atmosphere and racing, so I just wanted to go back every time,” said the 41-year-old from Gladstone.
“I was the Secretary of Benaraby Dragway for approximately 10 years and while I have stepped back from that role now, I still enjoy looking after the tower during race events.
“I started off doing jobs like helping in the canteen, distributing flyers, taking part in working bees, and fundraisers and working behind the scenes running around for supplies and so on.
“I then was taught how to run the race computer. This encouraged me look more into the rules and safety side of drag racing.
“I did this for many years and was able to teach others which allowed me to step back and do jobs like volunteering in the bar.
“As time went on, I ended up back in the tower and also the office and sometimes the scrutineering shed. I have also been known to help on the track when needed.
“I really enjoy working in the tower, it is a front row seat to watch the racing (when I get a moment to watch).
“I also like the interactions with racers and volunteers – I have always just wanted to help the racers, at a local place, have good competition and have fun doing it.”
While a huge fan of drag racing, McLaughlin sees her role as on the sidelines, rather than as a competitor.
“I have been in a couple of race cars throughout the years as a passenger and it surely was really fun and an eye opener to see and feel things from the driver’s point of view – but having said that, I have never wanted to do it for myself,” she explains.
“I love the noise of a supercharged outlaw, the flames of a nitro bike and top fuel dragster, the smell of the methanol. I can’t enjoy these things inside a vehicle.
“There have been many moments throughout the years that I hold dear, but I think the biggest stand out moment was seeing the smile and enjoyment on my son’s face when he was licencing at our last event for his Junior Bike licence. He had so much fun and can’t wait for the 2022 season to start so he can get back on the track.
“It makes me proud that another generation loves the sport and the track we worked so hard to get where it is today.”
Gallagher is the official insurance broker of the Australian National Drag Racing Association and offers competitive, no obligation quotes on everything from your race trailers, to your business, to your race track. For more than 90 years, Gallagher’s tailored insurance, risk management and consulting solutions have helped businesses, communities and people face their futures with confidence. For more information, visit www.ajg.com.au
To learn more about the Central Queensland Drag Racing Association, visit www.benarabydragway.com
For more from ANDRA, please visit www.andra.com.au