Graeme Eberhard has racked up 30 years of volunteering at the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island in Victoria.
The event began in Australia back in 1989 at Phillip Island as the World 500cc Grand Prix. After two years, the racing moved to Eastern Creek Raceway, just outside of Sydney, for the next six years before returning to Phillip Island again in 1997. It has been held every year at Phillip Island ever since.
Graeme started as a track marshal in 1989 at Phillip Island, and over the years moved up the ranks until he was appointed chief marshal in 2011.
The chief marshal's main responsibility involves helping to place all the track, flag and radio marshals around the track and in their sectors. The chief marshal is also responsible for the safety and welfare of up to 250 marshals/volunteers throughout the three days of the event.
Varying conditions can make the job very high pressured and at times quite stressful.
“Occasionally, serious accidents can occur, and marshals are also required to do their jobs in all types of weather,” Eberhard said.
To achieve this senior position, Eberhard was required to be level four accredited through Motorcycling Australia, but because of the international status of the event, he gained FIM level five which is internationally recognised.
This accreditation has also assisted with his attendance and participation at international events. As of this event, Eberhard handed the reins of chief marshal over to a new senior marshal who has been in training with him for the last couple of years.
Along with Eberhard, six other senior marshals gained their 30 years of service, and were all presented with certificates at the barbecue on the Saturday night of the event.
As recognition for his 30 years, he was given the additional privilege of chauffeuring Australia's very own star, Jack Miller, for the drivers' parade lap!
At the same time as being chief marshal for the MotoGP event, he has also been chief marshal for the World Superbikes, which is also held at Phillip Island every year in February. As well as his 30 years at the MotoGP, he has also participated in the World Superbike events for 15 years.
Eberhard's experience with motorsport has not been limited to road racing. He has also worked at five Formula 1 events when they were held in Adelaide, one Clipsal 500, two World Motocross Championships which were held in Victoria and also the World Team's Championship in Western Australia.
He also travelled overseas to work at a World Motocross Championship in England and a World Sidecar Motocross Championship in Switzerland in 2013. Earlier this year he was invited to attend the MotoGP event held in Austin, Texas, where he was able to pass on his training skills to the American marshals.
Following the trip to America, he also travelled to the Italian MotoGP in Mugello and the World Superbikes in Brno, Czech Republic.
Eberhard has been a devoted member of the Crystal Brook Motorcycle Club for 44 years and is a life member. He has also volunteered for other clubs and organisations as a club/committee member including the Crystal Brook Hospital Board, Crystal Brook Cub Scouts, Crystal Brook CFS (in which he served 27 years and is a life member) and the Rocky River Lions Club (Gladstone).
Graeme is keen to encourage people to get involved and be a member of various clubs and organisations. The friends and connections he has made over the years has gone a long way to help him achieve some of his 'bucket list' dreams.