Glen McArthur’s vow to honour the memory of best mate, Anthony Rees, will be realised on Saturday when he rolls out in a custom-built, tribute car at the Gunnedah Speedway.
He reckoned Rees, who was killed in a car crash near Tamworth in June, will be smiling from the heavens at the sight of his mug plastered on the fender bender entry which features Anthony’s number 13 car number.
“Anthony would be rapt to see the car,” McArthur said.
“He and I did a lot of racing together so it will be good to sit in the seat where he would normally be and drive it for him.
“Hopefully he’s looking down on us on Saturday night and we will go really well.”
It was a promise made by McArthur and Rees brother David at the funeral, to one day build and race a car in honour of the bloke they affectionately called “Shorty”.
To see the car finally up and running, gleaming in the late afternoon sun, was a “proud moment” for them both, David said.
Fittingly, this weekend’s fender bender division, which at last count had fielded 12 race entries, has been dubbed the Anthony Rees Memorial.
As a friend, Anthony was as loyal as they come and always willing to lend a hand to a mate in need.
It was this generosity and “all the good times” that McArthur remembered most about Anthony.
“He was the sort of bloke that would have given you the shirt off his back,” he said.
“There were days when we lived down the coast and I’d ring him up and say I needed a lift back to Gunnedah – he didn’t ask where or what time, he was just there, bang, instantly.
“He was the only mate who I could rely on and trust to always be there.
“He was great with the kids too, it was always Uncle Shorty.”
An 18-year member of the speedway club, Anthony was well travelled in many race categories – from street stockers, four cylinders and of course, the fender benders.
“He gave a fair number of the divisions a run,” McArthur said.
But despite Anthony’s best efforts, the cars could never quite keep track with his competitive edge.
“He had a couple of times when he went really well, it’s just the old motors didn’t keep up with him,” he said.
“He just could not get that motor right.”
McArthur is racing only one car in one event this weekend and he’s hoping it all comes together on Saturday night.
So what would it mean for this driver to collect a win in the inaugural Rees memorial event?
“It would be terrific... it would be a long couple of days of celebration I can tell you that,” he said.
In addition to the metre-high perpetual trophy organised for the event, $500 in prizemoney has been organised thanks to Steve Trainer Electrical and Kevin Cunningham Automotive.
Anthony’s family of Ellen, Wayne, Lynette, Barry and David thanked Glen for his tireless efforts to get the tribute car ready for race day.