What a huge surprise tonight was. Well, for me anyway! Here I was thinking it was just going to be a quiet night at Shannons, chatting about upcoming stuff... how wrong I was.
The scheming that has gone on over months, now I find out, is quite amazing.
It was awesome to have two of the legends of Australian Motorsport, not to mention BMW Motorsport in Australia, come along to both surprise me on my birthday and to have an informal chat with members at our monthly meeting tonight.
Thank you Steve and Jim Richards for coming out tonight and the huge number of Members that came along to have some dinner, birthday cake and listen to the ever interesting exploits of Steve and Jim.
Anyone that knows me, knows I’m not one for making a fuss about myself, I do what I love and it makes me happy that so many of you enjoy what we do too. But to have a room packed with so many of you that I call friends, really does make me feel so special. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It really made my day today.
Of course there is one who always goes out of her way for others and the Club and I never thank her enough. My darling Jo, you really do spoil me. Another amazing night for me and the Club.
Thank you all that came and enjoyed the night, the birthday wishes and gifts, I am very humbled.
Graeme Bell | Member #1
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne
As many of you know, I organise most of the events. When looking at what I could do for the September members meeting, I noticed it fell on Graeme's birthday. So, I put my thinking cap on and thought I might see if Steve or Jim Richards were available on the night to be guest speakers (both Graeme’s idols).
Before checking with either of them, I had a call from David Ebeling, a club member, asking if we could possibly do something special for Graeme, maybe a birthday party or similar.. Great minds must think alike. David wanted to thank Graeme for all his hard work and dedication with putting our club together.
I told him of my initial plans and he thought that was great. After checking with the other committee members, they also agreed that to have a surprise birthday for Graeme and possibly guest speakers would be fantastic.
Next step was to contact both Jim and Steve, with fingers crossed, to see if they were available on the night. First call was Steve and he was delighted to come along. The next call was Jim and he too was free - so jackpot, we had them both!
Now how to advertise this event without Graeme finding out? With a few emails to Jess, we worked out a good way to promote the event, with me setting up a fake event to keep him in the dark and Jess sending out an email to all the members, letting them know what the real event was about.
Pretty much straight after the email was sent the registrations started rolling in.
We are very lucky to have a fantastic relationship with Shannons and they agreed to host the event in their board room and also provide supper for the evening.
I can tell you that keeping a surprise of this size from Graeme has been very hard and somehow we managed it. I had a couple of calls from both Jim and Steve Richards through the day and I thought we might have blown our cover but my skilful story telling convinced him that nothing was really happening.
Shaaron and Lawrence had also organised a cake and a card and were also in on the whole surprise.
Trying to get Graeme there late this time was proving hard as he packed up work early as he didn’t want to rush. Lucky for me Scott Muir needed a lift to the meeting and was stuck at Southland, so Graeme went off to get him, which allowed me to get there before hand and get organised.
The door to the lunchroom opened and in walked Graeme and Scott and he was stunned. He stood there for a moment and then we all sung happy birthday, the smile on his face was gold. He didn’t event see Steve and Jim!
Presents were given and pizzas and birthday cake eaten then shortly after, we all went into the board room to be entertained by both Steve and Jim with a night of story telling and laughter. Both of these men are champions of Australian legends and everyone there were very excited to listen to what they had to say.
Jim started by explaining how he got into racing and his very early days of wearing no race shoes at all and just a t-shirt and track pants, very little safety back in those day. Then it was back and forth between father and son, which was just very special to be part of. Their stories had real heart and soul and some of them were even a little curly.
The night rounded off at approximately 9.30pm and members all had a little one on one time with both Jim and Steve and they were so open and welcoming to everyone.
Graeme was very humbled by everyone coming out for the night to enjoy what was another fabulous member’s meeting, with nearly 70 members in total attending.
Driving home I asked if Graeme had any clue to what I had been planning and he did say he was a little confused as to what the meeting was going to be about, as he had not seen any emails regarding the night, NO, he didn’t, as Jess and I made sure he was excluded from the email chain...
I would like to thank everyone who helped me with this event and everyone who came, without you all it would not have been a success.
Jo Mawson | Member #2
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne