Marburg is holding a pre-Christmas celebration at Sunday’s meeting. Picture: Rob Williams
Marburg is holding a pre-Christmas celebration at Sunday’s meeting. Picture: Rob Williams

Fitting tribute to reliable ‘man with the van’ Gary


THERE is no more valuable contribution that a man or woman can make to a community than to offer volountary service to a sporting association or a charity group in that community.

People with that determination to “give something back” often do so for years.

Cricket started at Marburg Showground in 1946, and the subject of this tribute Gary Rohl, would have been 13 years old at that point.

As Gary was 86 when he left us last week, the great bulk of his life revolved around the Marburg cricket team and the Show Society.

When I became involved in the birth of the Marburg Pacing Association (1982) and the weekly trials which took Ipswich harness racing out of the dark ages, he was always aware of this panel van and the kindly grey haired gentleman who owned it.

The van and the man were fixtures, the man did everything, and the van carried the tools and the spare parts.

It is possible that they would have attracted more attention had they ever been missing but they were as reliable as the sun.

What price can we put on the value of more than 50 years of service. It’s just possible that Gary felt very much at home on the Showground, as the land had once been owned by the Rohl family.

The first of the “Gary Rohl Memorial” races will be run tomorrow.

They must become an annual fixture, as “the man and the van”, must never be forgotten.

As a society, we are fond of consigning memories to the bin. Not this time.

It’s all on tomorrow at Marburg, with trials before the first race at 1.26pm, and the last at 5.15pm.

Rock bottom prices on beverage and country cooking, UTAB Van on course, “pick the card” $1900 (share) supervised water slide and “funny money”.

Admission is adults $5, members and pensioners $3, race books $3.

Gates open at 11am.

Number one joy

FROM the sad to the joyful.

Ironbark-based trainer Karen Schulz had a dream run into the festive season when her team of two pacers rang up number one this week.

Beau Chisholm set the gravy train rolling on Tuesday, with a determined charge down the sprint lane at Albion Park. The son of Elsu NZ provided his traditional strong finish with Reece McGuire in the sulky.

Just a bit short of 24 hours later, Soldier of Fortune led up and ran away at Redcliffe with Chloe Butler having the steer. Karen looks after her horses a treat and they showed their appreciation with great efforts.

If Christmas dinner at Ironbark this year matches up to the equine contribution, it won’t be ham and turkey, but pheasant and truffles.

Fifty career wins

MORE good news, this time from the Tayla Gillespie barn.

It’s taken promising part-time Queensland trainer Tayla Gillespie just three years and 11 months to go from one to 50 career training wins.

The talented Prenzlau (near Marburg) horsewoman notched up a half century of training successes at Redcliffe Paceway shortly after 5pm last Thursday night (December 5), when the Reece Maguire-driven Purple Shades got up by a neck.

It’s a sign of the times in harness racing these days, everything happens in a hurry.

Some young people in the game today will retire with unbelievable figures against their names compared to the “Golden Age” of trotting, which was probably 1950-75.

Matt’s NZ progress

MATT Elkins was far from disgraced with his fifth placing on 64 points in the Australasian Young Drivers Championship conducted recently in New Zealand.

The winner was Kiwi reinswoman, Sarah O’Reilly who accumulated 101 points through the series with Cameron Hart from NSW second on 89 points. Hart gained an extra bonus with a trip to Sweden in December 2020 to drive in the Gold Watch classic.

Honour board

Lower figures on the leader board this week with Pete McMullen on four wins, nosing out Adam Sanderson with three.

On the trainer’s ladder, Chantal Turpin bested Karen Schulz, three to two. Most pleasing was Dartesian, trained by Trent Hodges and reined by Trent Moffat.

Albion Park, December 13: Corey William (Pete McMullen for Peter Greig); Jerosh (Justin Elkins for Mal Charlton).

Albion Park, December 14: Run Boy Run (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Montana Chief (Adam Sanderson); Just Deal It (Kelli Dawson for Ian Gurney); Northern Muscle (Adam Richardson for Denis Smith); Majestic Simon (Pete McMullen for Chantal Turpin).

Albion Park, December 17: Notorious (Danielle McMullen for Ryan Veivers); Beau Chisholm (Reece Maguire for Karen Schulz).

Redcliffe, December 18: Soldier Of fortune (Chloe Butler for Karen Schulz); Todays Hero (Taleah McMullen for Chantal Turpin); Maywyn No Regrets (Kelli Dawson); Naughty In Heaven (Pete McMullen for Tony Turpin); Dartesian (Trent Moffat for Trent Hodges).

Redcliffe, December 19: Hadley (Adam Sanderson for Mark Lichtwark); Bettor Because (Adam Sanderson for Alan Grimsey).