Barry Parker’s start in motor sport officialdom was all about being in the right place at the right time.
For many years, Parker was just a supporter for his son, Michael Parker, who would race around Victoria and the proud father was always in attendance.
With Michael racing quite a lot at Phillip Island, Barry’s knowledge for the sport and his motivation caught the attention of the some key figures on the island, who were eager to sign him up through his son.
“I had no intention of getting into motor sport, I would just go down to the island to support Michael and I suppose it all stemmed from there,” Parker said.
“When I was at Phillip Island for one of Michael’s meetings, Peter Nelson asked him if I would be interested in working and next thing I know, I was there in the grid.
“I have been in the marshalling area for the past 25 years now and I haven’t got out of it and in those 25 years, I have trained a few people who have moved on and progressed up the ranks, which is quite nice to see.”
Since first helping out in the 1990s, Parker has been at every race meeting in Phillip Island without fail, as well as attending Sandown every so often, making him one of the more popular figures in Victorian motor sport.
Every meeting, be it in rain, hail or shine, Parker will man his post in the pre-grid and get the job done without complaining.
Following a successful first decade in the sport, his fantastic organisational skills continued to impress Nelson and it earned him a call up to the Australian Grand Prix where he continued to impresses his superiors.
And if Parker thought he could escape the job and he has done for so many years and do something different, he was wrong as he was promoted to support paddock manager at Albert Park four years ago.
“I must be doing such a good job that they wont let me go anywhere else,” Parker joked.
“I just like helping out and being at a race track. It’s a hard slog but I really enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t.
"People often question me why I volunteer for free, and my response to them is always the same. I enjoy doing it.
“When Peter asked me if I wanted to do the Grand Prix, it took me no time to respond with a yes. I didn’t need to be asked twice.
“I also have no intentions of giving it away because I have a few years left in me.”