Speedway’s Goonan family continues into fourth generation as Bing passes on knowledge to Jemma and Dusty Chapman

Family sport: Retired speedway driver Bing Goonan has passed on everything he knows to his granddaughters Jemma and Dusty. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
Family sport: Retired speedway driver Bing Goonan has passed on everything he knows to his granddaughters Jemma and Dusty. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

For Jemma and Dusty Chapman, speedway racing is about more than just the adrenaline, the noise and the mud.

It's about family.

When the pair take to the track for the speedway season opener in Murray Bridge this Sunday, they will do so under the guidance of Bing Goonan, their grandfather and a successful midget and sprint car driver in his own right.

Their great-grandfather was Ross Goonan, a New Zealand champion driver six times over who raced V8 dirt modifieds after moving to Australia.

Their uncle Glenn reached the top of the national rankings in the same class of vehicle, and their sister Shani also races.

Now their yellow and black VT Commodore bears the family name: Goonan Motorsport.

"Not too many families are fourth-generation," Bing said.

"Even when I was racing, the whole family used to go."

There was a lot to like about speedway racing, he said: it was local, and a great spectator sport.

He might have stepped out of the driver's seat, but he never stepped away – he and his wife Lynne spent the past 25 years as chaplains at the Murray Bridge circuit, before he recently took on the same job at The Bend Motorsport Park.

When he's not at the track, he can usually be found in the shed, teaching the girls how to do things with the car and why, just like his dad would have wanted had he not died when Bing was 15.

"I always used to say I wish I had somebody like me watching what I was doing on the track to tell me what I did wrong," he said.

"When my son started racing I could watch his car and know exactly what it was doing, and we could adjust the car to suit.

"We do the same with the girls – they come in and I tell them 'you're coming into corners wrong or out of corners wrong, or coming in too high or too low'.

"It's natural to me – I've been around it all my life."

The Chapmans will race together in the street stock category this season, Dusty having been a passenger with other drivers and Jemma having come out of junior sedans.

Their excitement was visible.

"I love the adrenaline before you go out there," Jemma said.

"There's so much excitement, you're nervous, and even if you're not going fast, you feel like it."

As to their plans to be competitive this season: "I just listen to everything Pop says, and it always works," she said.

The family thanked their sponsors for their support.

Street stocks, super sedans, wingless sprints, AMCAs, formula 500s, junior sedans and a demolition derby will feature at the season opener at Murray Machining and Sheds Speedway this Sunday from 5pm.