Queensland speedway champion, TA2 racer Jack Childs dies

Jack Childs

Successful speedway competitor and TA2 driver Jack Childs has died at the age of 71.

Childs passed away in his sleep on the early hours of last Tuesday morning (March 15), weeks shy of his 72nd birthday.

He is survived by his wife Christine; daughters Letta, Charmaine, and Nita; and grandson Jaxxon. He was also a father to David, who previously passed away.

Childs spent decades in speedway, predominantly in Queensland, beginning in an FJ Holden at Toowoomba’s Echo Valley Raceway at 19 years old.

He moved to Rockhampton in 1972 and focused on his career, managing pubs in Gracemere, Innisfail, Townsville, and Rockhampton. It was in the latter city that he met Christine.

A return to speedway came in 1982, competing in the Bomber class regularly at Rockhampton’s Rocky and Bouldercombe Speedway, and winning the 1983 Queensland Title.

Switching to the Modified Production class, Childs visited tracks such as Rocky Speedway, Toowoomba’s Hi-Tec Oils Speedway, Maryborough Speedway, Bundaberg’s Carina Speedway, Cairns International Speedway and Mac’s Speedway in Mackay until the late 1990s, winning two Rocky Speedway Club Championships and bagging several podium finishes.

He moved to Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast, in 2007, buying a Rocket Super Sedan previously owned by Danny Smith. He participated in three National Series and the prestigious Grand National race in Tasmania.

Childs finally retired from speedway with the conclusion of the 2017/18 season. A big supporter of the sport through his Think Money business, backing other drivers and events, he was given a deserved send-off at Gympie’s Mothar Mountain Speedway that May.

Childs in speedway

Still, he had not hung up the helmet entirely, debuting in the TA2 Muscle Car Series in 2019 at Winton, and ultimately starting eight races with a best finish of 23rd position.

Childs drove the Mustang which was later sold to Garry Rogers Motorsport and driven by Owen Kelly and Jason Bargwanna in the National Trans Am Series.

However, he had been planning to get back into TA2 just prior to his death.

TA2 Muscle Car Series founder Peter Robinson hailed Childs as a “real gentleman”.

“It’s funny how things come full circle in life, but I first met Jack Childs over 20 years ago when I used to fix the power steering on his Super Sedan car,” recalled Robinson.

“I got a call from Jack one day and he asked ‘is this the same Peter Robinson that used to help me with the power steering on my Super Sedan?’

“He was a passionate speedway racer but always had a dream to go circuit racing and these TA2 cars were right up his alley, being a user-friendly car to work on that was welcome to drivers at any experience level.

“He said, ‘If you’re a part of this series, I want in. I trust you from when you used to work on my cars and I love everything about this series’.

“Jack applied himself to this new form of racing extremely well, attending race driver training classes at Norwell Motorplex through a business acquaintance and fellow TA2 racer Chris Pappas, and he also received tutoring and support from experienced Queenslander racer Rod Dawson.

“We all loved Jack and Christine and they were truly suited to the TA2 family and their passion and attitude to racing was outstanding.

“Not only a savvy racer he was also a very good businessman and holds the sales record for a second-hand TA2 car at $173,000 which I don’t expect to be broken anytime soon.

“Although Jack wasn’t a podium finisher in his TA2 career, he was a well-respected competitor and a real gentleman.

“We are all deeply saddened by his passing and send our thoughts and condolences to Christine and his family.”

Childs in TA2

Dawson, who competes as a team owner in categories such as Touring Car Masters and previously SuperUtes, described Childs as the “Nicest, kindest soul” that he has worked with.

“The greatest thing about Jack was his approach to racing,” explained Dawson.

“He had raced in speedway for over 50 years before he tried this new challenge in road racing and he took everything in his stride and was just happy to be out there giving it his all.

“One of my best memories of Jack was when we went to Sydney Motorsport Park in 2019 for the TA2 races and I was on the radio the whole session telling him when to brake and change up and down the gears.

“Well, when you’re on top of the pit building, you can’t see around Turn 6, so once Jack disappeared around Corporate Hill, I had to count the seconds and guess where he would be to call his braking and gear change markers.

“So, when Jack came in he reported that he was going very deep in to the corners around there, only for me to tell him that I couldn’t actually see where he was on track!”

“He had two shoulder operations during the couple of years out of the seat, and only a few weeks ago he had got the clearance from the doctors to go racing again.

“He was at my workshop last week getting things ready to go racing again, but we will race on inspired by his passion for life and motorsport.”

Speedcafe.com joins TA2 in extending its condolences to Childs’ family and friends.

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