Speed on Tweed founder dies
THE funeral of Speed on Tweed founder and international racing car driver, Roger Ealand, will be held in Tweed Heads on Wednesday.
The Duranbah resident, who was still racing cars around the world up until a year ago, died on March 22 aged 73, after a battle with cancer.
Mr Ealand, a five-times British sports car champion, founded the Speed on Tweed event which was held annually at Murwillumbah between 2002 and 2010, attracting crowds of up to 30,000 each year.
The event saw historic racing cars of many types, and some of Australia's best drivers of past years, racing against the clock on closed public roads on a circuit which began and ended near the showgrounds.
Mr Ealand and his wife of 54 years, Margaret, also founded Wollumbin Palms Retreat, at Mt Warning.
He is survived by Margaret, their two sons and their grandchildren.
Friend and fellow racing car driver Bill Norman, also from Duranbah, said Mr Ealand was inspirational and "just a sensational guy".
"He was an an absolute institution in the district," Mr Norman said.
"He was still winning races at the age of 70.
"He was my best mate but there are hundreds of others who would say the same thing."
He predicted there would be a huge turnout at his farewell, with mourners expected from around Australia and the world.
"Just before he died, Roger Ealand told me that the festival of Speed on Tweed had been a wonderful opportunity for him to give something back to the Tweed community.
"The whole community got behind the festival and it raised lots of money for a number of charities, led by the Rotary Club of Murwillumbah."
Mr Ealand told his friend, "I have had wonderful friendships locally and I'd just like to say goodbye and thanks to everyone".
Mr Ealand's funeral will be held at 2pm at the Tweed Heads Lawn Cemetary on Wednesday, March 30.