Born in the New South Wales border town of Corowa in 1942, Jeff Whitten became involved in motorsport in the early 1960s, originally attending race meetings in Wangaratta and Tarrawingee organised by the North Eastern Car Club (NECC).
Along with his wife of 58 years, Betty, the club became the backbone of his life. Such was his involvement in the NECC, he was made a life member as early as 1970.
Over the next 50-plus years he was a competitor, organiser and promoter of motorsport, specifically, rallying. He was an accredited course checker, steward and senior official.
Although he began rallying in a Mini Deluxe, Jeff soon became a Ford man through and through. His rally cars were a long list of some of the Blue Oval’s most popular ‘small Fords’: Anglias, Cortina Mk1s and Mk2s and, of course, Escort Mk1s and Mk2s.
As a guiding light in his beloved NECC, he organised nearly 100 motorsport events, including the Forest Classic Rally, which he ran 18 times.
Never one to let the grass grow under his feet, he was president of the NECC five times, secretary 13 times, and was awarded the ‘Club Champion’ trophy 11 times.