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OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS RECOGNISED AT KARTING AUSTRALIA HONOURS AND AWARDS DINNER

The evening celebrated the remarkable achievements and enduring dedication of individuals who have left an indelible mark on Australian karting.

Karting Australia proudly hosted its 2024 Honours and Awards Dinner at the Crowne Plaza on the Gold Coast on Saturday night, in conjunction with the annual Building Better Kart Clubs Conference.

The evening celebrated the remarkable achievements and enduring dedication of individuals who have left an indelible mark on Australian karting.

Attendees witnessed the presentation of several prestigious awards, including the highest honour of the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Impact on Karting Award and Life Memberships, all of which recognised the exceptional contributions of individuals who have shaped the sport’s landscape.

Speaking at the event, Karting Australia Chairman Kevin Davis expressed his appreciation for the invaluable contributions of volunteers, emphasising their integral role in making karting a success.

“It is fantastic to recognise the dedication of our volunteers; they are the lifeblood of our sport and what makes karting so great,” said Davis.

“Every weekend there are hundreds of volunteers working together to put on fantastic Karting Australia events across the country, not to mention the hours dedicated to preparing for the events. Tonight is about honouring that commitment from our Volunteers and Officials for the betterment of our sport.

“Tonight’s recipients have all committed a significant part of their life to enhance the sport. On behalf of the Karting Australia Board, it is an honour to be able to present them with these prestigious awards.”

In a historic moment, the event saw the first-ever presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Harold and Pam Arnett, honouring their combined 100-plus years of unwavering dedication to karting. Harold’s multifaceted leadership roles and Pam’s longstanding commitment to improvement and administration exemplify their profound impact on the sport.

Additionally, the esteemed Impact on Karting Award was bestowed upon Gary Light in recognition of his remarkable dedication to karting over more than 40 years. Light’s proactive advocacy for change and his ability to unite the karting community have earned him widespread respect and admiration.

Among the recipients of Life Memberships were karting stalwarts Les Allen, Mick Doohan AM, Glen Egan, Mark Horsley, John Wishart, and Russell White, each of whom has made significant contributions to karting at various levels. Their unwavering commitment and outstanding leadership have left an enduring legacy, shaping the sport’s future for generations to come.

The 2024 Karting Australia Honours and Awards Dinner was a resounding success, celebrating the outstanding achievements and contributions of individuals who have played pivotal roles in shaping Australian karting. Their passion, dedication, and leadership serve as a beacon for the entire karting community, inspiring future generations to continue the legacy of excellence in the sport.

Brief biographies of all recipients and their outstanding contributions to Karting Australia and Australian Karting follow:

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT – Harold and Pam Arnett

Pam Arnett (Pic: Tim Francis)

Harold Arnett (Pic: Tim Francis)

Harold and Pam Arnett are esteemed recipients of the Karting Australia Lifetime Achievement Award, recognising their collective 100-plus years of unwavering dedication to karting.

Harold’s journey began in 1969, evolving into a multifaceted leadership role within Victoria and nationally. From his pivotal positions in club committees to his tenure as State Technical Coordinator and National Technical Coordinator, Harold has shaped fair competition standards and upheld the integrity of the sport. As a Life Member of various karting associations, including Bendigo Kart Club and Karting Victoria, his impact is enduring.

Pam’s contributions are equally remarkable, spanning from her roots as a racer in 1974 to becoming a revered volunteer official. Serving as National Secretary of the Australian Karting Association and dedicating 32 years as Secretary of the Victorian Karting Association, Pam’s leadership has been instrumental. Her dedication to improvement and mentorship exemplifies her commitment to the growth and development of karting.

Together, Harold and Pam embody exemplary leadership, fostering collaboration and innovation within the karting community. Their professionalism and dedication serve as a beacon for all, ensuring the sport thrives for generations to come.

IMPACT ON KARTING – Gary Light

Gary Light (Pic: Pace Images)

Gary Light’s remarkable dedication to karting over more than 40 years has earned him the inaugural Karting Australia Impact on Karting Award. Serving as President of Karting WA for an impressive 21-year tenure from 2001 to 2022, Gary’s contributions are unparalleled.

From roles as a State Technical Advisor to Tiger Kart Club President, his influence spans various spheres, including his service as a member of the Karting Australia Executive Commission.
Gary’s leadership is marked by his proactive advocacy for change and his ability to unite the karting community, earning him widespread respect.

As a Life Member of both the Tiger Kart Club, Karting WA and the Australian Karting Association, Gary’s commitment to karting extends beyond his retirement, exemplifying his enduring passion and dedication to the sport.

LIFE MEMBERSHIP – Les Allen

Les Allen

For almost two decades, Les was a formidable figure in the Technical Inspection area at Karting Australia events, known for his straightforward approach. After years of dedicated service at both local and state levels, Les assumed the role of National Technical Advisor in 2010, later becoming Karting Australia’s inaugural National Technical Commissioner from 2013 to 2018.

Throughout his extensive involvement in the sport, Les played a crucial role in training and mentoring many high-level scrutineers across Australia from 2010 to 2020. Additionally, he generously devoted his time to officiating at events in both Asia and Italy, further solidifying his impact on the global karting community. In recognition of his significant contributions, Les Allen has been honoured with Karting Australia Life Membership, marking his enduring legacy in the sport.

LIFE MEMBERSHIP – Mick Doohan AM

Mick Doohan (Pic: Coopers Photography)

Mick Doohan’s impact on Australian karting is profound. As an inaugural member of the Australian Karting Association Ltd Board, Mick was elected as first Chair in 2012, a position he held for nine years. His tenure was marked by a visionary approach to modernising the sport, enhancing safety, and restructuring competition formats.

Under Mick’s leadership, Australian karting underwent significant transformations, including the introduction of updated competition rules and new class structures aimed at making competitions more modern and inclusive. Additionally, his efforts saw the introduction of affordable, world-class engines, elevating the National Karting Championship to world-leading status.

The legacy of Mick’s leadership extends beyond his tenure, as the Board he led left a lasting impact on Australian karting, positioning it for future success and growth on both national and international stages.

In recognition of his contributions, Mick Doohan is now a Life Member of Karting Australia, adding to his esteemed accolades, which include being a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), recipient of an Australian Sports Medal, and a legend in the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame.

LIFE MEMBERSHIP – Glen Egan

Glen Egan

Glen Egan has served karting for approximately 20 years, holding notable administrative roles at various levels. From his Presidency at the Combined Districts Kart Club and Karting NSW to his Directorship and role as Chair at Karting Australia, Glen’s leadership has been pivotal.

During the challenging period from 2018 to 2022, Glen devoted countless hours to unify and strengthen karting in NSW. Despite facing personal attacks, he exhibited remarkable fortitude and unwavering commitment to his belief in a united governing body with the highest standards of governance.

Throughout his karting career, Glen has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership and integrity, contributing significantly to the growth and enhancement of karting in Australia. His positive and enduring impact on the sport is evident, both locally and at the national level, making him a deserving recipient of Karting Australia’s Life Membership.

LIFE MEMBERSHIP – Mark Horsley

Mark Horsley (Pic: Pace Images)

Since 2008, karting has been Mark Horsley’s passion. After retiring from racing, he transitioned seamlessly into officiating, dedicating himself to hundreds of events across Australia and Asia in various roles. For more than a decade, Mark has served as National Officials Coordinator and National Prosecutor. He has also held positions such as Race Director and Chief Steward for the Australian Kart Championship while last year heading up the Karting Australia’s National Upskilling and Mentoring program for Officials.

In the past three years, Mark has furthered his commitment by serving as Vice President and State Track Inspector for Karting Australia (NSW), while also playing a pivotal role in events throughout Asia, where he now chairs the Asian working group. Mark’s unwavering dedication is evident as he seldom misses a weekend officiating at karting events across the country, leaving a lasting and positive impact on the sport in Australia and earning him the esteemed honour of Karting Australia Life Membership.

LIFE MEMBERSHIP – John Wishart

John Wishart

Affectionately known as ‘Wishy’, John Wishart has been an integral part of the karting community for over 30 years, embodying exemplary leadership throughout his tenure. As a Grade 1 Steward and Clerk of the Course for the past 25 years, John has officiated numerous events across the country, demonstrating unwavering commitment and dedication.

His on-track presence extends to his role as Chief Steward of the Australian Kart Championship, where he served for six years as part of the National Officiating Team. Additionally, John has held key positions such as Vice President and Officials Coordinator for six and nine years respectively, contributing significantly to the sport’s development.

At the club level, John’s leadership was evident during his 13-year presidency at the Tiger Kart Club, where he remains actively involved at all levels. His invaluable contributions have been recognised with life memberships from both the Tiger Kart Club in 2018 and Karting WA in 2023, as well as now Karting Australia Life Membership, highlighting his enduring impact on karting in Australia.

LIFE MEMBERSHIP – Russell White

Russell White (Pic: Tim Francis)

Russell White’s dedication to Karting Australia spans over 25 years, during which he has been a stalwart supporter of the sport. His tireless efforts have benefited not only the South West Kart Club and Karting Victoria but also Karting Australia as a whole. As a longstanding Grade 1 Clerk of the Course and Steward, Russell has officiated at hundreds of events, contributing to the smooth operation of competitions across the country.

His leadership roles, including President and Vice President of Karting Victoria, and his membership on the Karting Australia Executive Commission, further underscore his commitment to the sport’s growth and development. Russell’s invaluable contributions have been recognised with Life Memberships for both Karting Victoria and the South West Kart Club, and now, the prestigious Karting Australia Life Membership Award. This honour is a testament to Russell’s enduring dedication and profound impact on karting in Australia.

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