Among the 30 Australian icons that formed the inaugural inductee group for the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame, no less than 29 World Championships and 50 Australian Championships are represented in individual and team competition.
The gala affair – presented by Australia’s premier motorsport website, Speedcafe.com – took place tonight in Melbourne and was attended by 500 family and friends of inductees, industry identities and motorsport enthusiasts.
Australian legends from Formula 1, circuit racing, Speedway, Rallying, off-road, drag racing, karting and motorcycling formed part of the inaugural group.
The Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame is an initiative from the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) involving Motorcycling Australia, the Australian National Drag Racing Association, Karting Australia and Speedway Australia. It is the first time that the Governing Bodies of every major discipline of motor sport in Australia has come together to produce a function like this.
The emotion in the room was raw with many stories of days gone by being told by the inductees – or those accepting on behalf of those who have departed us.
One of the most emotional moments came with the final inductee – 1980 Formula 1 World Champion, Alan Jones being presented with a replica of his FIA World Championship Trophy by Claire Williams – the daughter of Sir Frank Williams and Deputy Team Principal, Williams Formula 1. The original trophy was stolen from Jones’ collection many years ago.
Reigning FIA Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton made a surprise appearance and paid tribute to the role of Australia’s heroes in the development of the sport internationally. Current FIA World Endurance Champion Mark Webber surprised his friend – three times F.I.M. World Speedway Champion, Jason Crump by presenting him on stage with his induction medal.
The induction included many of Australia’s best known World Champions, including Sir Jack Brabham, Mick Doohan, Jason Crump, Troy Bayliss and Casey Stoner among others, along with Australian and Bathurst icons like Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Colin Bond, Alan Moffat, Garry Rush and Stephen Gall.
Chairman of the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame – Garry Connelly – was ecstatic with the evening and the representation of the sport across the board.
“Never before have the icons of Australian motorsport been showcased in such a spectacular fashion,” said Connelly. “To have 30 worthy inductees across every single discipline of the sport in this country represented in one room is a special feeling.
“For a country with Australia’s population to achieve what it has on the global motor sport stage is truly impressive. The achievements by Australians in motor sport in a competition sense, an engineering sense and an administrative sense is a wonderful story that as a nation, should be celebrated.
“Tonight, our inductee group includes 29 Individual and Team World Championships – including the world’s first ever motorsport World Champion – Lionel Van Praag – who won the World Speedway Championship in 1936 and Sir Jack Brabham – the only man to have ever designed and built a Formula 1 car that he would go on to drive to the World Driver’s Championship.
“Phil Irving, the man that designed the engine to power Jack to his third World Championship 50 years ago was another warmly received inductee.
“To surprise Alan Jones with the presentation of the replica World Championship trophy in front of his children was a moment that will remain with everyone for years to come, along with the emotion that was shown by every single inductee.
“The 500 people that were in attendance at the inaugural Gala could feel a sense of being swept up in the occasion they were fortunate enough to share in collectively tonight.
“The discussion has already begun as to who will be inducted at next year’s Hall of Fame Gala, because it is obvious that there are many worthy inductee that should have been included tonight, but it was impossible to honour more than 30 people appropriately in one evening.”
The full list of inductees is as follows, with more detailed biographies available at the official Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame website at http://www.speedcafe.com/halloffame.
Ash Marshall – Australian Drag Racing Pioneer
Ash Marshall was a pioneer in Australian hot rodding and drag racing.
Ash was at the first Australian Drag Racing Nationals in October 1965, held at Riverside Raceway, Fishermen’s Bend, not far from the centre of Melbourne.
Ash had a new bit of gear, which, four years later, took him to Australia’s first 200mph pass at the quarter mile.
Soon after that he set an Australian record of 7.49 seconds which stood until 1972 when Jim Read did 7.40s.
Marshall must have heard about it because, after being away for two years, he reappeared in November with an imported, state-of-the-art, Rail.
Amidst much controversy, he was credited with being the first Aussie into the six second zone with 6.98 seconds and 219.9mph.
At 354km/h that’s faster that anyone here had been, much less in a quarter mile.
However the time was disputed and, eventually, not allowed.
The best Ash did later was 7.09 and 221 so the rail soon returned to the US.
Ash took his business interests to Europe and then the US, where he lives now.
But Ash Marshal is now in the Australian Motor Sport Hall of Fame.
Sir Jack Brabham – 3 time Formula 1 World Champion
Alan Jones – 1980 Formula 1 World Champion
Phil Irving – Designer, Repco Formula 1 World Champion Engine
Harry Firth – Bathurst Champion, patriarch, Holden Dealer Team
Bob Jane – Bathurst and Australian Touring Car Champion, Australian NASCAR founder, circuit owner
Peter Brock – 9 Times Bathurst 1000 Champion, 3 time Australian Touring Car Champion
Dick Johnson – 5 Time Australian Touring Car Champion and twice Bathurst 1000 victor
Allan Moffat – 4 time Australian Touring Car and 4 time Bathurst 1000 winner
Frank Matich – Australian Open-Wheel and Motorsport Engineering icon
Lionel van Praag – 1936 World Speedway Champion – the first motorsport World Champion
Jack Young – 2 time World Speedway Champion
Jason Crump – 3 times World Speedway Champion
Kel Carruthers – 1969 250cc World Champion, Isle of Man 250TT Champion
Wayne Gardner – 1987 500cc World Champion
Mick Doohan – 5 times 500cc World Champion
Casey Stoner – 2 time MotoGP World Champion
Gregg Hansford – 10 times Grand Prix winner, Bathurst 1000 (touring car) winner
Troy Bayliss – 3 times World Superbike Champion
Stephen Gall – 5 times Australian Motocross Champion, 4 times Mr. Motocross, Australian Speedcar Champion
Jeff Leisk – World Junior Motocross Champion, 2 times Australian Motocross Champion
Ray Revell – 5 times Australian Speedcar Champion
Garry Rush – 10 times Australian Sprintcar Champion
‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray – REDeX Trial winner, London to Sydney Marathon pioneer
Colin Bond – 3 times Australian Rally Champion, Bathurst 500 Champion, Australian Touring Car Champion
Ross Dunkerton – 5 times Australian Rally Champion, Asia-Pacific Rally Champion
James Courtney – 2 times World Karting Champion, V8 Supercars Champion
Mark Burrows – 7 Australian Off-Road Championships, 5 Finke Desert Race wins