Australian Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, world rally star Hayden Paddon, rising single-seater racer Liam Lawson and passionate classic car race driver and organiser John Holmes have been presented with the premier awards at MotorSport New Zealand’s annual awards night.
Held at Te Papa in Wellington on Saturday 27 May, the annual MotorSport New Zealand awards recognise the achievements of competitors, officials, volunteers and media at all levels of four-wheeled motor sports in New Zealand.
MotorSport New Zealand president Wayne Christie says: “We presented over 50 trophies and awards during our annual celebration of New Zealand motorsport. We acknowledge and thank everyone who makes it possible for us to run motorsport events in New Zealand for competitors at all levels – from grassroots clubsport competition, to national championships. Everyone involved contribute to the amazing numbers of New Zealanders representing us with pride in world motorsport like Hayden Paddon and Shane van Gisbergen.”
Thanks to former competitors and administrators, MotorSport New Zealand has four premier awards – the Jim Clark trophy, the Rally Founders trophy, the Steel memorial trophy and the Lupp trophy.
“With these four premier awards, we celebrate the best of the best in New Zealand motorsport and recognise the contributions made by these individuals at the top-end of the sport from a wonderful array of talented nominees,” says Christie.
Shane van Gisbergen, originally from Auckland and now based in Gold Coast, was presented with the Jim Clark trophy in recognition of his 2016 Supercars Championship title, the first New Zealander to win the premier Australian touring car title in 25 years.
This trophy is awarded in memory of Jim Clark who was Tasman Champion in 1965, 1967 and 1968 before being tragically killed at Hockenheim, Germany, that year. It recognises the New Zealand driver competing at a national or higher level who shows a sportsmanlike attitude to the sport and fellow competitors and natural ability in ‘putting up the most meritorious racing performance during the season’.
The other Jim Clark trophy nominees for 2017 were two other new champions – Christchurch’s Ryan Yardley who won the 2016/17 Toyota 86 Championship and Invercargill’s Liam MacDonald who won the 2016/17 NZ Touring Cars Class 2 Championship.
Hayden Paddon, formerly of Geraldine and now based in Europe, was presented with the Rally Founders trophy for the seventh time in recognition of his history-making achievement to become the first New Zealander to win a round of the FIA World Rally Championship, in Argentina last year and his contribution to New Zealand’s bid to get a WRC round back in 2018.
Inaugurated in 1990, the Rally Founders trophy recognises the rally driver who performs with distinction during the rally season, either nationally and/or internationally; has a sportsman-like attitude towards the sport and others, and displays the qualities of a true sporting ambassador.
The other nominees for the Rally Founders trophy this year were David Holder for securing his first New Zealand Rally Championship title in 2016 and Paddon’s long-time co-driver John Kennard who was alongside Paddon for their history-making WRC win in Argentina in April 2016.
The prestigious Steel memorial trophy was presented to Auckland teenage racing star Liam Lawson who secured the 2016/17 New Zealand Formula Ford Championship title on his 15th birthday, making him globally the youngest-ever Formula Ford champion.
First presented in 1983, thanks to late Owen and Gwenn Steel, the Steel memorial trophy recognises the efforts of a junior (under 21 years) driver at national race level and their dedication, skill and professionalism as they strive to progress to the upper echelons of motorsport. The other nominees this year were 16-year-old Marcus Armstrong who was the best-placed Kiwi in the 2017 Toyota Racing Series Championship – a feat which earned him the highly-respected Bruce McLaren memorial trophy – and 19-year-old Liam MacDonald, from Invercargill, who won 2016/17 NZ Touring Cars Class 2 Championship.
John Holmes, of Auckland, was presented with the Lupp trophy in recognition of continued efforts as a very active classic race event organiser and competitor, and as a founding member of the Thoroughbred and Classic Car Owners Club (TACCOC).
The Lupp trophy recognises a competitor from classic and historic racing who has demonstrated exceptional levels of sportsmanship, vehicle presentation and who embodies the very spirit and values associated with the classic and historic movement. The other nominees were Gore’s Derek Ayson as the winner of the Otago Classic and Silver Fern rallies, and Te Anau’s Rodger Cunninghame who is a long-time classic racing competitor, particularly in historic muscle cars.
The Lupp trophy is from a collection of the late Sybil Lupp and made available to MSNZ by the Wellington Central MG Car Club. Famed for her motorsport exploits, Wellingtonian Sybil Lupp began racing in 1947 and, by 1952, had won 144 trophies.
Nominations for the four premier awards and other awards such as the distinguished service awards come from the 96 member clubs who jointly own and contribute to MotorSport New Zealand as the country’s governing body for four-wheeled motor sports.
The awards evening also saw trophies presented to 2016/17 race, rally, hillclimb and clubsport champions from around the country, as well as an array of certificates and awards acknowledging the contributions of volunteers, officials and media. See www.motorsport.org.nz for a full list of this year’s MotorSport New Zealand awards.