Victoria’s finest awarded for big 2019

Friday 07 February, 2020
Photos: Look at Media

Victoria’s Motorsport Australia State Awards, presented by Burson Auto Parts took place on Friday evening with the state’s 2019 champions celebrated at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Outside of champion drivers from all disciplines being recognised for their stellar 2019 seasons, the evening also witnessed a number of individuals and clubs honoured for their contributions to motorsport

Taking out one of the evening’s biggest award was Phillip Island Auto Racing Club Vice President Matt Balcombe who was named as Victorian Official of the Year. Best known for developing entry-level events into national acclaimed ones, Balcombe’s dedication to the sport made him a deserving winner of the award.

While Balcombe has spent a large portion of his life as an official, Lachlan Griffiths’ life as an official has just begun with the 15-year-old impressing enough in 2019 to be awarded with the Junior Official of the Year.

Balcombe and Griffiths weren’t the only officials to be recognised throughout the awards nights, with a number of other volunteers praised for their work and commitment to motorsport.

The seven recipients acknowledged for their efforts last year with a Service Award were Paul Lummis, Roger Sinclair, David Adams, Robert Graham, Nicholas Charrett, Ian McLennan and Noel Robson.

Another individual award winner for the evening was the Victorian Burson Future Star Award winner and it was young karting star Nicholas Schembri who received the top gong.

The 15-year-old has enjoyed a solid karting career both in Australia and abroad with runner-ups in the Australian 125cc Gearbox Nationals and British Superkart GP, as well as taking out Victorian Superkart Club 'Driver of the Year' after winning the 125cc Gearbox State Series.

While a range of individuals were celebrated over the course of the evening, there were also four car clubs who took centre stage with the Western District Car Club’s Ada River Rally being crowned for the hosting Best of Event for the Year.
The Motorsport Australia Hino Geelong Victorian Rally Championship’s second round for the year saw two crews share the spoils in the event in extraordinary circumstances.
The joint winners in Justin Walker/Blaise McNamara and Luke Sytema/Adam Wright also created history by being the first two-wheel drive car to win since 2014 and the first rear wheel drive entry in more two decades.
The final accolades for the evening went to three clubs who celebrated milestone years in 2019 with Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club of Australia headlining the most notable after reaching 50 years last year.
The 944 Racing Association celebrated their 20th anniversary last year, while 2019 saw Classic Cars United reach a decade of motorsport.
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