Vale Henk Kabel
Thursday 22 June, 2023
RIP Henk Kabel (1933-2023)
Motorsport Australia is saddened to learn of the passing of long time rally stalwart Henk Kabel.
An avid member of the Brisbane Sporting Car Club, Henk contributed greatly to rally around Queensland and Australia as both a competitor and an official.
Born in 1933, Henk migrated to Australia alongside wife Cathy in the mid 1950s where he continued working as a fully qualified VW mechanic at a BP Service Station.
It took Henk just a few years to discover motorsport and join his local car club, the Brisbane Sporting Car Club – a club he would serve for more than five decades.
Not long after he first joined, Henk was working on a friend’s car when he was introduced to the world of rallying, an introduction that would change his life forever as he would go on to enjoy a revered career behind the wheel.
Henk was very active in the 1970s and 1980s and tackled Australian Rally Championship (ARC) events all around the country, as well as the Queensland Rally Championship (QRC) throughout those two decades – the latter of which he won in 1972.
He also completed the 1977 London to Sydney Marathon and contested multiple Round Australia and Southern Cross Rallies before ultimately retiring as a driver in the mid 1980s.
During this period, his professional life was going from strength to strength as he had gone from being a mechanic, to founding Auto Centre PTY LTD Brisbane as a VW dealer, which later turned into Stones Corner Motors, that had expanded its collection to Mazdas, Mitsubishis, Hyundais and other major brands.
It was as the boss of Stones Corner Motors that he began to give back to the rally community, sponsoring both the Queensland rounds of the ARC and other QRC rounds - a partnership that continued for two decades, even when his business made the final transition to the Keema Automotive Group.
Henk’s influence over the sport was not just as a driver or a sponsor either – it was his work in the Brisbane Sporting Car Club that he was most known for.
After joining the club in 1959 and staying on for another five decades, Henk contributed greatly to the car club via a range of roles.
Henk served as the Treasurer, a Board Member and even President, as well as holding the many organisational roles for large periods of time and running events. He was integral to the club’s presence and had a long-lasting effect on thousands of people in the community through his good will.
Over the years, he also received multiple accolades, which included BSCC Life Membership in 1975, an inaugural member of the Queensland Rally Hall and a Motorsport Australia Service Star.
Henk is survived by his wife Cathy, sons Simon, Tony and Gary and many grandchildren.