Donald Thomson Award - Instituted 1979
In honour of the formative Secretary General of CAMS, this award recognises individuals who have brought credit to the sport by way of a spontaneous act of selflessness and consideration for others – an attitude of service and courage which was always upheld by Donald Kingsley Thomson.
Nominees must have performed an act of courage and selflessness under unique circumstances, which is above and beyond what would normally be expected. In doing so the nominee must have demonstrated how they brought credit to themselves and the sport and portrayed a genuine consideration for others.
1. Any member of the sport is eligible to be considered for this award.
The 2015 Donald Thomson is awarded to Simon Bulasch's for his courageous and selfless actions assisting a struggling driver escape from his vehicle and then offering assistance to a second driver. Tim Playford's car broke its drive line off the start and the three cars of Carl Weinands, Simon Bulasch and Alan Langworthy were unable to avoid a collision. Although Simon's car took the most impact, bring lifted off the ground and bursting into flames, Simon managed to escape his car quickly. Noticing that Alan was struggling to exit his car and with the flames only metres away, he raced in to assist Alan escape. Once he knew Alan was clear, his next action was to ensue that Tim was also able to clear his vehicle. These courageous and selfless actions to ensure that other drivers were safe at a time when there was significant risk from fire brings great credit on Simon Bulasch and to the spirit of the club and all motor sport.
Ryan McLeod brought credit to himself and the sport and portrayed a genuine consideration for others in 2014 at a round at Sydney Motor Sport Park. At Sydney Motorsport Park on 11 July 2014, a car rolled over 6 times and caught fire. Ryan in a following car immediately stopped, and made several attempts to extricate the injured driver from the car which was by that time well alight. When assistance arrived, he continued his efforts to subdue the flames. Through Ryan's efforts the injured driver survived and whilst, suffering life-threatening burns, recovered. Ryan McLeod’s actions reflect extreme courage and selflessness in a very confronting situation, and portray genuine consideration for the well-being of a fellow competitor, making him a worthy recipient of the Donald Thomson award.
Awarded in recognition of Robert Newman’s courageous actions attempting the rescue of a trapped driver from a burning car at Adelaide International Raceway. Robert went to the aid of Colin Trengove when he lost control of his Lola T332 F5000 racing car, crashing heavily before the it erupted into flames. Robert immediately went to his aid finding him unconscious and still strapped in the burning car. Believing Colin had survived the impact, and with no regard for his own safety, Robert endeavoured to keep the flames away from the driver while he desperately tried to extract him from the car, refusing to give up until the arrival of medical assistance. This extreme act of courage and selflessness under horrific circumstances was above and beyond what would ever be expected, demonstrating Robert’s unwavering consideration for others, bringing credit to both himself and the sport in the process.
Awarded in recognition of Dion’s prompt and courageous action in rescuing a trapped competitor from a submerged off road competition vehicle at Kellevie on 17 May 2008. Without the assistance of Dion, the trapped competitor almost certainly would have suffered life threatening complications. In honour of the formative Secretary General of CAMS, this award recognises individuals who have brought credit to the sport by way of a spontaneous act of selflessness and consideration for others – an attitude of service and courage which was always upheld by Donald Kingsley Thompson. This award recognised the act of courage and selflessness under unique circumstances, which is above and beyond what would normally be expected. In doing so, Dion brought credit to himself and the sport and portrayed a genuine consideration for others.
In 2004, the Award was presented to Adam Tipping who was competing at a Multiclub Super Sprint at Oran Park in September 2004 when an historic 1965 Ford Cortina rolled. The body of the car suffered extensive damage and a split fuel tank resulted in a fire, threatening driver Hilton Bennet’s life. Being the first immediate following competitor, Adam stopped and extracted Bennet from the burning vehicle before FIV Rescue arrived. Due to his prompt actions, neither Bennet nor his rescuer suffered fire related injuries.
At Baskerville in March of 1986, two cars touched accidentally. One crashed and caught fire. The driver was unable to release the seat belt. The other driver, 17-year-old Matthew Springer, stopped his car and immediately went to the aid of the trapped driver. Without regard for his own safety and after having been beaten back by flames and heat initially, he succeeded in removing the door from the car, unbuckled the driver and dragged him out of the fire. His courage has been recognised by other authorities. The sport has paid tribute by conferring upon him this Award.
When Australia was granted a round of the World Formula 1 Championship for its 1985 Grand Prix, CAMS needed to put together the most competent race management and organisation team available. A cornerstone of that team, and the organisation of the very successful race meeting, was Peter Nelson who was appointed Race Secretary. This high point of his career came after 20 years in the sport with Phillip Island Auto Racing Club, first at Phillip Island, and subsequently as the provider of the administration team at Calder.
Ed Van der Weide and Robert England
The second and third Awards were made to Ed Van der Weide and Robert England, fire and flag marshal respectively, following an incident at Oran Park on 12 April, 1981. On that occasion a car had crashed and was engulfed in flames, the unconscious driver still inside. By their prompt action in attacking the fire and eliminating further risk to the driver, Messrs Van der Weide and England prevented a serious incident turning to tragedy.
The first Donald Thomson Award was presented to Robert Hockley in 1979, who was a scrutineer at the Bathurst race meeting in 1978. As refueling operations on a car were completed, spilt fuel ignited, and the clothes of a mechanic caught fire. Mr Hockley pushed the burning man to the ground and tore the burning clothes from him. In doing so, he himself received severe burns to both arms and hands. There is no doubt that his actions reduced the severity of the injuries sustained by the mechanic.