The CAMS State Motor Sport Awards evening has been an annual highlight for volunteer official Stephen Lewis and his wife, but neither of them ever expected to walk away with an award of their own.
After 24 years as an official, the Course Marshal was last year recognised as the Castrol South Australian Official of the Year, with the humble South Australian honoured and privileged to receive the award, given the high calibre of officials in the running.
At the age of 18, Lewis’ involvement in motor sport was through karting before trading horsepower for real horses, boating and water skiing.
It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the ceiling contractor discovered officiating, as his then worksite’s safety officer sat down with Lewis over one lunchtime to discuss motor sport.
“We started talking about cars and motor sport and I learnt that he was a member of SAMROA,” Lewis said.
“He mentioned that he was going to a Superkart race meeting that weekend and my ears pricked up having been previously involved in karts.
“I thought that I would like to try my hand on the other side of the fence.”
For a motor sport enthusiast like Lewis it was the start of something special, making lifelong friends along the way as well as enjoying the action up close and personal.
Officiating became a passion for Lewis and the more he volunteered, the more he moved up the ladder becoming a driving force for officials recruitment in South Australian motor sport.
“Motor sport is no different than any other sport, volunteers are always needed,” Lewis added.
“Due to the nature of motor sport, we have a far greater area to cover when you look at some of the lengths of tracks we have here in Australia, so we require a lot more volunteers to successfully run an event.
“Without our volunteers, motor racing would unlikely exist.”
April’s historic opening of The Bend Motorsport Park was a long time coming for Lewis and his home state, and it was something the Course Marshal wanted to be part of.
“I certainly wasn’t going to miss out on being involved with the first race meeting at The Bend,” Lewis explained.
“This the first time the Shannons Nationals have been held in SA since they left Mallala some years ago.
“I was lucky enough to carry on with the position I have fulfilled for the past 16 years, which gave me a first-hand look at the GT and the International circuit so I felt very fortunate.”
After 24 years officiating, and now a recipient of the prestigious Castrol State Motor Sport Official award, the proud official will continue to make a difference in grassroots motor sport.
Published: 7 May, 2018