After an extensive career in motor sport including a background in Formula 1, South Australian Paul West shares his motor sport story and how he and his son, Jamie, got involved in becoming CAMS Officials as Bronze Scrutineers.
The duo, who are both aspiring to become Gold Scrutineers, attended an Officials Expo and discovered the world of officiating in motor sport.
We caught up with Paul and asked him why he got involved and about his intriguing background in motor sport.
CAMS: First of all, what sparked your interest in attending the CAMS Officials Expo in Adelaide?
Jamie and I had talked about joining CAMS for a few months leading up to the Expo, as we both share an interest in motor sport. Rob Thiry's [2016 CAMS Official of the Year] son is in the same Little Athletics club as Jamie, and Rob encouraged us to attend.
CAMS: After attending the Expo, what had you sold to sign up and volunteer at motor sport events?
PW: We were always going to join, attending the Expo made it easier as we could do the General Officials module and then it was just a case of organising attendance at a scrutineering session to get the paperwork signed off. I found out at the Expo that one of the Senior Scrutineers, Alan Pickstock, was someone who I'd worked with a few years ago so that made joining SAMSSA easier as well, as he knew my background.
CAMS: What is your previous background in motor sport?
PW: Okay, this could take a while! I first became interested in motor sport when I was about 7-8 having a Scalextric for a birthday present. I started working on the weekends for a Formula Ford 1600 team in 1976, and even managed to take part in a race at Mallory Park in June 1977 where I finished second (from last). My intention was to work as a mechanic in motor sport, which I did full time in 1978 for a Formula Ford team called Scorpion Racing.
I stayed there until 1984, won a few races and had my driver win the 1979 'Dunlop Star of Tomorrow Championship' in 1979.
From '85-86 I worked at Chevron Cars mostly on historic sports cars and a few Group C sports cars. From '87-88 I worked at G.A Motorsport that ran cars in the European F3000 Championship, and I was lucky enough to have my driver, Julian Bailey become the first British driver to win a F3000 race when he won at Brands Hatch in '87.
From March 1989 to March 2002 I worked at Williams Grand Prix Engineering. The first year as a mechanic on the test team and then from 1990-2002 on the race team. Drivers I worked for included Riccardo Patrese, Damon Hill, Heinz Harald Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher.
From '01 to leaving I worked in the museum workshop getting cars ready for Goodwood, etc.
I was fortunate to be at Williams during their last time of being consistently successful, and it was mostly an enjoyable time there. My personal tally was 25 wins, one Drivers' Championship and five Constructors' Championships.
When I moved back to Adelaide I was involved in motor sport for a while, including four Classic Adelaide's and one Bathurst 24 Hour. But not much until joining CAMS.
CAMS: Unreal! What's it like now working alongside your son Jamie at the track?
PW: Working with Jamie is good fun, he has always been interested in cars (I can't think why!)
He was very quick to understand the rules and regulations for doing Scrutineering, I quite often refer to him if I am unsure of a regulation myself.
It's good to have an interest we both share and can do together. We don't always work on the same team at events as he's young and fit, the other Scrutineers like to use him for getting to the hard-to-reach areas of the cars and running for messages etc.
CAMS: To recap on your experience so far, is there anything else you would like to add?
PW: Jamie took part in the New Officials program at this year's Adelaide 500, and had a great time. He got to experience different parts of being a CAMS Official, being trackside and seeing how race control works (although the ride in the Course Car was the best for him!)
It was very well organised by Rob Thiry and Lisette Hutchins plus the Officials that took the groups around. Hopefully it will happen next year, Jamie has some friends that are interested ... he's also told them about the upcoming Expo.
CAMS Officials Expo
Are you interested in learning more about the various skills and disciplines available by becoming a CAMS Official? The South Australian Officials Expo takes place at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds on 9 July.