CAMS Official Michelle Gatton has been awarded the 2011 FIA Outstanding Senior Official of the Season.
The FIA introduced a number of awards for exceptional performance by officials who have served the sport in any of the events listed on the FIA International Sporting Calendar. The events range from world championship events such as the FIA Formula One World Championship and the FIA World Rally Championship to hundreds of other non championship International events around the world.
There are a number of categories and candidates are nominated by their respective national sporting authorities, then voting is conducted by a panel formed from the FIA Volunteers and Officials Commission, which met in Geneva in November to decide the award recipients for 2011. The "Senior Official" category was open to all Clerks of Course, Race Directors and Stewards.
Michelle Gatton became involved in rallying in the early 1990’s and later that decade added official’s duties to her involvement in the sport. While her competitive activities came to an end in 2006, Michelle continues to serve with distinction as an official. From 1997 until 2008 she honed her skills and deepened her knowledge of the sport by serving with the Qld Rally Advisory Panel of CAMS. In this role her valuable input and friendly demeanour earned her much praise and recognition.
At the end of an 8 year tenure representing Queensland officials and competitors on the Australian Rally Commission, Michelle became an FIA Observer at numerous Asia-Pacific Rally Championship rounds. By serving at events such as the International Rally of Thailand, Rally Nouvelle and Rally Hokkaido, she gained valuable knowledge of events in the Asia Pacific region.
Her experience, confidence and depth of knowledge mean that she is able to deal with people involved with motor sport at all levels. Currently Michelle is Clerk of Course for Rally Australia, a position she held for the last two events in 2009 and 2011.
Five-time MotoGP World Champion Mick Doohan said in his letter supporting her nomination, “Michelle is a confident, knowledgeable young lady who has a great ability with volunteer officials, a very strong sense of public duty and demonstrated an awareness of the numerous very complicated safety issues that go with the conduct of a major motor sports event.”
Garry Connelly, Deputy President of the FIA Institute said of the award, "It is a wonderful achievement for Australian motor sport that in the inaugural year of the new FIA Awards for Outstanding Officials, our own Michelle Gatton has been selected as 2011 FIA Senior Official of the Season. This is further evidence that CAMS continues to develop and nurture officials who are well and truly capable of holding their own on the world stage. It also is a great tribute to Michelle's leadership skills and ability to relate to both domestic and international stakeholders at international level."
The top honour was the Jacky Ickx award for the Most Outstanding Official. Sadly it was posthumously awarded to Spanish official Andrew Mas after he passed away shortly before the ceremony. The honour was bestowed on Mas for his incredible courage at the 1970 Jarma Grand Prix when he pulled Jacky Ickx from his burning car after an incident on the first lap of the race.