Neal Bates wins Peter Brock medal

Shepparton News - Shepparton Car Weekly - - SHEPPARTON CAR WEEKLY -

Four-time Aus­tralian rally cham­pion Neal Bates has won the pres­ti­gious Peter Brock Medal for his con­tri­bu­tion to mo­tor sport in the community.

The award from the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Aus­tralian Mo­tor Sport (CAMS) pro­vides Bates with a unique dou­ble in mo­tor sport.

Bates be­comes the only per­son to re­ceive both the Brock Medal and the Phil Irv­ing Award for en­gi­neer­ing ex­cel­lence.

Toy­ota, Bates’ long-term com­mer­cial part­ner through­out his pro­fes­sional ca­reer, has joined in con­grat­u­lat­ing him on achieve­ment. CAMS inau­gu­rated the Brock Medal in 2011 and the Irv­ing Award in 1994 to hon­our the two great con­trib­u­tors to Aus­tralian mo­tor sport.

Brock was four times Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pion and nine times Bathurst en­durance win­ner while Irv­ing was the de­signer of the mul­ti­ple world cham­pi­onship win­ning Repco Brab­ham en­gine.

‘‘I was over­whelmed when I re­ceived the Irv­ing Award in 2007,’’ Bates, 48, of Can­berra said.

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‘‘The Brock Medal was to­tally un­ex­pected and in­cred­i­bly hum­bling.’’

Bates won the Phil Irv­ing Award for the work of his Toy­ota team in de­sign­ing and build­ing a se­ries of Corolla rally cars ca­pa­ble of in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. The Corol­las won three Aus­tralian ti­tles, once driven by Bates and co­driver Co­ral Tay­lor and twice by hus­band and wife team Si­mon and Sue Evans. The Peter Brock Medal has pre­vi­ously recog­nised the con­tri­bu­tion of two V8 Su­per­car stars, the late Ja­son Richards and last year’s re­cip­i­ent Craig Lown­des.

Bates and Brock pro­vide a mir­ror im­age of mo­tor sport suc­cess in Aus­tralia.

Brock won his four na­tional ti­tles on tarmac and oc­ca­sion­ally com­peted suc­cess­fully on gravel, in­clud­ing win­ning the 1979 Repco Round Aus­tralia Trial.

Bates won his four ti­tles on gravel and com­peted oc­ca­sion­ally on tarmac, in­clud­ing class victory in the Bathurst 1000 and win­ning Targa Tas­ma­nia.

Bates’ as­so­ci­a­tion with Brock pre­dates his rise to pro­fes­sional promi­nence when he won the Toy­ota Star Search com­pe­ti­tion as part of the Aus­tralian Tour­ing Car Cham­pi­onship in 1979.‘‘Three years prior to Star Search Peter in­vited me along with a group of young driv­ers to test his Com­modore at Calder Park — not so much to be­come team mates but to en­cour­age us,’’ Bates said.

Bates has sought to em­u­late Brock in giv­ing back to the sport.

He and co-driver Tay­lor have par­tic­i­pated in driver ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams and men­tored young driv­ers, in­clud­ing Tay­lor’s daugh­ter Molly who last year won the in­au­gu­ral Euro­pean Rally Cham­pi­onship Ladies’ Tro­phy.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant to be able to pass on the knowl­edge,’’ Bates said.

Neal Bates and Co­ral Tay­lor cel­e­brate victory in the 2008 Aus­tralian Rally Cham­pi­onship

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