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Dedication recognised with OAM

Seymour's John Keeffe has been awarded an Order of Australia medal for his service to the motorsport industry and to the community.

JENNA BISHOP January 30, 2014 4:33am

Seymour's John Keeffe has been named as an Order of Australia Medal recipient for his services to the motor sport industry and the community.


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A lifelong passion for the motorsport industry has seen Seymour’s John Keeffe jet across the world to racing events, meeting some of the sport’s most famous faces.

After close to 45 years in the industry, Mr Keeffe’s passion and dedication to the development of motorsport has been recognised with an Order of Australia Medal in this year’s Australia Day awards.

‘‘It’s nice... it’s all a bit humbling really,’’ he said.

The award means Mr Keeffe joins wife Jill, an optometry professor at the University of Melbourne, on the honours list — Mrs Keeffe was awarded an OAM in 2007 for her service to vision impairment.

Mr Keeffe worked as the chief executive of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport, Australia’s peak motorsport governing body for 20 years, and is still involved with the organisation in a voluntary capacity.

He currently serves as the secretary of the Australian Motor Sport Appeal Court, the industry’s equivalent of the High Court and as an international steward for the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile for the Asia Pacific region.

He was also involved in bringing Formula One racing to Australia.

Mr Keeffe said he had been fortunate to work with many wonderful people in a career which so closely suited his motor racing passion.

‘‘I’ve been lucky, life’s dealt me a pretty good hand,’’ he said.

‘‘I have the best job in the world and I get paid to do it.

‘‘I think you’re really lucky if you can wake up in the morning and say ‘hey, I’m going to work, isn’t that great!’’’

Mr Keeffe has also played an instrumental role in community groups after moving to Seymour 15 years ago.

He has been a member of the Rotary Club of Seymour since 2002, and held several positions of responsibility, including president, treasurer and club services director.

Mr Keeffe has also served as a member of the Olinda Fire Brigade, as the chair of the Seymour District Memorial Hospital Board and is the current vice-president of the Seymour Business and Tourism committee.

One of the highlights of working in the industry for Mr Keeffe was being at the forefront of vehicle safety, which was always a paramount part of his role.

‘‘I was responsible for the international racing circuit in Asia and the Pacific, we worked with local groups and track personnel to make sure the track was safe and up to standard,’’ he said.

Mr Keeffe said many of the current safety features in modern cars were taken from developments in motor racing, including tyres, automated gearboxes and laminated windshields.

‘‘Things we were doing in the ’70s and ’80s are now commonplace in the modern car,’’ he said.

His passion for the motor sport industry also saw him compete for fun in rallying and off-road racing events.

‘‘We used to do all our own repair work,’’ he said.

‘‘Now I look under the bonnet of a car, say ‘yeah, right’ and put the bonnet back down again and take it to a garage.’’

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