International off road superstar Toby Price, West Australian rally stalwart Ross Tapper and the late Maurice Smith have received recognition of the highest order for their contributions to motorsport with all three awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
All deserving recipients of the award, the three have created a long-lasting legacy within their respective areas of the sport.
For Tapper, his endless contributions to West Australian rally have been part of an impressive career spanning 45 years.
An experienced Clerk of Course with more than 250 events under his belt, Tapper has been in the hot seat in a vast range of disciplines at national, state and club level.
The 63-year-old’s most notable work lies within rally where he has been a Clerk of Course for at least one RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship or state level round in Western Australia every year since 1978.
Tapper has also been running popular Perth based tarmac rally Targa West for the past 16 years, sat on the WA Rally Advisory panel for 12 years, has had three stints as WA Car Club President over 20 years, was named as the 2015 WA Official of the year, inducted into the Australia Hall of Fame and given Motorsport Australia life membership.
“I feel very humbled and equally very pleased that someone from a non-mainstream sport can be recognised for their contribution to a sport they love,” Tapper said.
“Running rallies is not a one-man-show and I certainly couldn’t have done any of this without the friendship and support of many officials, competitors and service crews, and especially my number one supporter, my wife Jan.
“What makes it so rewarding are the friendships formed, many that have lasted decades and continue on to this day. That, and bringing together a gazillion moving parts that make up a motorsport event – approvals, competitors, officials, all of it, and overseeing everything so events run safely and smoothly.”
While Tapper has made his achievements as an official, Price has been a star competitor for many years, claiming a number of accolades on the bike.
Price’s success behind the wheel is no secret to Australia with the Queenslander having won the prestigious Dakar Rally on two occasions – his most recent being in 2019 when he won the endurance rally with a broken hand.
The KTM driver is also a six-time winner of the Tatts Finke Desert Race on the bike and won the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in 2018.
Although he has forged his reputation as one of the world’s best off road riders, Price has been spending lots of time recently in the trophy truck as he looks to make the transition into a full time driver in the future.
“Honoured to be awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division today for service to Motorsport,” Price wrote via social media.
“Blown away to be on this list, it’s crazy… thanks so much everyone for your support of what I do!”
The final motorsport recipient to be awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia is the late Maurice Smith, who was honoured for his work to both his local community and to motorsport.
Having been a state tribunal chairman for more than two decades, the Light Car club member made a name for himself as a well-respected Clerk of Course at Sandown Raceway for many years.
Out of the sport, Maurice also held a number of administration roles where he dedicated lots of time and effort to help those within his Kempsey community.
Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca paid tribute to all three recipients for their recognitions.
“On behalf of Motorsport Australia, I would like to congratulate Ross, Toby and Maurice for receiving the OAM,” Arocca said.
“All three are very deserving recipients as they have been fantastic ambassadors for the sport and to have anyone honoured on a national scale is brilliant for the sport.”
“All three are very deserving recipients as they have been fantastic ambassadors for motorsport and to have anyone honoured on a national scale is brilliant for the sport.”