Off Road photographer wins Photo of the Year

Off Road photographer Andrew Eaton has had one of his photos from the 2020 Black Diamond Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race win the Motorsport Australia Photograph of the Year:

Eaton was one of six individuals to be recognised for Motorsport Australia’s 2020 Media Awards, following a record number of nominations across several categories.

Despite there being less events held in 2020 than in previous years, the Australian motorsport media as a whole worked tirelessly throughout the year to cover what was an unprecedented time for the sport.

The following award recipients have now been confirmed:

Motorsport Australia Photograph of the Year: Andrew Eaton, Dakar Press Team Australia
Judges’ comments: Andrew’s photo from the Motorsport Australia Off Road Cup in Kalgoorlie captured a unique perspective on off road racing, and highlights what makes motorsport so exciting and awe-inspiring – all in a single frame.

Motorsport Australia Photographer of the Year: Dirk Klynsmith, Dirk Klynsmith Photography
Judges’ comments: Dirk’s impressive 2020 portfolio was the standout nomination in a very strong field of talented photographers. Dirk also announced his retirement from full time photography in 2020, with the multi-award winner deserving of yet another honour.

Motorsport Australia Best Use of Digital Media: Aaron Noonan – V8 Sleuth
Judges’ comments: Across a range of different platforms, Aaron and the V8 Sleuth team provided a terrific mix of breaking news, podcasts and feature stories that saw significant online growth to the V8 Sleuth channels. The site also broke its own exclusive stories and has a large and engaged online audience.

Motorsport Australia Story of the Year: Mark Fogarty, Auto Action – ‘Why Penske quit Supercars’
Judges’ comments: This story provided great insight into a major talking point in the Supercars’ paddock. It was a story that pulled no punches and gave readers a superb understanding of the situation. It provided plenty of discussion points for the sport as a whole.

Motorsport Australia Journalist of the Year: Mat Coch, Speedcafe
Judges’ comments: Mat worked tirelessly across 2020 to produce a number of well-researched pieces that highlighted a strong understanding of the state of play across a range of motorsport disciplines. It was evident that Mat has a strong network of contacts across motorsport which helped inform his body of work.

Special Award for Outstanding Media Contribution in Challenging Circumstances: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics
Judges’ comments: It was determined that a new award was necessary for Mark’s outstanding efforts in 2020. With COVID-19 limiting the number of attendees at events, there were many Supercars events where Mark was the sole photographer producing work for a wide range of outlets. The pressure to shoot and meet the needs of so many different publications was immense and Mark produced high-quality work in a challenging environment, which is certainly worthy of recognition.

Judges were impressed by the quantity and quality of the nomination received across the categories, highlighting the important role the media played in taking fans, competitors and stakeholders ‘behind the curtain’ in a year where many fans were limited to watching the action through their TV, computer screen or mobile device.

Traditionally announced at the National Awards ceremony in February, ongoing uncertainty around borders and event restrictions meant an in-person ceremony was unable to go ahead this year.

Motorsport Australia President Andrew Fraser congratulated the award recipients and thanked all those who took the time to nominate.

“Once again the judges were impressed by the extensive work of the motorsport media throughout 2020 and impressed by the standard of nominations received,” Fraser said.

“The high calibre of nominations didn’t make the judging easy, but it goes to show how strong the motorsport media industry is in.

“Congratulations to all our Media Award recipients on their efforts throughout the past 12 months, in a year where journalism, photography and digital media presented our nominees with some very unique challenges. The innovation and hard work that was nominated highlights the outstanding efforts of our working media, from grassroots through to our biggest international categories.”

The judging panel also determined that a new award category will be created in 2021, with nominations to be accepted for the Best PR/Team Media Campaign – to highlight the work of those creating content and promoting the sport across the country and around the world. More information will be available when nominations open in October this year.