Life members for sports car club

Southland Sports Car Club members Barry Keen (left) and York Wills were made life members at the club's end-of-season awards night. Photo: Janette Gellatly

TWO life memberships were awarded at the Southland Sports Car Club annual meeting last week.

After a long involvement with the club, spanning about 120 years combined, Barry Keen and York Wills were made life members.

Both competed at the club’s first meeting at Teretonga Park, near Invercargill, in November 1957, and their contributions have continued.

Keen has been a member of the club since 1956 and was synonymous for being the works “Begg” driver from day one.

From the Begg Special, through to the McBegg Sports Car, Keen was Drummond race car constructor George Begg’s chosen driver.

A very quiet achiever in Begg’s not-so reliable cars, being a farmer was a help as some of the cars were quite agricultural in the early days.

Since retiring from the farm and moving to town, Keen has been a regular at club working bees and a great help around Teretonga Park before, during and after major race meetings.

Like Keen, Wills was also one of the few club members who raced at Teretonga Park’s inaugural meeting.

Fifty-nine years later, he also competed at Teretonga Park last November to mark the beginning of the club’s 60th year.

Wills raced for decades in his trusty Triumph TR2 and then progressively raced every car he had owned, including a Mazda, Morris 1100, Vauxhall Victor, Falcon GT and BMW.

These were in the days before roll cages were mandatory and he would drive his vehicles to the track and home again at the end of the meeting.

Wills competed at a lot of standing and flying quarters in the early days and had the uncanny ability to predict his exact times before he had completed them.

Wills has also been a regular at working bees throughout his many decades as a member of the club.

After being presented with their awards, both Keen and Wills remarked on the enjoyment they had derived from being a part of the club.