Couple's lifetime of wonderful service honoured
A COUPLE whose first date was to a karting race has been recognised almost 60 years later for their lifetime of service to the sport.
Ipswich Kart Club officials Alf and Maureen Capri were named as joint winners of this year's Speedcafe.com Spirit of Speed Volunteer of the Year award, one of the nation's most prestigious.
The couple attended a sold-out CAMS Australian Motorsport Hall of Fame dinner at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre last Friday.
Almost every weekend for about 60 years the couple have served to promote the growth of karting in Ipswich.
Maureen, 78, is the Ipswich Membership Officer while Alf, 76, officiates as the technical officer at almost every event held at Ipswich and surrounding areas.
Alf was a founding member of Karting in Queensland in 1958 and met his wife Maureen two years later.
He asked her out on a date the next day, where he took her to watch him race at a local track.
Maureen laughs as she looks back on how that pivotal first date would change their lives.
"When he picked me up he arrived in a racing suit and when I went outside I saw a contraption on the back of his car," she said.
"I didn't know what it was but he took me to the track and there were all these other contraptions racing around."
It was an unfamiliar change in environment for Maureen, who until this day still doesn't drive a car.
Alf's racing allowed Maureen to get involved in the administration side of the karting.
She was Queensland State secretary for 18 years in a row.
Since Alf hung up the helmet in the 1990s he has been instrumental in developing the technical side of the sport.
Both are life members of Karting Australia, Karting Queensland and the Ipswich Kart Club.
"The club has just gone from strength to strength," Maureen said.
"We are the largest kart club in Queensland and potentially have more members than any other kart club in Australia."
Its 600 members are the latest in decades of drivers who have raced at the club, including Bathurst 1000 winner and Supercars driver Chaz Mostert.
"Most of the Supercars drivers come through karting," Maureen said.
The couple will be back at the circuit next weekend.
"We love the sport," she said.
"We don't do anything else."
As the winners of the award, the Capris receive a boxed trophy, a $2000 travel voucher to be used for motorsport business or pleasure, and $1000 worth of Michelin performance tyres for their road car.
Speedcafe.com founder Brett Murray said the award was designed to "reward people of the quality of Alf and Maureen Capri".
"They are the epitome of what being a motorsport volunteer is all about and are simply a first-class team that has dedicated themselves to the sport at the grass-roots level," he said.
"With more than 80,000 motorsport officials and volunteers across the country, there is no shortage of dedicated candidates to choose from and Alf and Maureen are a couple of rippers."