When Phil ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson first came across the Aussie Racing Cars category more than two decades ago, he fell in love and vowed to dedicate his life as an official to it.
Some time ago, Wilkinson unfortunately lost one of his legs, restricting him to a wheelchair, which may have prevented some from staying involved. But not Wilkinson, who continued to effortlessly volunteer for the category.
Now, 20 years later, Aussie Racing Cars has repaid him for all those years of hard work and dedication.
During the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Round at Queensland Raceway, Wilkinson was presented with a brand new electric wheelchair aiming to make his life easier when working at the track.
The new wheelchair, which was presented to the 60-year-old by Team Dunston, justified his love affair with the category and the camaraderie with all those involved.
“I saw the little Aussie Race Cars at a track day at Orrong Park about 20 years ago and I decided I wanted to get involved cause they were the greatest thing I had ever seen as far as a development category for CAMS,” Wilkinson said.
“What I have gotten out of this category is a lifetime of friendships and support and when I unfortunately lost my leg, they stood beside me 100 per cent.
“I don’t regret it for a day and it’s why 20 years later, I am still here.”
Wilkinson’s life in motor sport began when he was a young country boy playing in the small Queensland town of Warwick before some time working for the legendary John Goss OAM inspired him to make his own mark in motor sport.
While his life as a competitor was short lived, Wilkinson’s successful time as a CAMS official has seen him work up the food chain to his current role of Aussie Racing Cars technical commissioner.
After 35 years of officiating, an inspirational Wilkinson admits he has sometimes found it difficult to continue
“A couple of times when I thought this was all too hard, I am going to pull the plug, they inspired me to keep going,” Wilkinson added.
“I just want to say thank you to Aussie Race Cars and people like Team Dunston and CAMS who have kept me motivated and allowed me to keep going.”
An integral part of Team Dunston and the special gift to Phil was driver Madison Dunston, who was inspired by Wilkinson and proud of the difference that the wheelchair will make to his life.
“To see how much ‘Wilko’ does within the category is incredible and to give back to him is such a great feeling,” Madison said.
“He doesn’t really get much, so giving him something of this size, it’s nice to see how overjoyed he is with the gift.”
Madison’s father, Dale was also on hand during the presentation and was key in organising the wheelchair.
“Without the hard work of the CAMS officials, volunteers and everyone who puts these events together, we wouldn’t be here racing,” Dale explained.
“People don’t understand how much work goes on in the background just to allow us to come on weekends and have fun over the weekend.
“It’s just awesome seeing how much ‘Wilko’ gives to the community and he deserves it.”
The Aussie Racing Cars will be part of the Shannons Nationals final round at Sydney Motorsport Park on 21 – 23 September.