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Garry Connelly has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours list by being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia.

Dallas Dogger, from ARC Media, spoke to Garry to find out what his AM means to him.

"Garry Connelly started in rallying in 1967 when a mate asked him during a break at Uni to come and help out on the weekend to “do a control”. That was the “Rally of the Hills” run by Hills District Sporting Car Club. Garry soon joined the HDSCC and started competing – a familiar story for many of us to this day.

It was a start to a 40 plus year career in rallying and motorsport that has taken the then young Uni student to the very top of rallying administration.

“Most of my rallying success, and for that matter business success, can be put down to one thing - being part of a team. I can think of very few sports where so much teamwork is needed. My award recognises the efforts not only by me, but hundreds of others who are part of the team that make motorsport happen,” Connelly said.

“I see the award as recognition by the wider community for motorsport. 1988 saw the first Rally Australia and it was also the first time we had an Asian Pacific round as the new FIA Championship was only just getting off the ground. In those days we had hundreds come and help out; many were not even members of the local car club. For many it was the start to their interest in motorsport and many clubs over the years have benefited from membership from helpers who were mates of crews and organisers.”

40 years is a long time for anyone to be associated with a sport they love. Connelly had his time as a navigator in rallying and he has sat beside some of the best in the business, like Barry Ferguson, Joginder Singh and Kenjiro Shinozuka, and he has competed in rallies like the famous Southern Cross Rally. His association with car clubs is still fostered by the help needed to run Repco Rally Australia, our round of the World Rally Championship in September.

“We already have hundreds of dedicated car club officials and we will need more, but you can bet that many officials will be those that we don’t yet know and I hope they enjoy helping out and, in turn, if they like it, join their local club," he adds.

Connelly has seen our sport grow and has been instrumental in that growth via his participation in various panels and CAMS committees for many of those years.

One decision he had nothing to do with was the change of regulations from Group G to Group A - he is often criticised for the change of regulations which he was not involved in. He is proud of his team of helpers over the years as the Clerk of the Course for Rally Australia, and some of the systems pioneered in that rally have helped make many other events safer and more professional for competitors and officials.

Connelly is Chairman of the organising committee for Repco Rally Australia. He is also involved with the CAMS honours system to help ensure motorsport gets the recognition in the community it richly deserves. He serves with the FIA on various committees and is Australia’s FIA delegate and a member of the World Motorsport Council.

He also finds the time to work in a successful financial planning practice in Brisbane.

The rallying community is one of friendship and competitive spirit where anyone can compete and test themselves against the world's best, and that's why Garry Connelly's award is richly deserved. He has made not only that dream come true for many Australian competitors, but lifted the professionalism of world rallying by his efforts."

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