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Wednesday, May 22, 2024


SUPERCARS team owners Betty Klimenko and Ryan Story have been appointed members of the Order of Australia (AM) as part of the annual Queen’s Birthday Honours.

They have been recognised for their service both within and outside of motorsport.

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Klimenko is the colourful owner of Erebus Motorsport, which was founded as a GT racing outfit in 2010 and won the Bathurst 12 Hour in ’13.

In 2013 Erebus also moved into the Supercars Championship, having bought Stone Brothers Racing and taken on the new Car of the Future era with customer Mercedes-AMG equipment.

Klimenko became the first female Supercars team owner and, in 2017, the first female team owner to win the Bathurst 1000, a year after Erebus switched to Holden.

An ambassador for Dare to be Different, which encourages female participation in motorsport, Klimenko has also been recognised for services to charitable organisations.

She is a benefactor of the Steve Waugh Foundation, Cure for Cancer Foundation, Feel the Magic and Hogs for the Homeless, amongst other initiatives.

Klimenko and Lee Holdsworth celebrate victory at Winton in 2014. Pic: Supplied

Klimenko is also Joint Deputy Chair of the Terrace Tower Group property and investment empire.

“What made it even more special is that I remember when my father got his,” said Klimenko, daughter of the late Westfield co-founder John Saunders, of the Queen’s Birthday honour.

“I remember sitting there thinking to myself, you have to do something special to be standing there and receiving a medal, and now I’m getting the same honour he did.

“It was instilled in me at a young age to give back and to make a difference and it makes me very proud I could earn this honour in my own right.”

Klimenko declared receiving the accolade as “up there with (winning) Bathurst”, adding: “I didn’t just open a lot of doors for women in motorsport, I broke them.

“I wanted them to be left open for other women to come through and I have shown that it is possible to be a woman and receive one of the highest accolades in the country for the sport.

“It is for the same reason why we run the Erebus Academy, to give people that would otherwise have the chance to race in this category, the chance.”

Like Klimenko, Story has used his platform as a Supercars team owner over the last decade to help the community.

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Having grown up as a fan of racing legend Dick Johnson, Story became a minor sponsor of Johnson’s eponymous team in 2011 before stepping up as co-owner in 2013.

Under various titles he has been DJR’s leader ever since, including through its recent run of three Supercars drivers’ championship titles (2018-2020) and 2019 Bathurst 1000 victory.

Story is also the chair of the Australian Motor Racing Commission and a board member of Racing Together, which aims to encourage Indigenous Australians into motorsport.

Away from the track Story is an ambassador for Camp Quality and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, raising funds and awareness for both charities.

He’s also a supporter of the Progress Association, Historical Society and Country Fire Service in his hometown of Yorketown on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

Ryan Story with DJR drivers Anton De Pasquale and Will Davison. Pic: Supplied

“Ryan is a man who puts others first and himself second,” said Dick Johnson in reaction to Story’s honour.

“He has done so much not only for motorsport, but the community with his charity work with Camp Quality, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Racing Together programme.

“The work he has done tirelessly behind the scenes has got the team to where it is today and all the success we have had, he has been a big part of it.

“Congratulations Ryan, it is an honour to partner with you on and off the track.”

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