Barry Keen has been appointed Patron of the Southland Sports Car Club.
Keen becomes just the fourth patron in the club’s seventy-one year history following in the footsteps of his good friend Jack Johnstone who passed away last year.
Like the past club patron’s Keen has a long and significant association with the club and is well respected, and is an ideal choice to become the figurehead of the progressive club that operates Teretonga Park.
It is appropriate that Keen is following Johnstone as the club’s patron as it was Johnstone who introduced Keen to motor racing. Keen’s first car was a Ford 8 Special purchased from Johnstone in 1956. Keen has been a member of the Southland Sports Car Club since that time.
Keen initially competed in beach and grass track racing before contesting an international event at the Ryal Bush road circuit in 1957. At the time Keen was also participating in the working bees organised to build the Teretonga Park circuit and when the track opened in November 1957 Keen was not only a competitor but also a race winner on the opening day’s programme.
Keen soon became well known through his exploits in several cars before he became George Begg’s works driver for several years. During that heady period Keen raced six cars built by the Drummond engineer and drove another Begg in a Flying Lap competition.
After retiring from driving Keen spent many years’ flag marshalling and as a first responder at Teretonga Park as well as contributing at working bees and in 2017 the Southland Sports Car Club made him a Life Member. At the time Keen said he was humbled to be accorded the honour and remarked on the enjoyment he had derived from being a part of the club.
Earlier this year Keen, was presented with a Historic Heritage Award at the Motorsport NZ Awards in Wellington.
The Historic Heritage Awards were instigated in 2014 in recognition of services to historic and classic racing and Keen certainly justifies this prestigious award.
Keen said he was humbled to be named as patron. I am honoured to be the latest patron of the club.