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Friday, April 19, 2024

Keelan O’Brien shoots for the stars

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WHITSUNDAY Regional Council has voted to sponsor $5,000 cash to assist Keelan O’Brien to further advance his skills and motorsport career, in 2022 and 2023.

Since the age of seven, Keelan O’Brien has been competing in motor vehicle racing and now, at the age of 17, he is the youngest and the only motorsports competitor from the Whitsundays, in the Excel and Toyota 86 series.

Keelan’s passion for the sport manifested at the age of four, when he witnessed his very first live race. From there he, like so many other children, grew fond of go karting, thus beginning his racing career.

Since he started competing, Keelan has placed in multiple state-wide club meets, local championships, CQ titles, NQ titles and in the top 10 in the Queensland Championships.

Council provided financial support for Keelan O’Brien in 2021 through bronze level sponsorship of $2,500 cash.

In 2021, Keelan competed in the Bathurst six-hour race, traveling 19 hours by road from the Whitsundays, finishing his Bathurst race as the second fastest first-time competitor, overall fifth fastest up the mountain, and finished 21st out of 56 competitors.

This year, council has contributed a silver level sponsorship of $5,000.

This money contributes to Keelan’s racing career by allowing him to attend the only practice day available, which is over a 1,200km round trip.

Keelan also requires a variety of updated safety equipment, a new helmet fitted with up-to-date communication equipment, along with fireproof race suit, gloves and boots to enter in the Nationals and Bathurst endurance race.

Keelan is also an ambassador for the local charity Horsepower Heroes, raising money and awareness for the prevention of men’s suicide.

Keelan will compete in the Bathurst six-hour Enduro, partnering with Holly Espray in their newly built Toyota 86, in April 2023.

Holly is one of only a few young female drivers, and a top five competitor in the Queensland Excels series.

In return for sponsorship, council will have its logo on various panels of the two cars (rally and circuit), as well as digital media exposure and podium mentions.

Council voted in favour of the sponsorship unanimously.

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