Vale: Graham Watson

Graham Watson, owner of Ralt Australia and a big supporter of Aussie open-wheeler and young driver talent, passed away a few days ago as a result of complications after surgery. "Kart Racing Magazine" did an in depth story on Graham in Issue 3, showing his many achievements. He was not only a championship winner himself but also a maker of champions. Val Kovacic sent us the following:

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The sad news came through 2 days ago that Graham Watson, owner of the RALT Australia team and a renowned 'spotter' and developer of young driving talent, passed away last night after an operation to remove a stomach ulser that developed a non malignant tumor. Unfortunately, after what appeared to be a successful operation, Graham passed away while recovering in hospital some days after the surgery.

Wattie has played a massive role in developing and supporting the careers of many young drivers from both Australia and New Zealand. The list - including Scott Dixon, Will Power and in recent times over the past 18 months he put much effort with two young drivers in James Kovacic and Tom Tweedie. His achievements have long been a testament to his abilities to not only spot talent, but help them along a path to a professional career of the sport. Graham has developed youngsters from karts to the top echelons of motorsport, he will be sorely missed by all.

In his passing, Open Wheel racing - in particular 'wings and slicks' racing - has lost a massive supporter. Wattie was not a rich man but his support came by bringing an astonishing amount of amazing talent though the ranks, and contributing masses of knowledge, enthusiasm and support to the series in which he was involved.

He served on the administrations of both Formula Holden and, recently, Formula 3, and was continually pushing for the continued growth of the sport in Australia. Graham was also deeply involved in championing the cause of reducing the racing age requirements in Australia in recent times to conform with other nations and CAMS have since approved such a change.

People like this are few and far between and as such it is a massive blow to lose someone like him for everyone in the sport, both professionally and personally.

The paddock of the next Formula 3 and race is going to be a mighty strange place without Graham's figure, customary headset on, kneeling next to his latest charge trying to coax the most out of another talented young driver.

Mighty strange indeed. Rest in peace, Wattie.

In the meantime, may I suggest you visit The site has not been updated for a few years but there are some wonderful memories there that detail just how enthusiastic he was about the sport and 'his' drivers.