John Fergus, a racing champion with multiple titles, businessman and Vice President/Treasurer of the RRDC, was named the 2022 recipient of the RRDC Bob Akin Award. He was honored at the annual Road Racing Drivers Club members’ dinner on January 25, prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Each recipient of this honor, considered the top prize in motorsports for amateur, vintage/historic or semi-professional drivers, is selected by Akin’s son Bobby, RRDC members Brian Redman and Judy Stropus, and approved by RRDC president Bobby Rahal.

The distinctive trophy was conceived by the RRDC in 2003 to honor the memory of longtime RRDC member and past president Bob Akin, who lost his life following a testing accident in 2002.

It was designed by Steuben Glass in Corning, New York, and is given to a driver who best exemplifies the extraordinary qualities and characteristics that Akin represented, including a passion for motorsports and automobiles, a high level of sportsmanship and fair play, and who has contributed to the sport of motor racing and the community at large.

The primary award, etched with the names of the recipients, is displayed at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, New York. Each honoree receives a smaller replica.

John Fergus (center) accepts the RRDC Bob Akin Award from Bobby Akin and Judy Stropus, the Akin Award Committee Chairman. [Wes Duenkel photo]

John Fergus is often called a “natural,” as he’s earned championships at an early age and continued his success primarily on an amateur level throughout his adulthood. He began his racing career in SCCA Solo II, claiming National Championships in 1977, ’78 and ’79, before moving into SCCA “club” racing in 1980 and being named SCCA Rookie of the Year in his first season.

He then entered the Pro Sports 2000 series in 1985, taking the overall titles in 1988 and ’89, becoming the winningest driver in Pro Sports 2000 history. After moving to IMSA in 1991 he grabbed the GTU championship the same year. 

Fergus has driven for Ford, Dodge, Oldsmobile, Porsche and BMW factory teams in IMSA endurance racing, sometimes sharing seats with such teammates as Derek Bell, Tommy Kendall, Mark Martin and Robby Gordon. 

He added eight more Sports 2000 championships to his resume in 1999, ’00, ’01, ’02, ’04, ’07, ’08 and ’11, and was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2020. Currently, he serves as a Race Director for SRO-America.

Off the track, Fergus started his own development company in the late 1980s, serves on the advisory board of a number of organizations and is an instrument-rated pilot. He lives mostly in Naples, Florida, with wife Ronnie. His son Corey is a third-generation race-car driver, RRDC member and champion. Fergus has also served as Vice President/Treasurer of the RRDC since 2008.

“A heartfelt thank you to the RRDC for continuing to honor my father in this special way. It means a lot to our family,” said Bobby Akin. “This year’s winner of the Akin award is someone we know well. He’s a dedicated member of the RRDC team, who frankly has one of the most thankless tasks one could ask for.”

As the RRDC Vice President/Treasurer, Fergus handles day-to-day financial duties and manages The Mark Donohue Foundation, which supports the RRDC’s popular initiative.

“John won the IMSA GTU championship in 1991 and was chosen to drive for some top factory teams such as Porsche, Dodge, Ford and BMW,” continued Akin. “I know first-hand how fast he was while driving for the factory Dodge team. I was his teammate, but he was on a different level!

“He’s an SCCA Hall of Fame inductee and his love of racing continues to this day as he’s worked as race director for the SRO since 2020 and works with the RRDC as the Vice President/Treasurer and ‘voice of reason.’

“Outside of the track, John has been a part of a very successful business specializing in commercial development that has projects all over the United States.

“The Akin Award was created to celebrate people who love the sport, are pretty darned good at it and, most importantly, are good persons. I can think of no better example than the RRDC’s own John Fergus.”

“I knew Bob,” said Fergus. “He embodies what the RRDC is all about. He was a very competitive champion driver on the track, and, more importantly, an even greater person off the track. That’s why the award is named after Bob, because he was the guy.

“Bob was a pal of my uncle Bob, whom I was very close to, and I knew all about the RRDC. I knew about this award because I’ve been involved with the club. For me, this is the award because it’s about the passion of the sport, and what you give to the sport. And it’s a great thank you to me and I really appreciate it.”

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