Holden victory reminds family of Ben

BEN Aherne would have been celebrating last Sunday when his beloved Holden won the Bathurst 1000 for the fourth year running.

Instead, for those who knew the 30-year-old Latrobe man, the race became a memorial.

Mr Aherne was shot dead in Devonport on October 8 last year.

The man who killed him, Ulverstone's John Clements, 46, then turned the gun on himself.

One year later Mr Aherne's family are still coming to terms with that tragic day.

On Sunday, family and friends of Mr Aherne, known to most as "Bob", gathered at his parent's house at Latrobe to pay tribute to the happy, kind and genuine man they had lost.

Ruth Aherne said her car- mad son would have been "over the moon" to see Holden win again.

"Holden was the only car in the world, according to Ben," Mrs Aherne said.

"And yet his little ute was a Toyota Stout, so work that out."

That ute helped Mr Aherne earn his title of "The Burnout King" and made him a recognisable face at the Powercruise burnout competition.

"He used to draw the crowds in it, he loved it," Mrs Aherne said.

Mr Aherne's brother, Jason, and best mate, Shaun Leonard, have taken the Stout to a number of meets this year to keep Mr Aherne's passion alive.

"They just wanted to do it as a tribute to Ben and his car, because that was what he loved," Mrs Aherne said.

"His friends have been absolutely marvellous.

"We have all been there for one another, all through last year."

Mrs Aherne said Mr Aherne would do "absolutely anything" to help a friend.

"He was always there for anyone that needed him," she said.

"He was always laughing, had a smile on his face, and he loved life.

"And it's a damned shame that it was taken away from him."

Mr Aherne and girlfriend Christina Rowlands were shot when they went to the aid of a woman reported to be Mr Clements ex-partner on Watkinson Street, Devonport.

Miss Rowlands, 24, was seriously injured and spent three weeks in hospital.

A spokesman for the corner's office said an investigation was being conducted and the coroner was reviewing the files.

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