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nickygrist14 (254)17 year old Sam Bilham from Bingley in West Yorkshire will make the trip to Shropshire next weekend as he tackles the seventh round of the BTRDA Gravel Rally Championship, The Eventsigns Woodpecker Rally. Driving his usual Nissan Micra in the Rally First category, Bilham will be looking to add yet another maximum point’s score to his already healthy lead in the 1.0litre series. With the season heading towards its conclusion in just three rallies time, Bilham will head to the event with a clear objective to stay out of trouble and increase his points stake in the hotly contested championship.

Still in just his first year of gravel rallying, the Next Big Step supported driver has already made waves in the popular BTRDA National championship.  Not only is he leading the small capacity class, but he is also a strong second position in the overall Rally First series against his more powerful 1400cc rivals. Throw into the mix another second overall in the Junior honours and Bilham has shown consistency, speed and a mature approach this year which has netted him some impressive results.

Co-driven once again by Graham Wild, Bilham will need to call on his experiences of the past eight months of competitive action to achieve his goal this weekend. “It’s probably going to be one of the toughest rallies I`ll compete in all year” he explains.  “The pressure will be on us throughout the rally to make sure that not only we get to the end, but we bag some top points for our championship hopes too.  It will certainly be a good test for me; the nerves will certainly be tingling a little on the start line of the first stage on Saturday morning.”

As the summer break for the BTRDA series draws to an end with this weekend’s event, Bilham hasn’t been relaxing too much. A recent return to his roots on the Solway Coast Rally in Scotland resulted in ‘Senior category’ win for the youngster in last year’s car. “I wanted to make sure that I kept my hours up behind the wheel and although it was back on asphalt, it’s all experience for next year” he says. “We still have a chance of winning the asphalt championship in the Junior 1000 championship too so it was a worthwhile trip. I don’t think it will be too hard to get back into ‘gravel mode’ and I really can’t afford to be too conservative on the first few stages so it will be maximum attack from the word GO!”

The Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally is based around Ludlow Racecourse and takes competitors into the forests of Shropshire and Wales during the event on Saturday 30th August.  An early morning start is in order for the 160 crews competing with over 44 stages miles ahead of them through the day. The event finishes back at the Ludlow during the afternoon for the prize ceremony.

For more information on Sam and his rallying career, visit http://www.sambilham.co.uk

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