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SamBilham_PR14_9Junior rally star Sam Bilham took a convincing RallyFirst 1.0 litre class win last weekend at the Eventsigns Woodpecker Stages Rally and in doing so also secured the BTRDA RF1.0 title in his first year of gravel rallying. Driving his usual Nissan Micra with co-driver Graham Wild alongside him, Bilham netted a runaway victory in the Ludlow based event which offered 44 slippery miles in the damp forest roads of Shropshire and Powys.

The seventh round of the BTRDA National Rally championship would provide an action packed day for the 160 crews who entered the event with the weather playing a huge part the week beforehand. Bilham would head to the event in the knowledge that a solid result would nett him the RF1.0 title with two rounds of the series to go. But the Next Big Step backed driver didn’t let the pressure get to him and quickly settled into the tricky conditions despite the inevitable pressure.

Any sign of pre-event nerves were soon banished as the Bingley driver built a lead of over 15 seconds on the opening test and was never bettered throughout the six stages, finishing the event with a two minute cushion over his nearest class rival at the finish. “It’s been a fantastic year so far and to win the class title with two rounds to go is a dream come true” says Bilham. “It was really going to be a steep learning curve to jump straight into a full championship on gravel I`ve really been able to grab it with both hands and pretty much dominate the class all year long. To win again here in Ludlow in these conditions was a good result too and will help our championship aspirations in the BTRDA Junior category”.

But his challenge does not stop there as the MSA Academy member also has a chance of securing the overall BTRDA Junior and Rally First title and with two rounds to go, is second place in both championships. “Go back 12 months and I’d be overjoyed to just win the RF1.0 class, but to be in with a shout of winning the overall Junior and RallyFirst series is fantastic” he says.  “We have been mixing it with the more powerful 1400cc cars all year so we will have to see where we lie when it comes to the final round in October.  I have to say a huge thanks to Graham (Wild) for his fantastic support and ability, the team for all their efforts this year and to The Next Big Step for this opportunity”.

Not content with one title under his belt, Bilham headed straight to the Formula 1000 test and media day at Trawsfynnd the very next day to provide support to Junior competitors who are looking to progress their careers, just as he has done this year.  With his solid result in the Formula 1000 series last month in Scotland, Bilham now has the chance to take the sealed surface title in the championship so will now turn his attentions back to the asphalt and the Woodbridge Stages on the East Coast in mid-September.

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

Image courtesy of Jucy Rally Photography.

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