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Bilham_inaction_emailBingley rally ace Sam Bilham drove with his sights set firmly on the Fiesta St Trophy title at last weekend’s (16th April) Somerset Stages Rally to finish fourth in the series and class N3. Battling tricky conditions in the forests across Exmoor, the Reis Motorsport Insurance backed 19 year old took a mature approach to the Minehead based event to ensure he retained top-spot in the Ravenol BTRDA Rally Series standings after the third round.

With two solid finishes in the bag so far this season, Bilham would head to the North Somerset event perched firmly on the top of the BTRDA Production Cup standings as well as the single make Fiesta series and was undoubtedly the target for the chasing pack.  Co-driven by Richard Crozier, Bilham had set his sights on another finish to ensure his 100% finishing record would go unblemished.

However, this would prove trickier than first hoped as heavy rain during the run up to the event would see the morning’s loop of stages turn into a mud bath for the some 130 crews on the event. In a repeat of earlier form this year, Bilham eased his way into the event and settled into fourth spot from the opening stage and would retain that until the finish ramp back on Minehead seafront later in the day.

With reports of snow lying on the opening few stages, the opening loop would be trickier than most however and a finish was certainly not assured for the Fiesta pilot.  With inconsistent grip levels hampering progress up the leader board, the decision was made early on to continue at a comfortable pace to bag valuable points for the championship. With the stages drying up in the afternoon, Bilham resisted the urge to push on and was pleased with another points haul for his title aspirations.

“It’s certainly been a challenging event and truthfully, I’m pleased to see the finish ramp today” said Bilham.  “It was like a different rally this morning and there was simply no point in pushing our luck to try and make inroads on third. It’s important to remember most of the contenders in the Fiesta ST Trophy have been competing in these cars for a few years now so I’m still learning all the time. To be leading the championship after the third round is encouraging and our pace will certainly pick up with more seat time. But, the season is a long one so we are just taking event by event for now.”

Balham’s solid result means he retains the lead of the Fiesta ST Trophy and BTRDA class N3 and is second in the Production Cup and Junior Driver award.

The next round of the series is the Welshpool based Plains Rally which takes place on Saturday 14th May.

Sam is supported by Reis Motorsport Insurance, Mechanical Solutions, Pertemps Recruitment, The Next Big Step, Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services, Vital Equipment and The Garage at Stanley Mills. For more information on Sam and his rallying career, visit http://www.sambilham.co.uk

Image courtesy of Gasmark Media

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