Yorkshire rally driver Sam Bilham had the perfect end to his season after being selected as the winner of the 2300 Club John Easson Award last weekend. The prestigious award provides a total of £5,000 towards Bilham’s 2017 rallying campaign and will offer a significant boost to his plans for the season ahead.
The 20 year old Ford Fiesta driver has enjoyed a fruitful 2016, becoming the Maxxis MSA English Rally Champion and Fiesta ST Trophy runner up after leading the series for much of the year. His impressive pace as the year progressed and one hundred per cent finishing record did not go unnoticed by the judging panel.
Comprising of co-driver Ian Grindrod, journalist Jack Benyon, rally driver John Cope and 2015 Award winner Matthew Jackson, the panel singled out Bilham from the three finalists after his success in the BTRDA Rally series and his determination to further his motorsport career in the future.
First run in 2004, the award is named after rally driver John Easson who was an avid supporter of the 2300 Car Club before losing his life in an air accident in 1999. With £5,000 up for grabs for the winning contestant, the award is regarded as the most sought after title in the rallying community.
After winning The Next Big Step in 2013, Bilham is delighted with his latest award and had sighted the John Easson title as a significant step in his career. “It’s a true honour to add my name to the extensive and impressive list of drivers who have won the award in the past” says Bilham. “The financial assistance offered is second to none and this is a huge boost to my plans for 2017. We have enjoyed a great season in the BTRDA and Fiesta ST Trophy but this will allow us to expand on our success this year. I really hope to do the panel of judges and the Award, proud next season.”
Bilham has been a finalist for three years in succession but after being runner up since 2014, was determined to make the grade on his third attempt. “It’s the best prize in rallying so I just had to go for it again” he says. “Having another year under my belt helped and this is the biggest opportunity I`ve had to progress. Ever since my Junior Rally Championship days I`ve wanted to make sure we did what was best for my career and this will make all the difference. To be honest, it really hasn’t quite sunk in yet and when you consider the previous winners of the award, I really am in great company”.
Previous winners of the Award include World Rally Championship driver Osian Pryce and European contender Chris Ingram.
Bilham is currently exploring options for 2017 and his plans will be announced in the coming months.
Sam is supported by Reis Motorsport Insurance, Mechanical Solutions, Pertemps Recruitment, The Next Big Step, Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services, Calvert Construction and The Garage at Stanley Mills.
For more information on Sam and his rallying career, visit http://www.sambilham.co.uk
Image courtesy of Chicane Media