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The final round of the 2017 Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge took place in the Riverside Museum Glasgow on 3rd February. It was the annual awards ceremony and what better way to enjoy it than in a venue where Scottish transport through the ages is on open display. They have everything from penny farthings through Sinclair C5 to great big steam railway engines!!! A well turned out crowd of over 50 turned up to witness the occasion. Maybe it was our “secret weapon” to present the awards – none other than that “tartanacious motorologist specialising in Scottish motor rallying “, one Mr Jaggy Bunnet. Or to give him his Sunday name – John Fife. We had one gatecrasher – a very friendly Clyde built swan who tried to come in the window.

Proceedings were opened by Chairman Kelly, giving his last Junior 1000 speech before his replacement takes over in April. After giving the enthralled audience a quick history lesson on Scotland’s rich motor manufacturing past, from Arrol-Johnston to Hillman Imp, he moved on to Thank all the people and organisations who had supported the Championship during 2017. A very long list. But without them there would be no Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge.

And then onto the presentation of awards. David Barlow read the script and John Fife handed out the trophies – along with the odd bit of good humoured abuse!! A list of award winners is attached but one or two deserve comment.

The top award went to Ewan Tindall as Overall Champion. Ewan started his career in the Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge in 2015, finishing 3rd that year, 2nd in 2016 and 1st in 2017. It was close every year but we could see Ewan developing more confidence year on year. His driving ability was obvious from day 1 but he was up against some fierce opposition. But Ewan played his own game and notched his winning ability up one step at a time. He finished with the same car he started with and he was not somebody who had a habit of “throwing the car in the undergrowth”! Another part of the winning formula came with Ewan’s co-driver Paul Hudson. An instructor at Chris Birkbeck Rally School, Paul came with massive experience in both driving and co-driving. This would be Paul’s second stint as Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge Champion co-driver, having taking the position in 2016 as well while sitting with Ewan. And the third element of the winning formula – Dad Lee and chief mechanic Simon Hewitt. Both these guys spent many years around genuine World Rally Cars so a wee Citroen C1 was a “walk in the park” – usually. So just reward for all their effort. The future bodes well.

Another category deserving mention is the Spirit of the Championship award. Awarded to an individual or group who have gone above and beyond during the year. In 2017 we experienced a very alarming situation when Johnnie Mackay aquaplaned off the road after torrential rain on one event and co-driver Steven Hay was unable to get out of the damaged car. Next car along was driven by Lewis Haining and co-driven by George Myatt (both Dumfries) and everybody commented on the textbook way that they handled the situation until the appropriate emergency services arrived.

And staying with Lewis Haining, in addition to the Spirit of the Championship award and his trophy for 3rd overall driver, the Organising Committee selected him as the Driver who had showed the most improvement during the year. Lewis accepted his tub of Roses sweeties graciously but was then taken aback when Paul Hudson stepped forward to present a special prize consisting of a ½ day training course at the Chris Birkbeck Rally School plus 1 night’s B&B at the venue. A magnificent gesture.

The event broke up at about 4pm as several people headed off to prepare for other annual prize givings that evening. There will now be a very short break while we prepare for the start of the 2018 Junior 1000 Ecosse Challenge season. We are looking to some more fierce competition from our your stars of the future.

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