RE­AL­IS­ING A How BTRDA pro­tege John Fox has reaped the ul­ti­mate re­wards. By Dun­can Stephens

Motor Sport News - - Sporting Scene -

Last sea­son was the crown­ing glory for BTRDA bat­tler John Fox af­ter an eight-year jour­ney to reach the top. The 31-year-old, who first sam­pled the sport through a Mo­tor­sport News- backed com­pe­ti­tion with the BTRDA, man­aged to se­cure the cov­eted BTRDA Gold Star All­rounders Cham­pi­onship – a dream that had seemed a dis­tant tar­get when he took his first steps in the sport in 2007.

The All­rounders con­test de­mands that en­trants take part in six events in three dif­fer­ent BTRDA dis­ci­plines to ac­crue the points needed to win.

His 2015 cam­paign al­most went un­re­warded. It wasn’t un­til the end of the sum­mer that friend and ri­val Jamie Yapp pointed out to Fox that his points to­tal across the dif­fer­ent con­tests that he had al­ready tack­led would give him a shot at the All­rounders Gold Star.

So Fox turned his at­ten­tion to the fi­nal two au­tosolo cham­pi­onship events of the sea­son to chase enough marks and va­ri­ety to claim the tro­phy out­right. He had al­ready con­tested two sprints, three au­tosolo events (one bor­row­ing friend Kevin Hard­wick’s Peu­geot 205 XS) and a sport­ing trial in his girl­friend’s dad’s (Jerome Fack) SRB. They were all el­e­ments that helped him to the big­gest vic­tory of his ca­reer to date.

Fox says: “Since I joined the BTRDA I have hoped to win a Gold Star but ex­pected it would be many more years be­fore that be­came a re­al­ity.

“It’s an hon­our to win the All­rounders cham­pi­onship hav­ing come close the last few years. I have made some fan­tas­tic friends who have also helped me win my first gold star since the BTRDA Drive con­test while hav­ing some se­ri­ous fun, and can’t thank the BTRDA and MN enough for the op­por­tu­nity.”

And now he has col­lected the tro­phy, Fox has no de­sire to give it back and will be chal­leng­ing again in 2016. He has added a clas­sic Mini to his ros­ter of com­pe­ti­tion ve­hi­cles, which will give him the per­fect plat­form to tackle more au­totests.

It is all a long way from his first steps in the sport. In Jan­uary 2007 the BTRDA Mo­tor­sports Fu­ture group launched its com­pe­ti­tion in MN to high­light the va­ri­ety of dis­ci­plines on of­fer by the club and show how easy it is to get started. The win­ner was granted a sea­son’s funded mo­tor­sport, tak­ing in six events over three dis­ci­plines in the BTRDA Nis­san Mi­cra, thus qual­i­fy­ing for the BTRDA All­rounders cham­pi­onship.

Fox, then 23, ap­plied and, af­ter a se­lec­tion day at Bill Gwynne Mo­tor­sport in Brack­ley, was se­lected to share the car with Un­der 17 Car Club win­ner Ju­lian Ar­chard.

Dur­ing the as­sess­ment day Fox was scored in the Mi­cra, and also in a Ford Es­cort Mk2, which he says was the big­gest chal­lenge hav­ing not ex­pe­ri­enced rear-wheel drive be­fore­hand.

Dur­ing 2007, Fox com­peted in two car tri­als, two au­toso­los and two au­totests all in the same Mi­cra. He was de­ter­mined to make the most of the op­por­tu­nity, al­though he later ad­mit­ted that he found the psy­cho­log­i­cal side hard be­cause, with the BTRDA con­tests, it is vi­tal to put mis­takes be­hind you quickly.

At the end of the sea­son, Fox re­ceived an­other sur­prise at the in­vi­ta­tion-only Ken Whar­ton in­ter­na­tional au­totest with a guest drive in a fully au­totest­pre­pared Vaux­hall Nova pro­vided by Richard Eg­ger.

Fox con­tin­ued to sup­port BTRDA events and the All­rounders se­ries, com­pet­ing in au­toso­los, au­totests, tri­als, tak­ing on speed events and sport­ing tri­als. In 2010, he took the BTRDA Au­tosolo ti­tle in his Peu­geot 106.

Af­ter a few at­tempts at speed and hillclimb events, the pas­sion of com­pe­ti­tion had bit­ten, along with the ca­ma­raderie of ri­vals and good friends Hard­wick and Yapp, who had be­come un­der 1400cc class spar­ring part­ners.

Fox pur­chased a Re­nault Clio Tro­phy ma­chine and that step up in re­li­a­bil­ity re­sulted in 10th place over­all in the 2014 HSA Speed cham­pi­onship and he was crowned as class cham­pion.

Fox has qual­i­fied for All­rounders each sea­son since those ini­tial out­ings in 2007. In 2012 he fin­ished fourth, was third in 2013 and then run­ner-up in 2014. The fi­nal piece of the jig­saw came with the top spot in the All­rounders con­test last year.

BTRDA di­rec­tor Nick Pol­litt, one of the as­ses­sors at Brack­ley back in 2007, re­mem­bers: “It was ob­vi­ous dur­ing the se­lec­tion that Fox was very fo­cused, had a nat­u­ral skill and was highly com­pet­i­tive,

John Fox lifted a BTRDA Gold Star

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