BILHAM WINS JOHN EASSON AWARD BRIAN PATTERSON
“Irish rallying rues higher premiums”
Freshly-crowned MSA English Rally champion Sam Bilham has become the latest driver to win the 2300 Club John Easson Award, giving the Yorkshire driver £5000 towards entries in 2017.
The 21-year-old was given the 2017 award, which is given to the driver who the judges believe will benefit from the funding the most and represent the award the best. Previous winners include European two-wheeldrive champion Chris Ingram and reigning Drive DMACK Fiesta Trophy WRC champion Osian Pryce.
Bilham is yet to announce publicly where he will be competing next year, but the prize money is key to achieving his goals.
“The award allows me the opportunity to move forward,” said Bilham. “When you look down the list there’s a lot of successful drivers who, if you like, were at my level at the time. Since then they’ve gone up and up so it’s great to be included.”
Bilham won the final round of the inaugural Fiesta ST Trophy on the Trackrod, after his first year in a left-hand-drive car. The Yorkshireman competed in the Junior Formula 1000 from 20112013, before two years in the BTRDA in a Nissan Micra.
After being selected as the winner by national competitor John Cope, co-driver Jimmy Mcrae and MN’S Jack Benyon, Bilham is looking to publicise the award as gratification of the help it will provide for his career.
“Anything that I can do to help promote the award I’m happy to do.
“I wouldn’t be doing much next year without the money, the year would look a lot different and it’s massively important for my career moving forward.”
British Rally Championship competitor Meirion Evans and Bilham’s fellow ST Trophy competitor George Lepley were the other finalists. Both impressed the judging panel.