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The World Hot Rod champ Adam Maxwell claimed the ti­tle of Hot Rod driver of the year at the Au­tosport Show in Birm­ing­ham, writes

Matt James.

The prize, which is voted for by driv­ers and fans, was part of a raft of ac­co­lades given out to re­flect the 2016 cam­paign ( see ta­ble, right).

The Crum­lin driver, who won the 75-lap World Fi­nal at Ip­swich in July, says he was bowled over by the award.

“It has been a whirl­wind in the last few months since win­ning the World Fi­nal,” says Maxwell, who won a trip to race in South Africa as part of his prize for lift­ing the ti­tle. “As soon as I took the World Fi­nal, my plan was to try and be the best am­bas­sador I could for Na­tional Hot Rods. I loved go­ing to South Africa, and be­ing able to take a podium out there was a spe­cial feel­ing. To be voted as the driver of the year is the per­fect way to cap 2016, which has def­i­nitely been my best year in rac­ing.”

Since lift­ing the big prize, the North­ern Ir­ish­man has been true to his plan to ex­ploit his time with the gold roof that he earned in July.

He has been over to the main­land to take part in the Na­tional Cham­pi­onship meet­ing at Hed­nes­ford Hills in early Au­gust, and has re­turned since to race in Scot­land and at a points-scor­ing meet­ing at Ip­swich as well as the last-ever Best in Bri­tain meet­ing at Wim­ble­don in Novem­ber.

Maxwell was on the podium at Fox­hall Heath, and fin­ished sec­ond in the bumper-crunch­ing Best in Bri­tain.

“I know there is a re­spon­si­bil­ity car­ry­ing the gold roof, and I wanted to live up to that, which is why I have tried my best to get to as many meet­ings as I could in Eng­land and I did one in Scot­land too,” says Maxwell. “I will carry on do­ing that in 2017 too – I am see­ing which meet­ings I can get to in Eng­land this year.”

The Na­tional Hot Rod cal­en­dar is split across the win­ter, with the open­ing part from July through to Oc­to­ber in 2016 and the sec­ond pe­riod, in the build up to the all-im­por­tant World Fi­nal, start­ing in March.

After tak­ing the big­gest tro­phy of all last sea­son, Maxwell knows that he will have his work cut out to re­tain the crown in 2017, but he has al­ready put plans in place to up his game for the new chal­lenge.

He is cur­rently top­ping the North­ern Ir­ish points (the top nine driv­ers earn a slot in the World Fi­nal in July) and is des­tined to re­turn to Suf­folk. “Win­ning it again is go­ing to be re­ally hard work, be­cause I will be the man out there to beat,” says Maxwell. “We have a new car com­ing. It will be another Vaux­hall Ti­gra and it is stripped back to the bare bodyshell at the mo­ment and we will work to get that ready and test it be­fore the World Fi­nal.

“Na­tional Hot Rods is so com­pet­i­tive and there are so many fast cars out there that you can not guar­an­tee that you will be at the front when it comes to the big meet­ings, but we will be try­ing our best. All I can do is work as hard as I can get­ting the new car ready and we will take it from there.” ■

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