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British rally driver Sam Bilham

2014 MSA RSF Young Driver of the Year, BTRDA Rally First 1.0, F1000 senior and MSA English Rally Junior Champion. 2016  MSA English Rally Champion, 2300 Club John Easson Award Winner and NEWLY CROWNED *DMACK Fiesta ST Trophy and BTRDA N3 Champion*.

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2300 Club John Easson Award Winner 2016

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Welcome to Sam Bilham Motorsport - Latest News

 

Here you will find all the latest news, updates and press releases from Sam Bilham Motorsport.  Please feel free to share, comment and like the posts with your friends!

By sambilham, Oct 11 2018 11:25AM

Sam Bilham proved he is worthy of his 2017 Fiesta ST Trophy title, by storming to ninth overall and first in class at last weekend’s Wales Rally GB National (5th/6th October).


Bilham, 21 from Bingley secured the use of a Ford Fiesta R2 for the gruelling 84-mile event which ran alongside the FIA World Rally Championship qualifier in north and mid-Wales. Bilham, guided by co-driver Cameron Fair were fastest on 13 out of the 14 stages to secure an unprecedented start to finish class win and top-ten result, securing the class by almost three minutes to their nearest rival.


Having driven The Swift Group, Greenlight Sports and Entertainment and ME Rallysport backed Fiesta on the Nicky Grist Stages in July, Bilham had been working hard to broker a deal to contest Wales Rally GB ever since.


The event, which took in classic stages such as Myherin, Penmachno and Dyfi would be a new experience for the 2016 English Rally Champion thanks to offering over twice the mileage of a normal BTRDA round.


Almost 80 cars would line up to take the start in the Rally Village at Deeside service park before heading out for five stages and 35 miles of competitive driving on the opening leg. Whilst the aim for Bilham was undoubtedly to gain experience of the longer and more testing events, he wasted no time in stamping his authority on the timesheets, opening up a ten-second class lead after the first 4.7-mile Clocaenog test.


But the Yorkshireman was just getting warmed up. The Brenig test would be one of the longest Bilham had ever contested and at over 18 miles in length, he would need to keep his concentration throughout.


Faced with difficult conditions thanks to the WRC field ahead cutting up the Welsh forests, Bilham picked his way through the monster stage, aiming to at least retain his lead. But he would emerge a staggering 26 seconds faster than anyone else in his class. A further 30 seconds advantage was gained in the following Penmachno stage and he would end the day with over in a minute in hand in 14th overall.


The second day offered stages in mid-Wales and more familiar territory for Bilham. His impressive pace continued for the opening stages in the morning, etching out over 50 seconds per stage to his nearest rival. Sadly, a puncture early in the penultimate test forced him to crawl through the stage, dropping almost 40 seconds in the process.


However, a measured drive over the closing stage netted Bilham his best ever result, with both he and co-driver Fair spraying the champagne over the ceremonial finish ramp on Saturday afternoon to a rapturous crowd.


“This really has been a dream come true and to secure my best ever result on an event of this stature really does defy belief,” said an emotional Bilham at the finish ramp.


“I keep pinching myself that we managed to get a result as good as this. Never did I think I’d be in for a top-ten position at Wales Rally GB. Everything has gone to plan this weekend and although we had a bit of a scare on the last few stages, our lead was such that we could back off a little to conserve the car.”


Bilham believes this was just the result he needed for his rallying career.


“It was a real honour to contest the event in the first place so to secure a class win and top-ten result was just what I needed. Looking at the full WRC event, we would have been setting top three RC4 stage times which is very encouraging considering the lack of seat time in the car. Its been a slow year for me competing wise but I'm hoping this will lead to a firm plan in 2019. The Fiesta R2 is fantastic and I’d love to be at the sharp end of a championship in one. Huge thanks must go to Peter Smith, Matt Edwards and the C1-R team for the opportunity. The weekend was faultless and I can't wait to have a go at the full WRC event to see what we can do”.


Sam is supported by Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, DMACK Tyres, The Garage at Stanley Mills, Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services and Leighton Vans.


By sambilham, Sep 19 2018 07:30AM

Fiesta ST Trophy title holder Sam Bilham is set the to tackle the toughest event on the British rallying calendar after lodging a last-minute entry to contest Wales Rally GB National (5th/6th October).


The 2016 English Rally Champion has secured a deal to drive a Ford Fiesta R2 on the gruelling event which takes in two days of the FIA World Rally Championship qualifying event in Deeside near Chester.


The rapid Fiesta is the same car that he used to take to second in class during his last outing at the Nicky Grist Stages in July. Both deals were made possible thanks to The Swift Group, Greenlight Sports and Entertainment, ME Rallysport and the car’s owner Peter Smith.


The 21-year-old has had a quiet year behind the wheel as he attempts to build funds to acquire a new car for a 2019 campaign. After winning the 2300 Club John Easson Award in 2016 and the Fiesta Trophy the following year, Bilham’s outings have been limited to one-off drives during the season.


A class win at Rally North Wales in a Vauxhall Adam Cup was followed up with his impressive effort in the Fiesta at the BTRDA qualifier in July, but now Bilham will take on one of the biggest challenges of his career and will be joined by his fellow ST Trophy co-driver champion Cameron Fair.


Wales Rally GB is at the pinnacle of the sport in the UK and is known the world over for its demanding stages, tough route and unforgiving terrain. With the best drivers in the business heading to the event for the penultimate round of the WRC, the National event will take in the Friday and Saturday leg of the route, offering classic tests in the Penmachno, Dyfi and Myherin forests.


Bilham sees this as not only the toughest test of his ability during his motorsport career but a real honour to contest this prestigious event.


“As a kid, all I ever really wanted to do was compete on the RAC Rally as it was known then and here I am, all set to drive a Fiesta R2 on this very event,” says a thrilled Bilham.


“I know so many people say this but It really is a privilege to contest the rally and to do so in a modern-day R2 car is unbelievable. I really must thank Pete Smith for this opportunity to drive the Fiesta again. Even though I had never driven the car before, I felt really at home behind the wheel on the Nicky Grist so hopefully it won’t take me long to acclimatise again”.


As if the challenge of a world-class event wasn’t enough, Bilham will face almost double the mileage of the BTRDA event’s he is used to but is ready for the task ahead.


“This is going to be unbelievably tough on both me and the car, I’m under no illusion of that,” he says.


“There is 84 miles ahead of us, some of which could be under the cover of darkness so I really do think that aiming for finish will be my top priority during the weekend. I don’t really have many expectations of a finish, but I’d just like to complete the stages and get myself across the finish in Deeside on Saturday night. It won’t be easy but I`m ready for the challenge and I’m sure I`ll enjoy every single moment of it”.


Sam is supported by Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, DMACK Tyres, The Garage at Stanley Mills, Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services and Leighton Vans.


By sambilham, Jul 18 2018 09:52AM

Sam Bilham made the most out of a fantastic opportunity by securing second in class R2/B10 and 24th overall at last weekend’s Nicky Grist Stages (14th July) behind the wheel of the Greenlight Sports and Entertainment Ford Fiesta R2.


The Yorkshireman was offered the opportunity to pilot the front-running machine in a one-off drive on round six of the BTRDA Rally Series in Builth Wells, Wales. Bilham didn’t disappoint his backers and along with co-driver Graham Wild returning to the passenger seat, stormed to an impressive podium position on his debut in an R2.


Bilham, 21 years old from Bingley has secured a confidence-boosting list of accolades in the sport during the past few years but since winning the Fiesta ST Trophy in 2017, has only managed one outing since taking the title in September. Wanting to progress his career, the required budget to step up the rallying ladder has not been forthcoming, and he has been unable to secure a drive for the entire season.


However, a drive on Rally North Wales back in March would prove fruitful, taking the Vauxhall Adam Cup Car to second in class and gaining valuable experience of a sequential transmission unit, similar to that installed in the Fiesta he would pilot last weekend.


Backed by Greenlight Sports and Entertainment, The Swift Group and ME Rallysport, Bilham would be able to fully enjoy the experience of driving a top-level R2 car thanks to having prior experience of the stages from his BTRDA outings. However, he would need to ensure the car returned to the finish ramp, so a measured approach was required from the youngster.


Despite being unable to test the Fiesta, Bilham wasted no time in acclimatising to the new steed, slotting into third in class after the opening test of the day. With the R2 class dubbed as one of the most hotly contested in the BTRDA series, Bilham was pleased to find himself second after the opening loop and would look to keep that spot over the closing stages.


As his confidence grew, the stage times tumbled and Bilham began to close in on the eventual class victor. His lack of experience in the R2 was certainly not apparent and he returned a mature drive to net second in class on his debut in the car.


“Wow, what can I say about today,” said Bilham at the finish.


“It was a real honour and privilege to have been given the drive by Peter Smith and I`m really glad I could repay his trust with a decent result. The car was truly superb and a joy to drive. It felt so natural being behind the wheel and I felt my pace pick up after every stage.


There was more to come as well so it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if there were a few more stages, but I`m just over the moon with the experience and the result. A huge thanks to Greenlight Sports, The Swift Group and ME Rallysport for their support and of course DMACK Tyres”.


Whilst there is still a budget shortfall for the remainder of the season, Bilham is confident which direction he would like to take his rallying career.


“This weekend has just re-affirmed that I need to be in a front-running R2 car to progress. I feel I have the ability to get the most from the car and I’d really like to see what I could do with a full season ahead of me. We will be working as hard as we can to get a deal together for the future.


Sam is supported by The 2300 Club John Easson Award, Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, DMACK Tyres, The Garage at Stanley Mills and Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services.



By sambilham, Jun 28 2018 07:30AM

The 2016 John Easson Award winner Sam Bilham will return to active competition for the first time since March after securing a one-off drive in the Swift Group Ford Fiesta R2 at next month’s Nicky Grist Stages Rally (14th July).


The Bingley rally driver has only managed one outing this season after winning last year’s DMACK Fiesta ST Trophy which ran alongside the BTRDA Rally Series. Bilham will now compete on the fourth round of the series in a more powerful R2 specification machine, thanks to the support of the Swift Group, Greenlight Sports and Entertainment and the car’s owner Peter Smith.


The 21-year old enjoyed a successful outing at Rally North Wales earlier in the season behind the wheel of a Vauxhall Adam Cup Car, taking second in class despite having only driven the car during a short pre-event test.


As a pre-cursor to an R2 car, the Adam Cup offered Bilham an excellent base to learn advanced suspension and transmission technology from his previous Fiesta ST, enabling him to jump into the popular Fiesta R2 at the Builth Wells based event. He will be co-driven by Graham Wild and backed by DMACK Tyres.


Bilham enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, taking multiple class and category wins to take the coveted Fiesta trophy with two rounds to spare. After lifting the title, the 21-year old has been searching for the budget to progress his career ever since.


“We always knew that this year would be a difficult one as the ladder of progression really only leads us to the British Championship which is out of our budget at the moment” explains Bilham.


“After selling the Fiesta ST, we have been on the lookout for chances to compete again so when the offer came about to finally drive a full R2 Fiesta I was overjoyed at the prospect. I have to say a huge thank you to the Swift Group and Matt Edwards at ME Rallysport who will run the car, for this opportunity”.


Although this will be Bilham’s first foray into an R2, he has extensive knowledge of the stages used on the Nicky Grist thanks to his Junior and Fiesta title campaigns during the last few years. Whilst he realises it will be a steep learning curve, Bilham is excited to return to the sport and on forests he enjoys.


“The Nicky Grist is a fantastic rally so it’s a good place to ground yourself when you try something like the Fiesta as you don’t have to worry too much about adapting to the stages” he explains.


“I can fully concentrate on making sure I make the most of the experience as this is really where I want to be right now. The R2 Rallye Cup in the BTRDA is very competitive so I won't be paying too much attention to their times during the day, but it will offer a chance to see what my pace is like straight out the box.


“I've wanted to get myself into an R2 ever since I sold my Fiesta ST last year so this really is a bit of a dream come true for me. I guess there is a bit of pressure attached to the outing but I’m certainly going to be doing my own thing and just enjoy it. I can't wait”.


Sam is supported by The 2300 Club John Easson Award, Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, DMACK Tyres, The Garage at Stanley Mills and Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services.



By sambilham, Mar 25 2018 05:43PM

Sam Bilham enjoyed a positive debut behind the wheel of a new Vauxhall ADAM Cup car last weekend at Rally North Wales (24th March), taking the impressive machine to second in class M3 and 11th modern crew home at the Dolgellau based event.


The Bingley rally driver would head to Wales for the opening round of the new Rally2 series and this would also mark the inaugural outing for Bilham in a Mechanical Solutions backed ADAM.


The nimble Cup car had been offered to Bilham by the firm’s owner Nigel Lewis and son Eddie took to the co-drivers seat for the event.


Bilham had not had a competitive outing since taking the Fiesta ST Trophy title last year and was looking forward to getting his season underway with a new car, new co-driver and new event. Whilst he had traversed the Dyfi and Gartheniog stages on other rallies previously, the Rally North Wales format meant only small sections of the special tests would be a familiar sight.


He had only sampled the ADAM in a brief pre-event test so would need to take a cautious approach to the opening loop of stages. An early morning triple-header of tests in the slippery Welsh mud would be a tough challenge to start the day but the 21 year old took a mature approach to the day.


Building his confidence with each stage, Bilham entered the mid-point service halt in an impressive third in class M3 but admitted there was “more to come” from both the car and himself.


True to his word, the 2016 John Easson award winner settled perfectly into the DMACK Tyres shod ADAM on the final loop of three stages to cross the finish ramp in Dolgellau in an impressive second spot in his Vauxhall debut.


Bilham was delighted with his progress throughout the trouble-free day.


“I was hoping to do well this weekend, despite my lack of seat time in the car to but have taken second in class really has exceeded my expectations” said Bilham, “I’m pleased with my progress throughout the day and with the end result”.


“It took a while to bed myself in to the car and the stages this morning but that was to be expected. The stages were pretty tricky to be fair so we really wanted to make sure we made it round. I knew I had to give the car back when I`m finished so I was a little cautious at times!”


Bilham is eager to have further outings in ADAM in the future.


“The car is similar in characteristics to my championship-winning Fiesta but you can tell the ADAM shares some of its components with a full R2 spec version. It’s a very positive and solid car to drive and the fully sequential gearbox is a real joy to use. Once I’d built the confidence up it was pretty clear just how impressive these cars are.”


“We are still finalising plans for the rest of the season but it would certainly be great to be back out in the ADAM. It’s been a good start to the year and we are working hard to see if we can make it happen. I have to say a huge thanks to Eddie for a top job in the co-driver’s seat, to Mechanical Solutions for the car, DMACK for some confidence boosting tyres this weekend and of course to our supporters.”

Sam is supported by Mechanical Solutions, The 2300 Club John Easson Award, Calvert Construction, Reis Motorsport Insurance, DMACK Tyres, The Garage at Stanley Mills and Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services.



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