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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, DMACK Fiesta ST Trophy and BTRDA N3 Champion

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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, Feb 11 2019 01:56PM

Sam Bilham says he has “no expectations” ahead of the opening round of this year’s Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series which sees the Bingley rally driver make his debut in the Greenlight Sports and Entertainment Ford Fiesta R5 at the Cambrian Rally this weekend (16th February).

The 2017 Fiesta ST Trophy champion has recently secured a deal to drive the rally winning four-wheel-drive M-Sport R5 machine after his top ten performance on last year’s Wales Rally GB National was spotted by Greenlight’s Managing Director Guy Smith and Swift Group Chairman Peter Smith.

The 22-year-old will tackle seven forest rounds in the popular BTRDA Rally series and the Cambrian Rally will mark his debut in machinery capable of winning a rally outright. Having previously campaigned a Nissan Micra, Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Adam, Bilham is well aware of the task ahead of him in the forests around the Llandudno base in North Wales.

“There is no doubt that I won't be able to draw the full potential out of the car on round one” remarked Bilham.

“A few months ago, I was doing everything I could to pull the budget together to drive a Fiesta R2. Fast forward a few months and I’m just about to embark on the biggest challenge of my career driving a four-wheel drive for the first time in a car that can theoretically win the rally. I`m under no illusion though, I`ll be a long way away from being competitive first time out of the box. The Cambrian will be all about seat time and learning the car”.

The Ford Fiesta R5 is vastly different to that of the R2 which Bilham campaigned last season. The M-Sport built machine develops 285 brake horsepower via its turbocharged powerplant and is driven by all four wheels. The car was recently used by Guy Smith to win the Cadwell Park Stages and will be converted into gravel specification for Bilham’s campaign.

The Cambrian Rally utilised stages that Bilham tackled during his Rally GB outing last season, but he believes that experience will not be a factor this weekend.

“Everything will look very different in an R5 car and I`ll be going much faster than ever before” he explains.

“I`ll have to change my braking points, when to turn the car in and get used to the corners coming up a lot faster than normal so there will be a lot to learn that’s for sure. My main focus is getting the first stage out the way and then building my pace up from there. I’ve had one gravel test in the car so I’m still learning as I go. I really don’t have any expectations about a result, bringing the car back in one piece is the priority”.

The Cambrian Rally takes place in Llandudno in North Wales and offers seven stages totalling around 44 competitive stage miles in the nearby forests. Crews will leave Llandudno at 8 AM on Saturday morning, returning to the Llandudno finish mid-afternoon.

Sam is supported by Greenlight Sports & Entertainment, Swift Group, Pirelli, Calvert Construction Ltd, Speedline Corse, Morris Lubricants and The Garage at Stanley Mills.


By sambilham, Jan 21 2019 06:36PM

Bingley rally driver Sam Bilham will embark on the biggest challenge of his motorsport career after securing a deal to drive a Greenlight Sports and Entertainment Ford Fiesta R5 for the 2019 season.

The 22-year-old will receive backing from the sports and marketing agency to tackle the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series which offers seven all-gravel rounds across the UK. Bilham will use four-wheel-drive machinery for the very first time on the opening round, the Cambrian Rally in February.

Bilham has long been regarded as one of the most progressive rally drivers in the country, following the motorsport career ladder to the letter. His first taste of driving a rally car came at the tender age of just ten years old before embarking on his first full season in the Junior 1000 championship.

After becoming a member of the MSA Academy for aspiring youngsters, he continued to build experience in the sport, becoming BTRDA Junior Champion and MSA RSF Young Driver of the Year. Winning the MSA English Rally Championship in 2016 helped him to become the 2300 Club John Easson Award Winner, before winning the Fiesta ST Trophy in 2017.

Sporadic outings hampered his progress in 2018 but he was handed a lifeline by Greenlight Sports and Entertainment, The Swift Group and ME Rallysport when he was offered a Ford Fiesta R2 for the Nicky Grist Stages. Despite his inexperience in the potent R2 machine, second in class was the reward which led to a second event in the car, Wales Rally GB in October.

In one of the most ground-breaking drives of the event, Bilham stormed to ninth overall, first two-wheel-drive and a class win, taking fastest time on 13 out of the events 14 special stages. It was this performance that led to Greenlight Sports and Entertainment’s Managing Director Guy Smith and Chairman of the Swift Group Peter Smith, offering Bilham a season-long campaign in the firm’s state of the art Ford Fiesta R5.

Greenlight Fiesta R5
Greenlight Fiesta R5

Both Guy and Peter are no strangers to the world of motorsport with Guy having contested the prestigious 24 Le Mans with Team Bentley, and Peter a regular sight on stage events across the UK in various machines. Their vast experience in the sport meant they could see Bilham’s potential which led to supporting the Yorkshireman in 2018.

“We are in a very lucky position to be able to support progressive young drivers in rallying and Sam stood out as someone we would like to help last season,” said Guy.

“He drove our Fiesta R2 on the Nicky Grist and was immediately on the pace despite his lack of seat time so I thought he certainly had the potential for the future. We were able to repeat the outing at Wales Rally GB and were rewarded with a sensational result against some much more powerful machinery. It made sense to continue the relationship in 2019 and we believe that getting Sam into the Fiesta R5 is the right thing for his career right now. It’s a great partnership and we are looking forward to seeing how he develops during the season”.

The Ford Fiesta R5 is a vastly different car to that of the R2 which Bilham used in Wales. The M-Sport built machine develops 285 brake horsepower via its turbocharged powerplant and is driven by all four wheels. Capable of winning events outright, Bilham is now armed with the most powerful car in his career and will make the leap to top-specification machinery in just a few weeks’ time.

“Its still sinking in to be honest,” said Bilham.

“It was such a tough year in 2018, sitting out on so many events was one of the hardest things I’ve done and I’ll forever be indebted to Greenlight, The Swift Group and Matt Edwards for offering me the opportunity to drive the R2. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would lead to a season-long drive in one of the most up to date rally cars of the modern era.”

But the youngster is aiming for a solid finish rather than podiums on his debut.

”This really is a career-defining moment for me and I`ll never get this opportunity again. But at the same time, I need to ensure I don’t put too much pressure on myself and go out there and just do my own thing. We won’t have much time to test beforehand so I`ll need to learn as I go but I mastered the R2 pretty quickly so with the huge experience of the people I have around me, I’m hoping the R5 will be very similar. I really can't put into words how grateful I am to Peter, Guy and Greenlight, I just hope I can return their trust in me this season.

The Cambrian Rally marks the opening round of the Jordan Road Surfacing BTRDA Rally Series and takes place on the 15th February in Llandudno, North Wales.

Sam is supported by: Greenlight Sports & Entertainment, Swift Group, Pirelli, Calvert Construction Ltd, Speedline Corse, Morris Lubricants, Garage at Stanley Mills

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.

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