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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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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, Aug 19 2015 05:25PM

MSA RSF Young Driver of the Year Sam Bilham will take on the biggest challenge of his career so far as he has secured a deal to drive a Ford Fiesta ST on the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB. Having won the prestigious award in 2014, the 18 year old from Bingley, West Yorkshire has been piloting a Nissan Micra in the BTRDA gravel series for the last two years and thanks to the backing of engineering firm Allfab EMS Ltd from Leeds, Bilham will use the M-Sport built machine on its final World Championship outing in November.


The three day WRC finale’ will also mark Bilham’s first ever International event and a route of over 180 competitive miles lies in wait for the youngster. After the BTRDA Woodpecker Stages in September where he will use his familiar Micra, Bilham will now spend the remainder of the 2015 season getting used to his newly acquired machine. “After winning the MSA RSF Young Driver of the Year Award last year I sadly haven’t been able to compete as much as I’d hoped due to budget constraints” says Bilham. “But we have been working hard behind the scenes and I am truly indebted to Allfab EMS Ltd for putting their trust in me to use their car for perhaps one of the best known rallies in the world. I have to pinch myself at the thought of contesting the event I could only ever dream of a few months ago, I can’t thank them enough”.


Bilham has also gained the support of Yorkshire Flocking Services who will support the Yorkshireman throughout his pre event tests and the event itself. He is hoping to secure a few more backers before the event itself but is one hundred percent committed to being in Deeside in November. “We are going to be there no matter what and I`m totally focusing on the task I have ahead of me. There is a long way to go but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. I have a lot of hurdles to overcome such as pre event recce which I’ve never done before and the car is left hand drive which should make things interesting! So many people have supported me along my career and it’s only I right I do them proud in Wales”.


He also believes that winning the Next Big Step award back in 2013 has been key to his progress in the sport. “The Next Big Step and Ian Arden have supported me all the way and have been instrumental in each decision I have made. It’s thanks to the award that we have this opportunity and it will be fantastic to have them alongside us during the event too”.


Wales Rally GB takes place on 12th to 15th November and is based at the Toyota plant in Deeside. After two days of pre-event reconnaissance, shake down is followed by a ceremonial start along Llandudno promenade before three full days of action across North and mid Wales.



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