LOCAL racers Ed James, of EJM Preparation in Alcester, and Charlie Mason, from Wootton Wawen, came away with a number of awards having contested their first British Trial and Rally Drivers Association Championship (BTRDA).
The Championship ran over eight events and spanned the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, with more than 2,500 miles in travel, which began in Cockermouth, Cumbria with the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March and ended in Llandudno, Wales in October.
And the pair enjoyed a fine season in their maiden BTRDA Championship to win third overall BTRDA Bronze Star Driver, second overall BTRDA Bronze Star Co-Driver, second 1400s Class Driver and second 1400s Class Co-Driver.
Mason was also awarded first BTRDA Series Overall Lady Co-Driver to cap off a magnificent season for the team with James and Mason supported at each event by a small but invaluable service crew which included Mason’s parents and younger brother as well as their friend Nick.
The pair impressed at the first event of the year in their yellow Nissan Micra kit car to sit third overall in the Championship category and second in their class.
And they continued their fine form at the Rallynuts Stages the following month in Builth Wells, Wales to finish third overall and second in their class once again.
However, the team hit a bump in the road at the Borders Rally in Scotland as the Micra slid into one of the infamous ditches of the Scottish forests.
Just 10 minutes later the Micra was back on the road, thanks to some very helpful Scottish spectators, which allowed the team to score some good points despite losing a significant amount of time.
The Nicky Grist Stages, which took place on the hottest day of the year in July, saw the team succumb to an injector issue which caused them to miss the morning loop of stages.
However, the service crew worked hard and ensured the car was back up and running for the afternoon, although James and Mason slipped down the leaderboard after coming home in 10th which marked a respectable finish having missed the morning stages.
Following the sixth round of the championship at the team’s most local event in Ludlow, James and Mason were leading both their championship category and class despite the minor issues the team had faced during the season.
However, their luck came to an abrupt halt on the Trackrod Stages in Yorkshire, when a blown engine brought about an end to their day just five miles into the first stage.
The pair spent two hours in the rainy forest until the car could be recovered to the service crew as the team packed up and made the 180 mile trek home but did make a stop at Burger King to cheer the team up and boost morale.
With exactly five weeks to go until the final event of the season, James and the team at EJM Preparation got to work fixing the Micra. The blown engine meant that major surgery was required and the team were not sure if the car would be ready in time.
After several late nights in the workshop, the car was eventually ready and on its way to Llandudno for the final event, the Cambrian Rally.
And the tireless repair work paid off as the car ran faultlessly all day which allowed James and Mason to finish fourth overall in the Championship and third in their class.
Overall the team enjoyed a magnificent first season competing in the BTRDA Bronze Star Championship to come away with five end of season awards.
James and Mason were delighted with the results and would like to thank their service crew, who followed them to all corners of the country in all weather conditions, as well as all their friends for their support throughout the year.
The team will attend the BTRDA Awards evening in January to collect their awards and celebrate their fantastic achievements.