Update Chris Ingram’s Progress – 2013 John Easson Winner

Youngest Driver Learns in Latvia

2014 started with new experiences all round for Chris Ingram – the 2013 John Easson Award Winner for UK Young Rally drivers. His first time driving on snow, first time in Latvia and first time driving on studded tyres, and they wouldn’t at first even fit under the Twingos little wheel arches!

After just 3.5kms of testing on snow and studded tyres for the first time Chris Ingram and Carl Williamson started the first ever round of the FIA ERC Junior championship. Nerves were tingling as the stages on the recce were not snow covered so the biggest worry was going to be running out of studs. Thankfully, After an ice cold opening ceremony, by the banks of the frozen river, the snow fell.

The Brits had a clean run on the first stage of the event, setting a top 10 fastest time in the Juniors, but were left with almost slicks on the ice of stage two after an overshoot ripping the studs out of the tyres

The learning experiences continued throughout the first day as a puncture was picked up early into the final, but monster 30-kilometre night stage. A bad decision to drive to the end of the stage was made by Chris, which worsened the condition of the tyre and wheel nocking the brake caliper and ripping the fluid pipe off, resulting in no brakes to make the day even more frustrating for the whole team!

Day 2 consisted of a mix of tight and twisty, and fast flowing stages. Young Ingram settled down after a frantic first day and began to enjoy the incredible experience that is driving on ice with studded tyres. The highlight of the event was the final stage of the rally, the 26 kilometre Liepaja stage, which saw the Twingo overcome brake issues to fly to 5th fastest Junior car, being beaten by the eventual winner Jan Cerny and three scandinavian snow experts. A great positive and confidence boost to take from a difficult rally for the ERC’s youngest driver.

“Despite all the issues we have had to tackle, I am still so happy to have competed on such a incredible rally! Taking an early 5 points to the Circuit of Ireland could be very important. I was very happy to set 5th fastest time on one of our few clean stages on the final stage and this shows how much I learnt and improved throughout the weekend”

The 2013 John Easson Award winner Chris Ingram would like to thank Carl Williamson, JB Malherbe Racing Spirit, Renault Sport, FIA ERC and everyone that supported him on his winter rally debut!

The next round of the ERC Junior is Ingram’s favourite; the Circuit of Ireland (17-19 April)

Winner of the 2013 John Easson Award

2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 John Easson Award.

Chris Ingram

2013 John Easson Award Winner - Chris Ingram

Chris has been chosen as the winner of this year’s £4,000 prize fund to assist him with his rallying activities during the 2014 season. Chris was the choice of the selection committee after 3 hours of deliberations, which saw the attending finalists travel to Preston to take part in a one on one interview with the panel of judges, Allan Whittaker former international co-driver and boss of Motordrive Seats, Co driver legend Ian Grindrod, and boss of Cope Engineering and the vastly experienced rally driver John Cope.

Chris emerged as winner after a very close run contest with runners up Arron Newby and Aaron McClure who both made a very determined challenge for the award.

Chairman of the judging panel, Allan Whittaker of 2300 Club said following the interviews. “Once again this year the standard of applicants has been extremely high, choosing the finalists was in itself a very difficult job for the selection committee, but choosing a winner from the finalists was even more difficult, it is unfortunate that there could only be one winner, however we feel Chris will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award and of course we wish runners up Arron & Aaron the very best of luck with her continued rallying”.

On behalf of 2300 Club I would like to thank all of this year’s applicants for taking part and look forward to seeing you again next year.

Allan Durham
John Easson Award Scheme Manager

Update Matt Griffin’s Progress – 2012 John Easson Winner

John Easson Award winner Matt Griffin prepares to take on the fast lanes of the Scottish Borders this weekend when Matt from Blackburn in Lancashire and Wrexham co driver Chris Spilsted start the next round of the British Rally Championship, The Duns based Jim Clark Rally, the crew will be competing in the BRC Rally Challenge section of the event driving their John Easson/RallySchool.co.uk supported Renault Clio 172.

The team will be hoping for a better result than on the previous round of the series, the Cumbria based Pirelli Rally when mechanical issues forced them to retire.

Winner of the 2012 John Easson Award

The 2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2012 John Easson Award.

Blackburn driver Matt Griffin has been chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £4,000.

The 22 year old was the choice of the judges after very careful deliberation, which saw the three finalists travel to Preston to take part in interviews with the panel of judges.

Matt emerged as the winner after a very close run contest with fellow finalists Garry Pearson and Chis Ingram
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This year the judges were Bury rally driver John Cope  co driver “legend” – Ian Grindrod, former international co driver and boss of Motordrive Seats Allan Whittaker, and former Tour of Mull Clerk of the Course Clive  Molyneux.

Clive said afterwards, “It is unfortunate that there can only be one winner, as all three finalists showed a tremendous enthusiasm and demonstrated a huge talent for their chosen sport of rallying, however after long and careful deliberation we chose  Matt, and we feel he will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award, and of course we wish runners-up Garry & Chris the very best of luck and success with their continued rallying”.

2300 Club would like to thank all candidates who applied for this year’s award.

John Easson Award – Update

Our 2011 winner Osian Pryce has now competed on the first round of the British Rally Championship, Bournemouth based International  Sunseeker Ralley.

First time out in his new factory built Citroen DS3 R3T, Osian spent the day getting used to his new car, but still came away with a first in class and 4th o/a

Next round of the BRC is the International Bulldog Rally which takes place next weekend the 23/24 March, the event is set in the welsh forests in Osian’s backyard, so he is hoping local knowledge and the time he has spent testing will give him an advantage.

Talking of his testing, Citroen are so impressed with him, that to-day Thursday & Tomorrow, Osian will be at the Sweet lamb testing complex having tuition and help in setting up the car from Citroen Team Junior factory driver Thierry Neuville.

The Belgium driver has flown back directly from last week ends WRC Mexico rally to assist Osian in his preparations for next weeks Bulldog rally.

Winner of the 2011 John Easson Award

Our 2011 John Easson Award Winner was Osian Pryce. His debut was on the 2012 British Rally Championship. Osian has finished the first round of the series the International Rallye Sunseeker in 4th overall position.

Osian was seeded at #10 on the rally and ran under the John Easson Award as his entrant, His tie up with the award was mentioned quite a few times by the event commentators during the course of the rally.

Osian had only taken delivery of his new rally car a Citroen DC3 R3T, in the previous week, so it was a very good result in a unfamiliar untested car, I think we will see some good results from Osian as the season progresses. Next Round of the Championship will be the International Bulldog Rally running on 30/31 March.

Update on John Easson Award winner Mark McCulloch

2300 Club John Easson Award winner Mark McCulloch and co-driver Craig Wallace survived treacherous and unpredictable conditions to achieve their target of a Top 30 finish on the recent  Arnold Clark Thistle Hotel Snowman Rally, the opening round of the Hankook MSA Scottish Championship.

Mark, competing on only his second event in a recently acquired Subaru Impreza following a switch from last season's Vauxhall Corsa, ended the day a very creditable 25th overall.

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He said it had been a "day of attrition" for the David Hardie Engineering backed team, but thoroughly enjoyable, nonetheless.
"We started the first stage Meall Mor in fine form – the tyres we got hold of were an open gravel type which seemed to work well in the soft snow. But on the second stage, Millbuie, there was sheet ice everywhere. After a "900 straight", we overshot one junction by about 200 yards – luckily there was nothing sitting in the way, and then 200 yards from the end there was a "left 7" which was just sheet ice and we went off into a banking. We lost roughly two minutes on that stage alone".

The John Easson Award supported duo re-grouped, and Mark said he was delighted with the remainder of the event.
"Stage 3 was great fun because we got back onto the gravel – for about three miles – and it was phenomenal. I can't wait until the Border Counties because the car is excellent in gravel. You can just throw it into the corners, and it drifts round so nicely compared to what you can do in a front-wheel-drive car".

The Newton Stewart based driver said they were now aiming for a top 25 finish on the Brick & Steel Border Counties on March 20th.

John Easson Award Winner – Tour of Mull 2009

The 2300 Club is pleased to announce the winner of the 2009 John Easson Award:

Scotland’s Mark McCulloch has been chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award. The 22 years old Newton Stewart driver was the choice of the selection committee after very careful deliberation, which saw the attending finalists travel to Preston to take part in a one on one interview with the panel of judges.

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L->R: Mark McCulloch (Winner), Allan Durham
(John Easson Award Scheme Manager), Sara Williams (Runner-up)

 Mark emerged as winner after a very close run contest with runner up Sara Williams. 20 yrs. old Sara from Brecon made a very determined challenge for the award.

Chairman of the judging panel, Tour of Mull Clerk of the Course, Clive Molyneux said, following the interviews. “This year the standard of applicants has been extremely high, choosing the finalists was in itself a very difficult job for the selection committee, but choosing a winner from the finalists was even more difficult, it is unfortunate that there could only be one winner, however we feel Mark will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award” and of course we wish runner up Sara the very best of luck with her continued rallying”.  

On behalf of 2300 Club we would like to thank all of this year’s applicants for taking part  and look forward to seeing you again next year.

Allan Durham
John Easson Award Scheme Manager

John Easson Award – Tour of Mull 2009

The 2300 Club is pleased to announce the selection committee for the 2009 John Easson Award have chosen the three drivers to go forward to the final of this prestigious award:

The finalists are:
  • Mark McCulloch (Scotland)
  • Sara Williams (Wales)
  • Russ Thompson (England)

The three young drivers will now go forward to the final phase of the selection procedure and attend a meeting with the selection committee for a one to one interview to be held on the 21st of August. The 2009 John Easson Award winner will be announced directly after the meeting.

Applications from the candidates for this year’s award were of an extremely high standard, the selection committee faced a very difficult task in choosing the three finalists from the fifteen applicants. The 2300 Club would like to thank all the applicants and wish them the very best of luck and success with their rallying and look forward to receiving their applications again next year.

Phil Scholes, winner of the John Easson Award ’08

The 2300 Club, organisers of the legendary Tunnock’s Tour of Mull closed road tarmac rally, is proud to announce 19 year old Phil Scholes as winner of the 2008 John Easson Award for young rally drivers.

The award, now in its fifth year, is named after rally driver John Easson, a regular competitor on the Isle of Mull and a generous supporter of the 2300 Club before tragically losing his life in an air accident in 1999.

As winner of the John Easson Award, Phil will be awarded with a free entry to the Tunnock’s Tour of Mull rally, a free ferry to the Isle of Mull from Scotland, free fuel for his rally car during the rally and 8 Kumho tyres to use on the event.

As the icing on the cake, Phil also wins the trip of a lifetime to the world famous John Haugland Rally School on a frozen lake in Norway next winter. The Norway trip will include 4 days of tuition on advanced rally driving technique from John and his expert team, worth over £3,000.

The tyres for the prize drive have very kindly been provided by Kumho Tyres, whom the award organisers 2300 Club would like to sincerely thank for their support. Thanks are also due to Tony at South Shore Tyres for his assistance in putting the tyre deal together.

After a slow start, 2008 saw the biggest ever entry application for the award, with 16 crews chasing the prize and three attending the final interview process. With Phil Scholes winning the award, the unlucky finalists Kris Hall and Matt Smith should be congratulated on their efforts being good enough to see them selected for the final three.

John Easson Award Manager Dave Bateson commented:

“We had a difficult time just deciding which of the entries should make the final, as the quality of entry this year was superb. All three finalists would have been worthy winners; in the end, and after much deliberation, we decided on Phil Scholes. We were very impressed with his attitude toward the sport and in particular what he has achieved in a relatively short period of time and with a small budget.”

All at 2300 Club wish Phil the best for his attempt at the 2008 Tunnock’s Tour of Mull rally and for his trip to Norway.

The award will run again in 2009 and organisers would like to encourage all this year’s entries to try again next year for a chance to win the biggest free prize in British rallying, the John Easson Award.

Further information:

The John Easson Award Manager, Dave Bateson
Email: daveb@2300club.org
Phone: 07968 349779