Chris Ingrams Masterplan & The JEA

A young Chris Ingram applied for the 2013 John Easson Award

“Rally is in my blood. I am driven by my ambition of becoming World Rally Champion and dedicate every day working towards achieving my goals so that not only myself, but my team and my partners will benefit.”

MASTERPLAN “World Rally Champion 2023”

Chris Ingrams

Just turned 20 years old from Manchester, it was quite clear to the judging panel early on in the process that Chris was going somewhere with his confidence and ability to sell himself with pure ambition. He even had a masterplan, just like a business plan, detailing every step and goal along the way in order to achieve his dream of becoming WRC Champion. This set him apart from an already top class entry list. He was even learning French to attract the co-driver he wanted to work with. Late in 2013 it was announced that Chris Ingram had received the award.

With a prize fund of £4,000 contributing to Chris’s entry fees, his chosen rallies for the 2014 season were in the ERC Junior series. Teaming up with French co-driver Gabin Moreau, using a Renault Twingo, the pair showed a very good pace early in the season. Unfortunately they crashed out of the Circuit of Ireland rally, with a very badly damaged car. It looked like their season was over, however, this is where Chris’s ability to sell himself came in. He persuaded Renault to give him a new body shell, bearing in mind Chris’s car was privately funded with no ties to Renault. They too must have seen his potential. With the car ready for the Rally of the Azores in August they finished a credible 2nd in the junior category. The pace was there, the win had to come. Later that month the pair were signed by Peugeot UK to run in a 208 r2. Their financial worries over, they could get down to the business of driving. Rewarding Peugeot UK with their first class win at WRC Wales Rally GB . A fabulous result to the end a great season. 2300club were very proud to support.

The following three seasons would produce great results, ticking off their goals on the way to becoming WRC champion. Teaming up with Peugeot UK then Opel Motorsport, Chris secured one of his main goals to become 2017 under 27 ERC 2wd Champion. Another great result was a class win of over 9 minutes, at Wales Rally GB. Some fabulous results for the team.

Chris Ingram partnered with co-driver Ross Whittock in the Fabia r5 for the 2018 season in 4wd. They were with the privately funded Toksport WRT Skoda Team. They competed against factory and big budget teams with brilliant results. However at the start of the 2019 season the pair found themselves with serious financial worries as their main sponsor had pulled out, putting this years step in the masterplan of becoming the ERC 4wd Champion at risk. Due to Chris’s sheer determination to succeed and to sell himself, he has managed to fund his way through 6 of 8 rounds of the ERC. With the pair leading the Championship by 1 point the funding ran dry, they have had an incredible journey to get this far. Their last event was Barum Czech Rally which had a winning prize fund of €100,000, this could have made all the difference, but sadly was not to be. The pair were leading this rally going into the last stage, when on the last corner of the last stage, the car slid slightly wide losing first position and the prize money by 0.3 of a second. Chris now needs as much support as he can get to finish the season and to stand a chance of being the first British winner of the ERC in 52 years.

There is a GOFUNDME.COM set up by his mum Jo Ingram on his facebook page @chrisingramrally.
Please get behind him & help make this masterplan happen.

More Good News from George Lepley

The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Award winner, George Lepley, kicked off his season with a class win on the Cambrian earlier in the year. He’s since been carrying on the good form by winning the championship! Very well done to a very worthy winner.

If you are a young rally driver or co driver, entry for the 2019 John Easson Award opens again on 1st of September. Check out this website for details nearer the time. Get your 2020 season of to a flying start.

Amazing News from George Lepley the John Easson Award Winner

“We have won the BTRDA Silver Star in the mighty Avenger, beating all the Escort BDA’s, Millington’s, modern R2’s etc! It was great to win 4 from 4 events. Needing to finish 6th or higher on the Nicky Grist event, we finished 3rd.”

“Tyre choice and being held up by catching a car in stage 1 was challenging, but our result was all the more sweet by beating the best of the British Historics! A great result for the team. The amount of PR that the car has created has been phenomenal, it’s everywhere and everyone has talked about it.”

“I would like to thank everyone at 2300 club for putting your faith in me and I’m proud to be the ambassador for the Award.As for future plans, the Avenger is on its way back to Baz Jordan. We are currently 2nd O/A in the Gold Star too and we are hoping do at least the Woodpecker, if possible the Trackrod, in order to gain some more points for the championship. I have put an entry in for the Woodpecker.  For now, I’ll try to enjoy the summer break but get plans in place for the last 2 BTRDA rounds followed by 2020.”

George Lepley – BTRDA Rallynuts Stages

The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Scholarship Winner reports on his progress

George had another mega weekend. The Rallynuts stages, starting in Builth Wells for round 3 of the BTRDA Rally Championship. A new engine in for this event, a 2 litre 16 valve BRM. 

“The first loop of stages were much drier than expected and we set out on tyres that were too soft, causing some time loss. Furthermore, a differential issue meant the car was effectively 1 wheel drive with little/no pre-load when checked in service. The car wasn’t driving quite as George had hoped and felt as if they were struggling for traction, so this explained a lot! George found himself not leading for the first time this year, in fact 8 seconds down. But with 2 stages left, it was a case of giving it their all to ensure they got the win that they were after, especially after the first 2 wins this season. 21 miles through Hafren and Sweet Lamb awaited them. Although the car was wounded, George and co-driver Tom Woodburn, had a big push to come out with a 12 second win! Despite their issues, it was great to be first 2 wheel drive, first historic and first Junior! It puts them in a very good position in the championship with 3 wins from 3. 

Most importantly, it was the first win for the new BRM engine and so I would like to say a big thank you to the whole team and to all the supporters and 2300 Club John Easson Award for their continued support and belief in me. I’m proud to have re-paid everyone with this win with the new engine. 

The next event is on 11th May in Oswestry, the Plains Rally.

George Lepley 11th Overall on Malcolm Wilson

The 2300 Club’s 2018 John Easson Scholarship Winner reports on his progress

Round 2 of the BTRDA was the Malcolm Wilson Rally, based at M-Sport, with Stages in and around the Lake District. They included a long 12.5 mile stage through the notoriously challenging Grizedale stage of which I was certainly looking forwards to!

After a large amount of rain fell on the Friday night, the stages were certainly going to be wet and slippy. But to see the snow arrive and then settle how it did was a surprise to say the least! 3 very slippy stages before the first service awaited us, causing a lot of drama amongst other crews! Then a long trip out to the Grizedale area for some excellent stages. There was no snow here, just wet ground so plenty more grip than the morning Stages! A big push through the 4 stages that we’re awaiting us saw us extend our lead in the 2 wheel drive and historic categories. Unfortunately, a rear axle arm bent in the penultimate short stage causing the car to behave strangely. A short final service where the service crew managed to replace one of the broken parts before a final stage in Greystoke where we just nursed the car back to get to the finish after a very dramatic and difficult days rallying! An extremely rewarding champagne spray at the finish!

An incredible 11th O/A, 1st 2 wheel drive, 1st Historic, 1st Junior award (Tynemouth Computer Services), Best presented car at Scrutineering award, Special award for fastest 2WD through first 2 stages Hobcarton & Comb.
The next event is the Rallynuts Stages in April. A big thank you to Baz Jordan of Jordan Road Surfacing for loaning me the lovely avenger, the 2300 Club John Easson Award, Jondel Race Engines, Ex-Pressed steel panels, Kielder WT, Pirelli Tyres, revolution wheels and all the team for their continued support.”

John Easson Award Winner George Lepley on the Cambrian Rally

“After my 2019 British Rally Championship plans fell through a month before the opening round, I was left without a seat. The opening round was the Cambrian Rally in Llandudno, North Wales, which was also the opening round of the BTRDA (British National Championship of which I competed in last season). 10 days before the event, local businessman and BTRDA Championship headline sponsor, Baz Jordan of Jordan Road Surfacing, stepped in and said I could use one of his beautifully prepared historic Hillman Avenger rally cars, it’s not what I had planned but thought…hell why not, I saw it as a challenge, being a right-hand drive car and a rear wheel drive car after the left hand drive Fiesta R2 I drove last year.

With the opening round being part of the 2 biggest rally championships in the country, the British Rally Championship (BRC) and British National Rally Championship (BTRDA), Llandudno town centre atmosphere was electric with over 130 rally cars. Stages included some of those used on the Great British round of the world rally championship, Wales rally GB, so some challenging stages were ahead of us in the new car.

Despite some very slippy conditions in the morning, followed by a rutted road in the afternoon, the car ran faultlessly and me and co-driver Arwel Jenkins came away with first 2 wheel drive car, beating much more powerful millington & XE powered cars and modern R2 fwd cars, being presented with a special award for the rally for our hard charging effort! Also, finishing first historic rally car in the Historic Cup and first BTRDA Junior Driver, I was delighted with our achievement, it couldn’t have gone any better for our first event in the car! It is now part of our 2019 BTRDA campaign to aim to be the first historic car to win the overall 2 wheel drive/Silver Star championship. We finished a very credible 13th overall, against many 4 wheel drive World Rally cars, R5 cars, Evos, Subaru’s etc!

I would like to say a huge thank you to the 2300 Club John Easson Award, a prize that literally has kept me rallying this season (last year at Uni!) Also, I would like to say thanks to Baz Jordan, Jondel Race Engines, Beatson’s Building Supplies, Ex-Pressed Steel Panels, Kielder WT, Pirelli tyres and Jason Lepley Motorsport, all for making this possible. It is not the end of my modern rally career, just a blip in my circumstances which I hope to turn into a positive showing my pace in a variety of cars, LHD or RHD, FWD or RWD !

The next event is in 3 weeks at the Malcolm Wilson Rally in Carlisle.”

Winner of the 2018 John Easson Award

2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 John Easson Award. Lincolnshire driver George Lepley was chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £6,000.

This year we had a total of 17 Candidates for the award consisting of 15 Drivers and 2 Co-Drivers. The JEA subcommittee met on the 14th November to review the applications and pick our 3 finalists.

George Lepley (Lincolnshire)
Ewan Tindall (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Finley Reton (Blairgowry Scotland)

The final was held Friday 23 November at the Tickled Trout Hotel. The selection panel this year was 2300 Club members Clive Molyneux, Ian Grindrod, Bury Rally Driver and local Businessman John Cope, and our 2017 JEA winner Tommi Meadows.

Every year the team are faced with a difficult task to choose the eventual winner, and this year was no exception, all 3 candidates gave a good account of themselves on why they should receive the coveted JEA.

However one candidate stood out from the other two and it was a unanimous decision by the panel to award the prize to George Lepley.

George first applied for the JEA in 2014 and had made it through to the final on two previous occasions but narrowly missed out on the prize, but he persevered and came back for yet another attempt at winning the JEA, and his drive and enthusiasm shined through and he certainly impressed the whole team enough to take the prize this year.

We all agreed we think he will be a good ambassador to carry the JEA forward.

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

Allan Durham
2300 Club John Easson Award Scheme Manager

John Easson Award – 2018 Finalists

2300 Club are pleased to announce the finalists of the 2018 John Easson Award.

George Lepley
Finley Retson
Ewan Tindall

The Award selection committee will meet the finalists later in November and following an informal interview the winner of the 2018 JEA will be decided.

The standard of applicants was extremely high and the selection panel faced a difficult task to narrow them down to three to go forward to the final.

2300 Club would like to thank all candidates who applied for this year’s award and wish them continued success in their rallying.

Allan Durham
2300 Club John Easson Award Scheme Manager

John Easson Award Winners Thrive in British Rallying

Previous John Easson Award winner Sam Bilham will be joining our Current winner Tommi Meadows in a second “Peter Smith of Swift Caravans” supplied and sponsored Fiesta R2 on Rally GB running as a 2 car team.

Also another previous winner Chris Ingram had a sensational debut into the World Rally Championship last weekend driving a TOK sport R5 Skoda into an incredible 10th overall on Rally Turkey. Chris was leading the WRC 2 catagory until a puncture dropped him to 3rd overall in WRC 2 at the finish. He will also be competing on Rally GB in the TOK Sport R5 Skoda.

Winner of the 2017 John Easson Award

2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2017 John Easson Award.

Lancashire driver Tommi Meadows was chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £6,000.

Tommi Meadows being awarded 2017 John Easson Scholarship Award by Allan Durham of 2300 Club

The 17 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.

Tommi emerged as winner after a very close run contest with fellow finalists, Lincolnshire driver George Lepley and Lancashire Co driver Chris Clarke-Simkiss

This year the judges, Former Tour of Mull Clerk of the Course Clive Molyneux, former international co driver Ian Grindrod, Bury rally driver John Cope and guest judge 2016 JEA winner Sam Bilham faced a very difficult task in choosing the winner, Clive said, It is unfortunate that there can only be one winner, however we feel Tommi will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award and of course we wish runners up George and Chris the very best of luck with their continued rallying”.

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

Allan Durham
2300 Club John Easson Award Scheme Manager