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

John Easson Award – 2017 Finalists

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

George Lepley -Driver
Tommi Meadows – Driver
Chris Sharpe-Simkiss – Co-Driver

The Award selection committee will meet the finalists on the 1st December and following an informal interview the winner of the 2017 JEA will be decided.

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

Winner of the 2016 John Easson Award

 2300 Club 2016 John Easson Award

2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 John Easson Award.

Bingley rally driver Sam Bilham has been chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £5,000.

The 20 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.

Sam emerged as winner after a very close run contest with fellow finalists, George Lepley and Meirion Evans

This year the judges, co-driver “legend” – Ian Grindrod.  Motorsport News Rally Journalist Jack Benyon,, Bury rally driver John Cope and guest judge 2015 JEA winner Matthew Jackson faced a very difficult task in choosing the winner, Judges chairman John said, It is unfortunate that there can only be one winner, however we feel Sam will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award and of course we wish runners up George and Meirion 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

 

Winner of the 2015 John Easson Award

The 2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 John Easson Award.

Warwick rally driver Matthew Jackson has been chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £5,000.

The 23 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.
Matthew emerged as winner after a very close run contest with fellow finalists, Nick Carr and Sam Bilham.

This year the judges, co-driver “legend” – Ian Grindrod. Co- Driver and Former Tour of Mull Clerk of the Course Clive Molyneux. Bury rally driver John Cope and guest judge 2014 JEA winner Aaron McClure faced a very difficult task in choosing the winner, Judges chairman Clive said, It is unfortunate that there can only be one winner, however we feel Matthew will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award and of course we wish runners up Nick and Sam 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

Andy “Morty” Mort – 1968-2015

I have known Andy for more than 20 years, since he joined our rally team here at Protec Motorsport; and he has been around ever since. First of all as co-driver for my son, Mark Durham and then he teamed him up with 5 times Scottish Rally Champion and British Rally Champion David Bogie. Lately Andy has still been a valuable team member sitting along side our driver Tom Naughton on the BTRDA Gravel Championship which saw them crowned Production Cup Champions in 2014.

Andy just loved his rallying; he was forced to take a break as he battled Leukaemia for the last 5 years and it was a tremendous relief to see him beat the disease. Throughout his battle he never lost his cheeky chappy persona and was always up for a laugh.

Many people just saw the happy-go-lucky Andy, but he was also a very generous guy and cared about the younger boys and girls coming into the sport of rallying. When Steve Davis had the idea of creating the Bear Cubs Rally team over in Dervaig, Andy was one of the first people to offer some financial help, and he didn’t even want the name of his company on the car. That was a side of the man most never saw, and over the years many have benefited from his generosity.

When he was taking a break from co-driving on rallies he joined the rest of the Team at 2300 Club to give a little back to sport helping to organise the Tour of Mull rally.

We both shared a passion for a nice single Malt and I’ve nursed many a hangover after “sampling” some of his finds….including one particular night on Mull when we courageously decided we would try a shot from all the single malts on the top shelf in the Macdonald Arms starting at the left side and working our way across … I think he manged to get a third of the way across … (but only think !), before we decided we should maybe try and stand up and leave before it was necessary to carry us out …!

Away from rallying Andy was a successful businessman running a windows and door company near Wigan, and devoted father to son George and daughter Olivia. Since the cancer he was taking more of a back seat in the business to spend more time doing what he wanted to do not what the stress of running a business wanted him to do. Over the last 3 years he has spent a great deal of time in Spain, and only two weeks ago decided to make Mull his permanent home, over in Dervaig. He was looking forward to integrating into Island life with his partner Sarah Everett.

I have so many memories of Andy like the time he called me up from Mull one year when he was doing the rally with my son Mark … ”Boss we need another reccie car, the one we brought up here is a write off” … I said “Are you both alright?” … he said “yes, no problem … I’m fine … I was the only one in the car … I couldn’t sleep so went for a bit of a run over Mishnish Lochs … and fell off the road at ‘Tree bend’!!!” … he got a good bollocking for that one, but it was impossible to stay annoyed at him for long … he wouldn’t allow it …

He is going to be very much missed by all who knew him … R.I.P. Andy

Winner of the 2014 John Easson Award

The 2300 Club are pleased to announce the winner of the 2014 John Easson Award.

Cumbria rally driver Aaron McClure has been chosen as the winner of this year’s prestigious award which is worth a total prize fund of £4,000.

The 20 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.
Aaron emerged as winner after a very close run contest with fellow finalists, Sam Bilham and Cameron Davies.

This year the judges, co-driver “legend” – Ian Grindrod. Co- Driver and Former Tour of Mull Clerk of the Course Clive Molyneux. Bury rally driver John Cope, Chris Ingram, Allan Whittaker and Allan Durham also joined the deliberation, which lasted over two hours.

Judges chairman Clive said, It is unfortunate that there can only be one winner, however we feel Aaron will be a worthy recipient of the John Easson Award and of course we wish runners up Cameron and Sam 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