Details of our most recent winners - those from 2020 - appear below. To view the 2019 winners, please click on the button at the bottom of this page.
The Royal Automobile Club Lifetime Achievement Award recognises an individual who has, in the opinion of the Club, made an outstanding contribution to British motoring history and heritage, or to the British historic motoring and motor racing movement, across many years. This is the only category which could not be nominated and is the only category recognising achievement beyond the previous twelve months.
For over three decades Peter and Betty-Ann Banham have been ever-present members of the historic rallying community. Known to countless owners, organisers and entrants around the world as the people whose remarkable ingenuity and enthusiasm have saved the day, they are perhaps the best representation of the often-unsung heroes of historic motorsport.
From the pages of a 1990 edition of Motorsport magazine to a PistonHeads forum thread, the names of Peter and Betty-Ann Banham can be found wherever historic rallying is discussed. Keen competitors themselves, they and their venerable Riley were once regulars at Club rally events, where Peter’s knack for roadside repairs quickly earned him a reputation.
Far from being preoccupied only with their own success, however, the Banhams' willingness to assist their fellow entrants soon laid the path to a role as a mechanical assistance crew on distance events. On countless occasions since they have been the last in the car park at the end of a long and tiring day; Peter with his never-ending supply of large washers, bolts and lengths of sturdy chain, and Betty-Ann alongside him, an equally unerring source of tea, fruit buns and positivity. Peter says that she also has an uncanny ability to find whatever mechanical item he needs!
Peter and Betty-Ann are still playing their part on the Scotsman and the RAC Rally of the Tests. Tomas and Patrick from HERO-ERA said, “Ever since we met Peter and Betty-Ann more than a decade ago, they have been amongst the most resourceful characters in the classic rally scene. Always a smile, always selfless in their desire to help competitors carry on their rally, Peter and Betty-Ann represent a rare breed of human beings that many should be inspired to emulate.”
Prolific historic competitor Jonathan Turner recalls being bailed out by the Banhams on countless occasions. If an errant tyre, repaired by hand with trusty steel levers, and a replacement spring, fashioned from chain by the roadside, are Peter's bread, then plucking cars from snow drifts on the Monte is his butter.
There is nothing commonplace about Jonathan's most noteworthy interaction with the Banhams, however, which occurred when Peter spotted him stranded in the Gobi Desert during the 2007 Peking to Paris. With nothing to be done about his Itala's broken crankshaft, Peter towed him for nine hours over the washboard roads. Battered by sandstorms and with the tow rope giving way at every opportunity, they eventually capitulated and camped by the roadside. It was only upon waking the next morning that they discovered themselves to be just one dune away from having reached the main campsite; in true Banham fashion, everyone else had gone to bed by the time they arrived.
With their extraordinary feats eclipsed only by the enormity of their goodwill, the Banhams’ exceptional teamwork, charitable spirit and industrious approach are indelibly etched not only in the annals of historic rallying, but in the anecdotes of thousands of competitors whose days they have saved.
In Gary Pusey's own words this is ‘a story that was relatively unknown that involved vision, self-sacrifice and quite a bit of bravery, that is also a heart-warming and very human story with a lasting legacy.' Gary became aware of this fascinating story earlier this year, and quickly realised that it was largely unknown in the UK – no-one he spoke to in the Land Rover community had heard of Ted Reilly or Jezebel the Land Rover. Researching online, Gary eventually found a reference to Jezebel on social media, and this led him to a friend of the Reilly family, who told him about the plan to drive a resurrected Jezebel from Eswatini to Solihull to raise funds for wildlife conservation. That friend introduced Gary to Ted Reilly, his wife Liz and son Mick, and Gary quickly became enthralled and inspired by their pioneering wildlife conservation efforts, and by the extraordinary role played by their humble Land Rover.
Judges’ comment: We felt this was a fresh and fascinating story, painstakingly researched and expertly written. It struck the perfect balance between the need to discuss the minutiae of the Land Rover's history and restoration and its far wider conservation activities. He drew Ted Reilly's character very well, too. The pictures were brilliant (and very well used in the page design) and — as a bi-product — the whole piece provided the reassurance 4x4 owners often need that vehicles like theirs are still valid and needed. The story's originality, its easy and affectionate style, the obvious hard work involved in teasing out the facts, the authenticity brought by the pictures, brilliance of the composition (between deeds and car), and the way he dealt with the characters involved. The decider for us was the way this story lived with each of us in the days after we'd read it.
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY:
· Doug Nye - Stirling Moss (Magneto)
· Jon Pressnell - Life in the Snakepit (Enjoying MG)
· Gary Pusey - The Wildlife Conservation Pioneers (Land Rover Monthly)
Jack Bond already has sixteen years of Vintage Sports Car Club membership under his belt and is committed to building his career in vintage motorsport. At age 14 he was campaigning his family’s 1926 Bullnose Morris before progressing to a self-prepared 1914 Vauxhall A/D type. He now has a competitive drive in a 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle Special with some other interesting projects/cars potentially in the pipeline. He initially started working at Tip Top Engineering on a voluntary basis in order to gain experience but is now a permanent member of staff. He has other strings to his bow, however – he recently cast, machined and sold a run of Morris cylinder heads. When making parts he uses traditional methods like pattern making and casting where possible and viable but makes use of modern technologies such as CAD, CNC machining, spark eroding and water cutting where better suited.
Judges’ comment: Jack Bond clearly grew up with a magneto to play with instead of a Lego set, which set him on a path to immerse himself in all things historic. His passion for the historic scene is as energic as the cars on his wish list, he wants to race and when he’s not helping to prepare them at Tip Top Engineering, he’s scouting around cheekily looking for a drive. We interviewed all three finalists and were hugely encouraged by the next generation of the Heritage industry. Jack Bond's passion is clear and he’s highly motivated. He’s aiming high and clearly has enormous energy to tackle some of the projects he’s working on – we were impressed by his range of engineering concepts and his love for the VSCC. Jack is all action and never far from his next challenge – with a competitive drive lined up in a 1930 Alvis Silver Eagle Special and his sights set on a range of camshafts, plus helping to expand Tip Top and his love for the VSCC he certainly has the drive and ambition to make it all happen.
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY:
· Jack Bond
· Liam Howel
· Harry Ruffell-Hazell
Janice Pitchforth has been singularly instrumental in promoting and developing apprenticeships throughout the Heritage industry commenced by P and A Wood some years ago. It is a vital part of the work of the Heritage Skills Academy located at Bicester Heritage. Janice has worked tirelessly to secure apprenticeship opportunities for young people. She has then gone a step further to engage with them to such a degree of success that she has been asked to open a second Southern centre for apprenticeship training at the Brooklands museum. Janice’s success with the Heritage Engineering Technical Apprenticeship programme has restored the faith of a disillusioned industry in the potential and commitment of a new generation of engineers. When the motor industry is recording 90% fewer apprenticeship starts since last year, she has bucked the trend by matching 25 new employees with apprentices since the Covid lockdown in March.
Judges’ comment: The contributions all the nominees have made to sustaining the Historic car movement at this difficult time have been substantial and we appreciate the opportunity we have been given to recognise these outstanding efforts. However, because she is creating the human foundations for the Heritage industry in such a vibrant and clearly successful manner, we felt Janice stodd out as the the outstanding candidate. Her work is ensuring the Heritage fleet will be supported by skilled, knowledgeable individuals for decades to come. She is also making a positive difference to human lives.
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY:
· Daniel Geoghegan, Bicester Heritage
· Rev. Adam Gompertz
· Janice Pitchforth, Heritage Skills Academy
The HSCC’s Legends of Brands Hatch Super Prix, on the Grand Prix circuit, ran on the second weekend after the permitted return of racing at the start of July. The Club undertook a massive workload to implement new working practices and drew a very strong entry for two excellent days of racing. MotorSport Vision secured spectator access and went to enormous lengths to ensure visitor safety in the era of COVID, and the event was the perfect fillip for those starved of historic racing since the end of 2019. The entire HSCC team, including the marshals, pulled together to make the event a success, even though barely a month earlier running such an event had still seemed an insurmountable challenge
Judges’ comment: More than any other, this was the event that showed that major historic race meetings could run to the new normal of COVID rules. Both the Historic Sports Car Club and MotorSport Vision deserve praise for the enormous amount of hard work they put into staging a superb event in the most challenging of circumstances.
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY:
· A Novice Trial (HERO)
· HSCC Legends of Brands Hatch Super Prix
· Thruxton Historic
This series epitomises the spirit of sports and GT car racing with genuine, period-specification cars from the 1950s and early ‘60s of a type which raced both internationally and in national events of the period. Grids, which are by invitation only, usually comprise more than 30 cars and range from sports-racing cars of the 1950s such as Lola Mk 1s and Lotus Elevens to E-type Jaguars and Shelby Cobras and Mustangs of the mid-60s.
Judges’ comment: Very high-quality grids with excellent driving standards, result in spectacular yet clean racing throughout the field. A race series run by drivers for drivers it is now in its fourteenth successful season. Off track the social side is superb. The races featured large entries of cars of exceptional quality. Driving standards, particularly in the very wet race at Castle Combe, were exemplary with the owners playing a major role by having to drive for at least 50% of the distance rather than relying too much on ‘the professionals’.
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY
· FJHRA/HSCC 'Silverline' UK Championship
· GT & Sports Car Cup
· HRDC ‘Jack Sears Trophy’ for Touring Cars 1958-1966
In April 2020, as the UK’s historic motoring enthusiasts watched classic events all over the country being cancelled due to lockdown, automotive photographer, writer and classic car owner Nick Chivers came up with an idea. Classics for Carers was an entirely charitable event in support of NHS carers, colleagues and volunteers. The ‘stay-at-home motoring event’ saw prized vehicles taking pride of place on driveways across the UK on Sunday, May 3. They could then be enjoyed by local communities, as residents headed out for their permitted daily exercise, and exhibitors were encouraged to share their motors on social media, for people to enjoy further afield. Nick’s original aim was to raise around £1,500 for the NHS charities. Between this and a much-demanded second event in June, he actually raised £17,500. This event raised more than funds – it raised spirits. Despondent classic vehicle owners delighted in the event, rally plates and event posters were displayed with pride, owners took up collections on the day from people admiring their cars and motorcycles and, with social media posts being uploaded from those taking part, there was a real sense of community.
Judges comment: There has been an explosion in online events, but Classics for Carers was unique. As well as being a spectacle that could be seen online through images posted on social media, it also created a nationwide live car show that enthusiasts could enjoy during their daily permitted constitutional. A truly remarkable event which smashed its NHS fundraising target, Classics for Carers provided loads of online content like so many other digital events, but with the important added element of a real life classic spectacle for just about anyone who went out for a walk during Lockdown 1. It helped keep the classic movement in the public eye when it could so easily have been forgotten, and raised vital funds for charities.
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY:
· Classics for Carers
· London Concours
· REVS Limiter
Like everyone, the British Motor Museum has had an extraordinary and difficult year, not least when, owing to lockdown, it had to close its major exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Range Rover when it had been open for just two days. It was decided to extend the run of that display until 28 September so visitors could enjoy it when the Museum reopened after three months. The Museum also launched a new, online exhibition, celebrating one of Britain’s best-selling small cars – Metro at 40. The exhibition, which went live on 9 September, is free to view from the Museum’s website and gives everyone the chance to celebrate this iconic car’s special birthday. It is packed with all things Metro from the Archive, including facts, photos and film clips. Visitors can also read about many fond memories of the small hatchback which have been submitted to the Museum by Metro owners. In October 2020 the Museum opened a new exhibition from the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust (JDHT). When Jaguar Bought Daimler tells the story of when Jaguar bought the Daimler Company from BSA in 1960. The Museum remained very active online throughout 2020, with its #historybeginsathome social media posts and a lively blog.
Judges’ comment: The staff at the British Motor Museum used the first 2020 Lockdown to carry out major work on the Museum's archives, including working with Warwick University to transfer a priceless collection of motor industry business records to Gaydon. The British Motor Museum was selected as the winner particularly for the way the team there dealt with the 2020 lockdown and kept the museum active and accessible to the public with a prolific on-line presence.
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY:
· British Motor Museum
· National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
· Vauxhall Heritage
Chassis 860001 was completed on 19 July 1948 and was the first-ever official production Land Rover. Original plans to gift the vehicle to King George VI were shelved and the 80” then spent the next18 months in the Lode Lane factory site before being registered as JUE 477. By 1970 it had changed hands several times, eventually being bought by a local farmer and miner in Northumberland. Mechanical issues meant that for decades it was left exposed to the elements on a Northumbrian hillside before being put into storage in a tumbledown barn in 1998.
In 2017, Julian Shoolheifer was tasked by the owner's family with finding a new custodian for JUE 477. This achieved he was subsequently given the job of carrying out a sympathetic but thorough restoration, preserving as much of its history and originality as was physically and safely possible. Four months and over 1,000 man hours later, the original chassis - which many had condemned as being beyond repair - was ready to form the foundation of JUE 477 once again. The original engine, gearbox and transfer box were extensively rebuilt in order to provide a reliable drivetrain and thousands of ancillaries, components, nuts and bolts were all removed, cleaned and overhauled and refitted. The twisted and torn bodywork was not even washed and, using ancient and modern techniques and as little heat as possible, was returned to a recognisable form. In September 2020 JUE 477 won the Best 1940s Vehicle at the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace, London.
Judges’ comment: There are some remarkable stories in this project, such as the restorers travelling to Australia in order to replicate one of the only known examples of an early Land Rover badge, and the missing parts discovered on eBay that turned out to almost certainly have originally come from JUE 477. The perfect restoration story! It was a tough decision, and very close call, between three entirely different vehicles. After inspecting the vehicles and many long discussions, it was the Land Rover JUE 477 that was chosen as the winner. Its historical importance, the atrocious condition that it was found in after years left on open moorland exposed to all weathers for decades; the incredible lengths that were gone to in order to retain as much of the original vehicle as possible; and the brave decision not to over-restore were all factors in the decision
FINALISTS IN THIS CATEGORY:
· 1911 De Dion lorry – Nick Pellett
· 1981 Ford Escort Mk 2 (ex-David Richards/Ari Vatanen WRC) – Viking Motorsport
· 1948 Land Rover JUE 477 – Ineos Autmotive & Julian Shoolheifer