20-year-old double amputee awarded the Segrave Trophy

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Billy Monger atop the podium after a recent racing victory at Hockenheim in Germany | Photos courtesy RAC

Soon after her husband, Henry Segrave, died after breaking the world water speed record, Lady Segrave commissioned a trophy to honor British nationals who demonstrated “outstanding skill, courage and initiative — the spirit of adventure — whether on land, sea or air.”

Record-setting aviators such as Geoffrey de Havilland Jr. and auto racers from Malcolm Campbell to Stirling Moss and Jackie Stewart have been awarded the Segrave Trophy, which this year went to its youngest recipient, 20-year-old Billy Monger.

Monger at work as a commentator at the British Grand Prix

Known as “Billy Whizz,” Monger was a teenage sensation in go-karts before racing professionally in the British Formula 4 series. But in the spring of 2017, he was critically injured in a crash at Donington Park. Both of his legs were amputated. Three months later, he was driving again. 

“We are delighted to award the Trophy to Billy whose comeback to the sport, which included the overturning of existing FIA regulations, has been extraordinary and demonstrates exceptional bravery and determination,” said Ben Cussons, chairman of the Royal Automobile Club. 

Noting that Monger demonstrated “exceptional courage and determination after great adversity and returning to high levels of motorsport,” Cussons added, “He represents everything that Lady Segrave wanted to honor and that Sir Henry would have admired.”

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“My life has become so busy with my Formula 1 commentary and my own racing I haven’t had a chance to digest how amazing this award is,” Monger said the day after the awards ceremony at the RAC’s historic Pall Mall headquarters building. 

“But I stayed at Pall Mall last night and it’s starting to sink in just how incredible it is.”

Monger made his official return to racing in March 2018, competing in the British F3 Championship series in a car adapted to his needs, including moving the brake pedal and replacing the throttle pedal with a lever on the steering wheel. Earlier this year, he won the Paul grand Prix Euroformula Open race.

In addition to his own racing, Monger does commentary on Formula One for Britain’s Channel 4.

The RAC also awarded a special medal to Trevor Carlin, the racing team owner who has played a role in Monger’s comeback.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the Web and becoming the author of more than 15 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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