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Accolades that span the ages

Britain’s RAC salutes old and young with annual Historic awards

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You need to look no further than the list of 2020 Royal Automobile Club Historic Awards recipients to realize the wonderful span of participants in the collector car hobby. 

While we aren’t told the ages of Lifetime Achievement winners Peter and Betty-Ann Banham, they clearly have been involved for many years. Meanwhile, Young Achiever Jack Bond is presented by the British club as an example of the bright future for the hobby.

RAC Banhams
Betty-Ann and Peter Banham have swept up many British rally participants, fixed their vehicles and gotten them back into competition

Of the Banhams, the RAC notes, “For decades, this highly skilled and endlessly enthusiastic duo have been the backbone of historic rallying.

“Acting as a ‘sweep crew’ and working mechanical miracles on innumerable events in the UK and overseas, the couple are responsible for getting hundreds of cars and drivers to the finish and really are the unsung heroes of the sport.”

Ben Cussons, RAC chairman, expounds, “Their outstanding contribution to the historic rallying community and the support they have given competitors for decades is overwhelming and just highlights those unsung heroes behind the scenes keeping the engines running.

“Their extraordinary feats eclipsed only by the enormity of their goodwill, exceptional teamwork, charitable spirit and industrious approach are not only etched in the archives of historic rallying but in the anecdotes of thousands of competitors whose days they have saved.”

And in regard to Bond, who is 24 years old, the RAC notes, “Jack already has 16 years of Vintage Sports Car Club membership under his belt — at age 14, he was campaigning his family’s 1926 Bullnose Morris. 

“In addition to competing, he works at Tip Top Engineering and recently cast, machined and sold his own run of Morris cylinder heads.”

Cussons added, “The standard of entries this year has been superb and the judges, who are central to the integrity of the awards and experts in their fields, had a tough time honing them down to the finalists. I am especially encouraged by the quality of nominations for the Young Achiever Award; new for this year, it really highlights the passion amongst the young guns for the industry.”

The other finalists for the Young Achiever award were 23-year-old Liam Howel, who started working for the Jim Clark Trust and Motorsports Museum in college and has just become secretary of the Trust, and 20-year-old Harry Ruffell-Hazell, who has gone from apprentice to a team leader at the Classic Motor Cars restoration shop.

Among the other award winners are Collection — British Motor Museum; Competitive Event — HSCC Legends of Brands Hatch Super Prix; Restoration — 1948 Land Rover JUE 477 by Ineos Automotive and Julian Shoolheifer; Personality — Janice Pitchforth, for developing apprenticeships and restoring “the faith of a disillusioned industry in the potential and commitment of a new generation of engineers.”

Founded in 1897 and awarded its Royal title in 1907 by King Edward VII, the RAC staged a 1,000 Mile Trial in 1900 and the Tourist Trophy race in 18905. It introduced the driver’s license and annually stages the London Motor Week and London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

Larry Edsall
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 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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