EERC Annual Awards Dinner & Dance
Unlucky for some maybe, but Friday the 13th saw many happy recipients of trophies at the first annual EERC Awards Dinner and Dance, in the Woodlands Suite of the DeVere Belfry resort, near Birmingham.

The first award was actually presented earlier in the day, on the Dunlop stand at the Autosport International show, where Bernard Cotterill was co-recipient of the EERC’s Derek Bell Trophy, handed to him by James Tucker and Murray Walker. Bernard, the show’s Event Director, was awarded the trophy for his capacity as chairman of the BRSCC, who have been significant supporters of the EERC in 2005, and performed sterling service in running the club’s race meetings. The trophy comprises a sculptured, semi-furled chequered flag on a wooden base, which Derek Bell, as one of the greatest endurance racers of our day, was delighted to lend his name to, and Murray had quizzed James earlier about the origins and intentions of the EERC.

Once dinner was over at the Belfry, Gary Wassell, Dunlop’s UK Motorsport Manager, proudly announced that the EERC was Dunlop’s biggest UK customer, before presenting the award for Production S1 Team of the Year to Mazda Europe and Guglielmi Motorsport, accepted by PR Director of Mazda Europe, Graeme Fudge. “This award means a lot, particularly to our chief engineer Dave, and the rest of the team, who have worked so hard,” said Steve Gugliemi later.

The Britcar Team of the Year was awarded to Parr Motorsport, but they were unable to collect their trophy in person.

Bryan Davies of Avon Tyres presented the award for Britsports Team of the Year to Pit Bull Racing. Father and son duo Tony and Simon Freeman had a consistent 2005 in their Radical in Class 2, and Tony was surprisingly still lucid when asked for his reaction in the bar several hours later. “It means a hell of a lot for Simon to win this in his first year of racing. He’s only 18, and I want to encourage him, and nurture his talent, hopefully to Touring Cars or something similar.”

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The Derek Bell Trophy then made a re-appearance, the other co-recipient being Dick Van Elke of the Dutch Supercar Challenge, who have been supporters of the EERC in 2005, and continue with the club to explore endurance racing synergies. The award was in recognition of Dick’s achievement in building the DSC over the last five years.

dailysportscar.comLast November, at the BRSCC dinner, James Tucker was awarded the John Nicol Trophy, for bringing the Silverstone 24 hours into reality, and the opportunity was taken, for the benefit of the EERC members, to re-present James with the trophy, the BRSCC’s Bob Armstrong doing the honours.

The EERC depends upon a loyal band of helpers, and safety car driver Gary James, together with co-ordinator James Happs, who have been with the club from the very start, were given Long Service Awards.

The EERC race series attracted a dedicated and talented bunch of photographers in 2005, Ron Gaunt, Lez Gardiner, Paul Cherry, Peter May, Geoff Mayes and Mike Hoyer all being there when it mattered, and the award for Photographer of the Year went to Isadora Poggi.

dailysportscar.comThe EERC enjoys considerable satellite TV coverage from Andrew Marriott’s World Motorsports programme, and rising star of TV and radio Myma Seldon (left) was awarded the trophy for TV Presenter of the Year.

The Silverstone 24 Hours was the highlight of the EERC year, and the winning Rollcentre Racing driving squad of Martin Short, Shaun Balfe, Jamie Derbyshire and Nick Jacobs were presented with awards by Harry Handkammer.

Shorty apologised for stealing the thunder of the regular Britcar competitors, adding gleefully “I still think James Tucker is a nutter, but when I first raced with him three years ago, and he told me he was going to run a 24 hour race, I was one of the people who knew he could do it.”

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The EERC, in its short existence, has played a part in nurturing talent that has gone on to make an impression nationally and globally. Liz Halliday and Fiona Leggate now enjoy success on a major scale, and the fact that they are both most definitely ladies is significant, since the 2005 Driver of the Year trophy was awarded, by David Leslie, to rising teenage star Anna Walewska, who rose above her tabloid notoriety to prove that she is a talented pilot.

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Finally, flowers were presented to the two women in James Tucker’s life – wife Wendy, who has had a tough couple of years, and PA Claire Williams, who did a fantastic job of single-handedly arranging the event, and ensuring that it ran smoothly on the night.

The awards over, many repaired to the bar for celebration and networking, but the smart men and elegant ladies of the GTS Motorsport table preferred to cut a rug on the dance floor, endorsing their endurance credibility by boogying into the wee small hours.

“I think we came of age tonight,” said James Tucker as he worked the room.
Steve Wood

We've credited the images to Steve Wood, but Geoff Mayes actually took them. Apologies for the error.

 

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