James Wilson has been nominated for this year’s Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver Award for his performances in January and February.
The 23 year-old from Armagh drove his Peugeot 208 to a clear win in the Junior class of the opening round of the Valvoline National Forestry Rally Championship, run by Carrick-on-Suir MC.
James drove in his first rally in 2013 at the wheel of a Peugeot 106, but only began competing regularly two years ago. He won the Northern Ireland Junior title that year, progressing to the Irish Tarmac series in 2017, where he scored a class win in his 208.
This was the highlight of his career to date, as it continued a fine tradition which makes him the third generation member of his family to win a class in the Irish Tarmac Championship – his grandparents, James and Hilary, achieved this in 1981, and his father Trevor repeated the success ten years later.
James plans on continuing in the Valvoline Forestry events for the rest of the year, as well as tackling the British Championship, which gets under way this weekend with the Pirelli Rally in the North of England. With a busy year of driving on gravel surfaces under his belt, he then hopes to launch a serious assault on the British title in 2019.
He works as an engineer in the family business, Road Tankers Armagh, who are also one of his sponsors, along with Philip White Tyres, James Wilson Garage Services, and TEC Industrial of Dublin.
Five bi-monthly winners are selected from January-February, through to September-October, along with the highest placed eligible drivers from both the Junior Championship in the Triton Showers National series and the Junior category in the Valvoline National Forestry Championship, and a wildcard selection, as the award finalists.
The winner of the Motorsport Ireland Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year Award receives €50,000 worth of support to contest stage rallies nationally & internationally in 2019 along with the support of Billy Coleman co-ordinator, Sean McHugh, while the two runners-up will receive free entries into a number of MI permitted events in 2019, along with co-ordinator support.