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Alcester's Ed James and Wootton Wawen's Charlie Mason taste success in debut British Trial & Rally Drivers Association Championship season

TWO racing drivers are celebrating after scooping a number of awards in their first season of competing in the coveted British Trial & Rally Drivers Association (BTRDA) Championship.

Ed James and Charlie Mason at the Kielder Forest Rally. Photo: Gary Fothergill Photography. (61388135)
Ed James and Charlie Mason at the Kielder Forest Rally. Photo: Gary Fothergill Photography. (61388135)

Ed James, of EJM Preparation in Alcester, and Charlie Mason, from Wootton Wawen, have had a busy year of competing in the series which was ran over eight events spanning the length and breadth of the UK.

Travelling more than 2,500 miles, the championship started in Cockermouth, Cumbria, for the Malcolm Wilson Rally in March and finished in Llandudno in October.

Overall the duo had a stellar year in the Bronze Star category and they came away with:

  • 3rd overall BTRDA Bronze Star driver
  • 3rd overall BTRDA Bronze Star co-driver
  • 2nd 1400s class driver
  • 2nd 1400s class co-driver

Mason was also awarded first BTRDA series overall lady co-driver. The team will attend the BTRDA Awards evening in January to collect their awards and celebrate their fantastic achievements.

At the first event of the year, the pair, in their yellow Nissan Micra Kit car, came away with a great result considering the lack of seat time during the previous year, finishing third overall in the championship category and second in their class.

James and Mason carried on their point-scoring into the Rallynuts stages a month later in Builth Wells, Wales, finishing third overall again in the championship category and second in their class.

The team’s consistent streak hit a bump in the road on the Borders rally in Scotland when the Micra slid into one of the infamous ditches of the Scottish Forests.

James and Mason follow the motto ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’ and along with some very helpful Scottish spectators, ten minutes later the Micra was back on the road.

Although a significant amount of time had been lost pulling the car out of the ditch, the team scored some good points.

In July on the Nicky Grist Stages, which took place on the hottest day of the year, an injector issue caused them to miss the morning loop of stages.

The service crew worked hard and got the car back running for the afternoon, however, James and Mason slipped down the leaderboard, coming home in a respectable tenth.

Following the sixth round of the championship, the team’s most local event in Ludlow, the duo were leading both their championship category and class despite the minor issues they had faced so far in the season.

However, their luck would end on the Trackrod Stages in Yorkshire, with a blown engine putting an abrupt end to their day about five miles into the first stage.

After spending two hours in the rainy forest until the car could be recovered to the service crew, the team packed up and travelled the 180 miles home.

With exactly five weeks until the final event of the season, James and the team at EJM Preparation got to work fixing the Micra.

The blown engine meant that major surgery was required and the team were not sure if the car would be ready in time.

After many late nights in the workshop the car was ready and on its way to Llandudno for the final event, the Cambrian Rally.

The car ran faultlessly all day and James and Mason came home with fourth in the championship and third in class.

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