SMRC Awards Night Review

The annual Scottish Motor Racing Club awards night took place on Saturday past (17th November) at the Sheraton Grande Hotel and Spa, Edinburgh. Some fresh faces, the announcement of a new club president, a new timing partnership and a surprise award for the Hartley and Sheila Whyte winners, ensured that the 2018 awards did not disappoint!

This year, the evening took place a couple of weeks earlier than its traditional December date, in an attempt to avoid any clashes with attendee’s festive preparations. The evening also saw a new host line up, with BTCC pundit Paul O’Neill, ex mini competitor Fiona Wallace and former SMRC regular, Joe Tanner compering the awards ceremony.

Over 200 guests attended the evening, including British Touring Car drivers Aiden Moffat and Rory Butcher. 2012 World Endurance Championship winner – Ryan Dalziel – was also due to be in attendance but a rather heavy snowstorm saw him stuck in New York and unable to make the trip!

As always, the evening saw all the 2018 class champions and top finishers presented with their respective awards. In addition, there was the traditional element of surprise to see which individuals would collect some of the clubs most prestigious awards. For example, the Ecurie Ecosse Hub Cap, was this year awarded to Scottish Formula Ford Driver, Seb Melrose, for his spirited performance this season whilst the Walter Robertson Trophy – awarded in recognition of a volunteers commitment and dedication to the sport – was won by Glenn Alcock for his work behind the scenes promoting Scotland’s racing drivers.  Elsewhere, the clubs most prestigious accolade – The John Romanes ‘Swift’ Trophy – was awarded to Aston Martin works driver, Jonny Adam, for his efforts in the FIA World Endurance Championship and particularly for his performance winning a record third British GT crown this year. Unfortunately, Jonny was unable to collect the award in person – as he was competing in the WEC 6hours of Shanghai – but fiancé, Rachel Brunton, was on hand to collect the stunning Trophy, which has been won in the past by the likes of David Leslie, David Coulthard and Paul Di Resta.

The winners of the prestige awards were not the only surprises on the night, however. Early on in the evening, Allan McNish, greeted the room via a pre-recorded video to announce that, after 10 years, he would be stepping down as president and handing over the reins to long term SMRC board member and Ecurie Ecosse Patron, Hugh McCaig. Read the full announcement on this here.

As announced before the event, the evening drinks reception was sponsored by the Edinburgh Watch Company, (see full announcement here) who were in attendance with a fine display of time pieces for guests to indulge in. The clubs new Business Development Manager, Rory Bryant, announced during his opening speech that this partnership would be extended into 2019, where the Edinburgh Watch Company will become the clubs Official Timing partners.

Perhaps the most exciting announcement of the night related to the Hartley & Sheila Whyte Trophy’s; awarded to two club drivers who are relative newcomers to circuit racing but have demonstrated great potential within their given championship. This year, the Hartley Whyte trophy was awarded to Legend’s racer Ryan McLeish, whilst the Sheila Whyte trophy was awarded to mini racer, Michael Weddell. In addition to the surprise of winning the awards, the two recipients also found out that they had won a unique opportunity to test an LMP3 car, thanks to Colin Noble Snr and the Neilson Racing Ecurie Ecosse in Association with Noble’s Nissan Racing Team. Both Ryan and Michael will have the opportunity to attend one of the teams test days at a European circuit, where they will get seat time in the team’s Ligier LMP3 car, receive coaching from Colin Noble Jnr and get access to the teams data and race engineers.

This is a truly fantastic prize that reflects the clubs commitment to creating opportunities for our drivers but equally demonstrates the generosity and support of our members. With this in mind, the club would like to say a huge thank you to Colin Noble Jnr and Snr for giving Ryan and Michael this amazing opportunity. Further details on their adventure will be released in due course.

2018 Awards Dinner Feedback Survey – we would like to hear your views on the 2018 awards evening. If you attended, please spare 2 minutes to complete our feedback survey so that we can make our 2019 Awards Dinner even better! The Survey can be found here.