Jason Pritchard and Phil Clarke took the top awards at the Protyre Motorsport UK Asphalt Rally Championship Gala Prizegiving on Saturday night, when they were presented with the overall drivers’ and co-drivers’ trophies by Protyre Area Manager Rob Gardner.
The pair clinched back-to-back Asphalt Rally Championship titles on the final round of the series, the Ford Parts Cheviot Stages Rally on Otterburn, after a fantastic year long battle in their North Road Garage-supported Focus WRC05.
It is their fifth major national rally title in as many years, after winning the British Historic Rally Championship a record-breaking three times in a row (2015, ’16 and ’17) and the Asphalt Rally Championship twice (2018 and ’19).
And in a truly lovely and sporting gesture, Jason and Phil used their big moment to pay tribute to the hard work that Jane Evans does, presenting the Protyre MUK Asphalt Rally Championship Co-ordinator with an unexpected bouquet of flowers.
“It was a hard year,” said Jason. “After winning the opening three rounds we were leading in Belgium before we had a problem with the brakes and then family commitments meant that I couldn’t go to Ireland. We came back, we had a few problems with the car, but I kept my head thanks to Phil. On the Cheviot the car felt like a Group N car, but we kept plugging away and got there in the end.
“It’s a great family team and I have to thank mum and dad for allowing me to drive a car like a Focus WRC – I really can’t thank them enough and these two titles are for them. I also have to thank Phil for sitting next to me. There aren’t many people I trust to co-drive and I don’t want to do a rally if Phil can’t sit next to me because I appreciate the huge effort he puts in. Without him I would not have won five national championships in the last five years. And I have to thank the boys who service for us. We are a very small team on a very limited budget, and everyone pulls together and works so hard to make this happen.”
“Jason is awesome at making pace notes – we can drive over a new road once on a recce and then the next time it’s at full speed on the rally and the notes are absolutely spot on. I take my hat off to him,” added Phil. “He’s an absolute pleasure to sit next to and co-drive for.”