Motorsport UK announces 2021 Volunteer Award winners
Motorsport UK is delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Club, Volunteer and Organising Team of the Year awards respectively.
Industry-renowned rescue and safety official Charley Webber has been awarded the Volunteer honours, with Dukeries Motor Club and the organising team behind the Old Forge Mewla Rally similarly celebrated for their successes in 2021.
Volunteer of the Year – Charley Webber
An active member of the motorsport community for the past three decades, Charley runs CAM Rescue alongside wife Zoe, providing crucial track and stage-side support to organisers around the UK.
He also chairs both the Rescue Panel and the Rescue and Recovery Training Working Group, as well as holding membership of the Safety Panel. In these challenging times, Charley’s counsel helped Motorsport UK to issue COVID-19 guidance to rescue and recovery crews, allowing them to operate safely on event throughout the pandemic.
Commended by colleagues for his professionalism, confidence, and leadership qualities, as well as a positive, approachable character for newcomers to the sport, Charley has also demonstrated a keen interest in the future of the sport, particularly surrounding the introduction of EV vehicles.
Charley’s fleet includes three Rescue units and a Stage Safety Unit, and he can be regularly found maintaining and improving the vehicles during his free time outside work commitments, ensuring their longevity and that his kit meets the latest safety requirements.
“When I received a telephone call to say I had been nominated it came as a great surprise, and when I was told I had won, I must admit I was a little shocked and couldn’t really believe it,” said Charley.
“Motorsport is in my blood. I’m told I attended my first event, a Welsh hill rally, whilst still unborn – Father was competing, with Mother driving the support vehicle. I have many fond childhood memories of spectating on events with my father from club level races at Silverstone and Snetterton to the Lombard R.A.C. rally.
“Rallying has always been my main passion, and as soon as I could I started marshalling with my local club, Cambridge Car Club, and with their help I was soon assisting with the organising of scatters, PCTs and their annual stage rally.
“A chance conversation with a rescue unit operator over 30 years ago got me started in rescue and from there I set up my own unit covering events country wide. Motorsport also introduced me to soulmate and long suffering wife Zoe, and we now run Cam Rescue together covering 50 – 60 days of Motorsport a year.
“I was honoured to be asked by Andrew Large to be his successor as Safety officer for Wales Rally GB and it has been great to work alongside the likes of Fred Gallagher, Andrew Kellitt and the late Dr Phil Rayner and of course the current organising team (far too many to mention).
“Thank you to those who nominated me and to Motorsport UK for the award.”
Caroline McGuinness was commended by the judging panel and awarded second-place in the category.
Organising Team of the Year – Old Forge Mewla Rally
Organising only the second major motorsport event in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic, as you would expect, has its challenges, but this year the team behind the Mewla Rally went above and beyond to deliver a successful event despite a myriad of difficulties.
A switch to contactless timing and registration presented a new dynamic for officials and competitors to navigate, as well as the need to fill short-term staff replacements, safeguard the venue for future use through publicising the need for spectators to refrain from attending and even fill in for the Clerk of the Course in the run up to the event during a family bereavement, among others.
Ultimately, their hard work, dedication and superb attention-to-detail ensured the event not only happened but was among the most successful in its history and a real credit to Epynt Motor Club.
“The whole of the Mewla team were pleased to hear that we had won Organising Team of the Year in 2021 following what was one of the most difficult Mewla’s to organise since its inception in 1978,” read a statement from the team behind the event.
“The event has seen a number of posts holders change in recent years bringing new ideas and enthusiasm to the event and the hiatus in 2020 helped officials have a break and come to the 2021 event recharged, little did we know how much this would be needed with the challenges we would face.
“We must also thank all the competitors, marshals and officials in supporting the event, without which we would have struggled to run the event. The event is now looking ahead to 2022, taking on lessons learnt to bring further improvements to the event.”
Club of the Year – Dukeries Motor Club
In recognition of their efforts to excel in membership communication, embrace new technologies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and, above all, deliver a strong calendar of events despite the challenges the global situation presents, Dukeries Motor Club have been selected as the Club of the Year.
The Club has also sought to actively strengthen ties with the local area, make motorsport more accessible and is striving to return larger events to the East Midlands after the demise of the Dukeries and Premier Forest rallies.
Inspired by their outreach programme, the next generation of Club members are starting to filter through, bringing new and exciting ideas to the Committee for the future. Notably, for the first time in 20 years, an election had to be held to nominate the Club Chairman, such has been the impact of this drive to bring new members into the motorsport community.
“Dukeries Motor Club are very proud to have won the Club of the Year for 2021,” read a statement from the Club.
“This is very much the culmination of the hard work put in by members of the club over the last two very difficult years and will spur us onto new challenges in the future”
Wigton Motor Club were separately honoured as the runner-up for Club of the Year in 2021 by the judges.
Hugh Chambers, Motorsport UK CEO, said: “I would like to thank everyone who submitted nominations for the 2021 awards. The judging panel had some tough decisions to make, and I must congratulate all our very worthy winners Charlie Webber, Dukeries Motor Club and the team behind the Old Forge Mewla Rally.
“There is no doubt that without our clubs, volunteers and competitors coming together, the sport would simply not be able to operate, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to throw up new challenges at all levels and disciplines of competition.
“My thanks to all who continue to keep the sport moving forward in these times, and congratulations once again to the winners.”