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John Surtees MBE honours British champions at MSA Night of Champions
ITV`s F1 pundit Tony Jardine compered the ceremony and Surtees, winner of seven motor cycle world crowns plus the 1964 F1 title for Ferrari, presented the trophies. Receiving the first award of the night from 70-year-old Surtees was 11-year-old Jimmy Galloway, the new British Cadet Kart Champion. He was followed onto the stage by Craig Copeland, Mark Litchfield and John Riley, winners of karting`s British Junior, Short Circuit and Long Circuit titles respectively.

Illustrating the incredible breadth of top class motor sport available in Britain, many of the prized awards presented by the MSA underlined the diverse series organised by motor clubs across the country: Barrie Parker, British Production Car Trials Champion; Tony Eyles, British Sprint Champion; Doug Ripley, British Drag Race Champion; Adam Fleetwood, British Hillclimb Champion; Julian Fack, British Sporting Trials Champion; Paul Swift, British Autotest Champion and Richard Kershaw and Graham Broadbent, British Off-Road Champions and Dermot Carnegie, British Rallycross Champion.

In rallying, David Higgins was crowned British Rally Champion, while Brian Murphy, unable to attend the event, scooped the Co-Driver title. Dessie Nutt and Geraldine McBride were presented with their British Historic Rally Championship trophies. Winners of the BRC`s Super 1600 class, Guy Wilks and co-driver Phil Pugh, and Teams champion M Sport were absent due to clashing commitments on the opening round of the FIA World Rally Championship, the Monte Carlo Rally.

On-track, the MSA`s three premier national championships – British GT, British Formula Three and British Touring Cars – resulted in titles for Jonathan Cocker, Nelson Angelo Piquet, James Thompson and Vauxhall Motors. Cocker, aged 18, and 19-year-old Brazilian Piquet became the youngest respective champions in British GT and British F3 history. Receiving Piquet`s award was British F3 Championship Co-ordinator Jeremy Lord. Thompson, meanwhile, pipped Vauxhall team-mate Yvan Muller by a single point to win his second BTCC title. Receiving Thompson`s award, as well as Vauxhall`s fourth consecutive BTCC Champion Manufacturer trophy, was Vauxhall Motors` VXR Brand Manager Stuart Harris.

Colin Hilton, Chief Executive of the Motor Sports Association, says: “The MSA`s Night of Champions reflects the sheer depth of UK motor sport. There is no hierarchy as all are British champions in their respective events. From an 11-year-old with dreams of becoming a Formula One hero through to a 60-year-old grandfather of seven – all disciplines and ages are represented.

“I sincerely thank our distinguished guest John Surtees for lending his valued support to British motor sport`s most prestigious awards ceremony and adding considerably to the evening of all our winners and guests.”

The Night of Champions also saw the third presentation of the Renault MSA Young Journalist and Young Photographer of the Year awards. Gemma Briggs, aged 24 and from Cumbria, earned the journalism award for her work as Deputy Editor and top-line reporter and features writer for Racecar Engineering and Racing Line magazines. Glenn Dunbar, aged 23 and from London, won the photography award for his coverage of the British F3 title race in Autosport magazine through its appointed agency LAT. In addition to receiving trophies, Briggs and Dunbar collected cheques for £1000 from Tim Jackson, Director of Press and PR, Renault UK.

Three additional awards, to recognise outstanding contributions to motor sport, were presented during the Night of Champions. Sweden`s Christina Thorner, with a successful career spanning nearly two decades in World Rallying and on other high-profile international rally events, was voted the winner of the British Women Racing Drivers` Club`s Lord Wakefield Trophy. Receiving the trophy on behalf of Christina, recently hospitalised in an accident with Colin McRae on the Paris-Dakar rally, was BWRDC`s Chairman Helen Bashford-Malkie.

Jersey Motor Cycle and Light Car Club became the first off-shore winner of the Alexander Forbes/MSA Club of the Year. Motor sport tourism is now recognised as a significant contributor to Jersey`s economy, thanks to the club`s activities. Receiving the trophy and a cheque for £1000 on behalf of the Jersey club was its President Terry Gorvel. Winning the Alexander Forbes/MSA Marshal of the Year award, that includes a trophy and a cheque for £250, was Mark Johnson, a 44-year-old grandfather from Scunthorpe who has spent the past 20 years officiating on rallies in all kinds of weather across the UK. Presenting both awards was Alexander Forbes` Nigel Hayden.