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Royal Automobile Club Historic Awards 2021: Category In Focus

Nominations are now invited for the 2021 Royal Automobile Club Historic Awards. The Awards are free to enter, and candidates can nominate themselves or be nominated by a third party.

All entries can be made via the nomination form on the website and eligibility is based on achievements made within the period between 1st October 2020 and 30th September 2021.  

Nominations close at 5pm on 1st October

Category In Focus: Innovation

We have a new category for 2021 – Innovation – and we can’t wait to see the nominations roll in!

There has never been a better time to be celebrating innovation in this industry. Turning great ideas into solutions, harnessing technology to improve or re-produce components, creating initiatives that enrich the industry or evolving products and services that meet the ever-demanding appetite of the growing historic motoring and motorsport scene – it’s time to reward this remarkable creative talent that exists in the industry and we encourage everyone to help nominate such innovations.

There is a wide remit for this category, which is open to British-based individuals, organisations and classic vehicle clubs. The innovation must have been introduced between 1st October 2020 and 30th September 2021.

Category In Focus: Competitive Event (Supported by A. Lange & Söhne)

This category seeks to celebrate the very best of the events that have a strong competitive element, from motor racing meetings and hill climbs to navigation and stage rallies, regularity trials, and hot rod and drag race events.

For 2021, historic racing series are also eligible, as are individual races if they are spectacular enough to form an ‘event’ in themselves.

Eligible events must have taken place within the UK, or have had a significant part taking place within the UK. Virtual events and events held behind closed doors are also eligible.

Previous winners include the HSCC’s Legends of Brands Hatch Super Prix and Chateau Impney Hill Climb, so the 2021 winner will have some very big footsteps in which to follow!

The eligibility period is 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2021.

Category In Focus: Collection (Supported by Footman James)

Historic vehicle collections come in many forms, from those amassed by private individuals to those curated by museums large and small or by internationally-renowned marques. In this category, the award will be presented to a British-based collection which has made a significant contribution to the historic motoring movement in the UK or internationally during the eligibility period.

Examples include public-facing activities held in a museum or through sharing the vehicles from the collection at public events, or creative virtual events/seminars etc. that have allowed a wider audience to participate online.

In 2019 the inaugural Collection award was won by the newly-opened Jim Clark Motorsport Museum. The judges said: “The museum conveys a sense of place like few others, linking the stories of Jim Clark and the nearby towns, and encouraging visitors to explore those links through a trail that takes in his farm and grave, amongst others. It has done an extraordinary job in attracting over 1,000 visitors a month to Duns, which is not on the normal tourist trail and requires a committed journey to reach.”

In 2020 the award went to the British Motor Museum, with the judges praising the team there for their sterling work during the first 2020 lockdown to carry out major work on the Museum’s archives, including working with Warwick University to transfer a priceless collection of motor industry business records to Gaydon. The judges were also impressed at how the team kept the Museum active and accessible to the public with a prolific on-line presence, including a new exhibition which was entirely online.

The eligibility period is 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2021.

Category In Focus: Outstanding Journalism

Read it, watched it, listened to it, loved it? From magazine or online features to broadcast programmes and podcasts, there is a wide remit for this category and your input is vital!

This award will be presented to the author or creator of what the judges deem to be the best written or broadcast feature that has appeared in a British publication, TV/radio/film/broadcast media or digital platform within the twelve-month judging period. The feature can cover all aspects of the historic motoring world.

In 2019 Nick Trott took the award for his magnificent Porsche 917 feature Helter Skelter in The Road Rat magazine, against strong opposition from Mark Evans’ Inside Jaguar: A Supercar is Reborn broadcast documentary on Channel 4 and Doug Nye’s Enzo, The Man, published in Magneto magazine.

In 2020 Doug Nye again featured amongst the finalists, with his feature Stirling Moss (Magneto), together with Jon Pressnell (Life in the Snakepit – Enjoying MG magazine). However, the award went to Gary Pusey for his fascinating article The Wildlife Conservation Pioneers, published in Land Rover Monthly.

So, if you read, watch, listen to or even create something splendid that you think deserves to be recognised, why not nominate it? The eligibility period is 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2021.

Category In Focus: Motoring Spectacle

We’re all thoroughly enjoying seeing events opening up again and visitors able to enjoy motoring spectacles once more. We’re also hugely impressed by the amount of innovative and exciting virtual events which have blossomed due to the challenging circumstances we have all found ourselves in, and many of these virtual events look set to become permanent fixtures on the historic motoring calendar.

Whether it’s an event you’ve been lucky enough to attend in person, one held behind closed doors that you think deserves recognition, or a virtual one that you took part in online, we want to hear about it – so why not nominate it for the Motoring Spectacle award?

This award recognises the stunning range of classic and historic car events that take place around the UK throughout the year. Eligible events include concours d’elegance, tours, classic vehicle shows and club gatherings – in other words, pretty much everything, but the event you nominate must not have any element of timed competition. Remember, it’s Motoring Spectacle, not Competitive Event – for which we also have a category, of course!

We’re looking for events – big or small – that display a true sense of spectacle. Eligible events must have taken place within the UK, or have had a significant part taking place within the UK. Our previous winners were the Hampton Court Concours of Elegance (2019) and Classics for Carers (2020) – and we can’t wait to see which event will take the honours this year!

So, if you’ve attended an event (either in person or through your computer screen) and believe it deserves to be celebrated, why not nominate it? The eligibility period is 1st October 2020 to 30th September 2021.

Category In Focus: Young Achiever

We’re looking for the young guns here – rising stars aged from 18 to 30 who are going above and beyond and building their future in Britain’s historic motoring world.

So where will we find them? They’re out there working as club officials, event organisers or classic vehicle dealers or in auction houses. They’re doing sterling work in motor museums and archives. They’re volunteering as marshals in historic motorsport, organising their own historic race series, regularly taking pole position in classic competition events – or spending their weekends fettling competition machines to help others achieve that slot at the front of the grid.

They’re apprentices in historic vehicle workshops and engineering companies – or even already running their own. They’re managing online communities of like-minded enthusiasts, heading out every weekend with their cameras to capture classic motoring action, or crafting beautifully-researched articles for magazines or websites.

This is a vibrant industry and it’s vital that future generations who are making an exceptional contribution are recognised. This category, supported by 1762 from Brewin Dolphin and StarterMotor, is designed to do just that!

Our inaugural Young Achiever winner, in 2020, was 24-year-old Jack Bond who has immersed himself in all things historic since he joined the VSCC as a child.

Nominations close on 30th September 2021. Nominate your Young Achiever now!

Category In Focus: Personality

It’s time to nominate your heros of today’s historic motoring world… Aptly supported by HERO-ERA, this award is open to anyone – private enthusiast, club, event or race organiser, historic competitor or concours entrant or perhaps a specialist who has achieved something remarkable. In short, to be eligible they must have made an outstanding contribution to heritage, historic motoring or historic motorsport between 1st October 2020 and 30th September 2021.

So if you want to celebrate someone, get nominating!

Can I nominate myself? Yes you can – don’t be modest! If you’ve achieved something very special over the past year, why not tell us about it?

Our winners in 2019 and 2020 respectively were Paul and Andrew Wood (a two-for-one victory for the twin gurus of Rolls-Royce and Bentley restoration) and the wonderful Janice Pitchforth of the Heritage Skills Academy, who has done a tremendous amount to help people carve out a career in the historic motoring world.

Nominations close on 1st October. Nominate your Personality candidate now!

Category In Focus: Restoration

The UK’s historic vehicle restorers do a remarkable job, restoring vehicles which seem to be beyond help, and conserving important pieces of automotive history. The Restoration award is presented for a quite exceptional endeavour, an immaculately-documented research and restoration process, combined with world-class skills, resulting in a sensitive restoration that is entirely appropriate to the vehicle concerned.

It’s not about the glossiest paintwork and brightest chrome – witness our 2020 winner, 1948 Land Rover JUE 477. Ineos Automotive and Julian Shoolheifer took the brave decision not to over-restore and went to incredible lengths to retain as much of the original example as possible.

In 2019, the 1967 Jim Clark Lotus Type 38 Indy car, restored by owner Nick Fennell and Classic Team Lotus, won because of the restorers’ remarkable attention to detail and their quest to return 38/7 to 1967 Indy 500 specification – right down to having the correct spring made for an obscure fuel valve.

Judgement Day…

All nominations are thoroughly scrutinised by the dedicated Restoration panel, who conduct extensive research in order to whittle the list down to the finalists.

Expert, independent judging by real specialists in their field is one of the key elements of the Awards. For the Restoration category, that includes spending a day examining the finalists ‘in the metal’, talking to owners and restorers and gaining a deep understanding of the story of each vehicle and its restoration.

‘Judgement Day’ takes place at category partner Bicester Heritage, where the beautifully-preserved historic buildings make an entirely appropriate and highly practical backdrop to the task.

In 2019 Classic Team Lotus brought the Jim Clark Type 38 in one of their splendid transporters, and Bentley Motors followed suit with the 1939 Corniche, along with Land Rover Classic with the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show Launch Land Rover.

These were pre-COVID days, so heads could safely be put together for in-depth discussions of the engine compartment or interior, for example.

In the rather different world that was 2020, the panel spent a socially-distanced day at Bicester Heritage. Land Rover JUE 477 and the ex-David Richards/Ari Vatanen Ford Escort arrived with their respective ‘entourages’, as did the Lancia Aurelia B20 GT, restored by the apprentices at CMC, which the judges wanted to review for a possible Special Mention (yes, it got it!).

There was one notable absentee from Bicester Heritage – Nick Pellett’s 1911 De Dion Lorry is not a machine that can speedily be popped on a trailer. So, once they had gone over the Land Rover, Escort and Lancia with the proverbial fine-toothed comb, Lead Judge David Lillywhite (Editor-in-Chief, Magneto) and Danny Hopkins (Editor, Practical Classics) headed off to the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden, where they were able to examine the venerable vehicle in one of the hangars.

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