A long-awaited return to the Royal Automobile Club for the Guild of Motoring Writers Awards gave the automotive industry a rare chance to get together in person and recognise the very best in journalism, photography, public relations and motorsport.
Veteran motorcycle legend Sammy Miller MBE, winner of the President’s Trophy, regaled the audience with tales of his successful career in road racing and trials, and who now, having just turned 88 years old, curates more than 400 bikes on display at his own museum.
Tarran ‘Taz’ Mackenzie was awarded Rider of the Year, with competition success in British Superbikes since 2016, notching up repeated wins and podium places in recent years.
Callum Ilott, winner of the Driver of the Year trophy, is proving himself to be a versatile racing driver, aged just 22, with victories in European Formula 3 and GP3, and has spent time in F1 as an Alfa Romeo reserve driver. After three races with Juncos Hollinger Racing in the IndyCar series towards the end of 2021, he looks set to continue in the series in 2022.
Edmund King OBE was winner of the Guild’s Special Contribution to Motoring Award sponsored by Kia, in recognition of decades of campaigning for road safety, and lobbying government ministers on keeping all road users safer.
Guild vice-president Ray Hutton was presented with the Pemberton Trophy. The trophy is awarded to a Guild member in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the cause of motoring, and during his career Ray has spent a decade editing Autocar, as well a contributing to a number of high-profile global titles. He is a long-serving Guild vice-president and a trustee of the Guild Benevolent Fund.
For 2021, the Guild teamed up with the Motor Industry Communicators Association (MICA) and with the support of Torque Agency Group created a new Young PR Professional of the Year Award. Open to those aged 30 and under, judges were looking for the best examples of performance, professionalism and practice in automotive PR.
Winning this award was Poppy McKenzie Smith, who has impressed in a number of PR roles since beginning her career five years ago. Today, as well as being communications manager for Lindores Abbey Distillery, she provides PR consultancy to the Ford of Britain corporate affairs department and the Ford Heritage Collection.
The Audi Photographer of the Year Award has two winners: one for general automotive photography, and another for motorsport. Jonathan Fleetwood won the former, with Dan Bathie victorious in the latter. Both impressed the judges with the images selected for submission.
Louise Cole was the first journalism winner announced, winning the AA Campaigning for Safety Award. Writing for Roadway magazine, Louise tackles the issue of fleet operators strategies for eliminating driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Ken Davies won the BCA Feature Writer of the Year Award with a fascinating feature on the history of Castle Combe racing circuit written to mark the venue’s 70th anniversary.
David Lillywhite took the honours in the Bentley Motors Editor of the Year Award for his work on Magneto magazine, with its high quality design and stand-out features.
The CNH Industries Commercial Vehicle Writer of the Year Award was won by Jack Carfrae, who looked at a number of innovations in technology with direct benefits for commercial vehicle drivers, operators, and other road users.
Dieter Rencken was the winner of the Genesis Award for Technology Journalism, with a feature for RaceCar Engineering on Formula One’s forthcoming switch from 13-inch to 18-inch wheels, outlining work by tyre supplier Pirelli and the race teams to facilitate the switch.
Alex Grant was victorious in the Prova PR Business Writer of the Year Award submitting articles around electrification infrastructure and the challenges of achieving net-zero carbon transport systems.
A new award for 2021 reflecting the rapid and fundamental change in vehicle propulsion technology, the RAC EV Consumer Journalist of the Year was won by Claire Evans for a What Car? feature that rated the public charging infrastructure providers, and included the results of a survey of 1,000 EV owners.
Richard Webber won the RM Sotheby’s Classic Writer of the Year Award submitting an insightful feature marking the 50th anniversary of the Range Rover.
Three book authors were singled out for the Mercedes-Benz Award for the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy, with Jonathan Wood ranked in first place for Aston Martin and LM10, Nick Dimbleby taking second place for Camel Trophy – The Definitive History, and Richard Jenkins in third place for Mike Spence – Out of the Shadows.
James Taylor won both the Prodrive Motorsport Cup, and the Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year sponsored by loop, producing excellent journalism across a number of categories.
As well as awards presentations, two attendees were made Friends of the Guild at the ceremony, in recognition of their support for the organisation over many years. Tim Naylor, of BCA, and Patricia Lodge, former Guild general secretary were both invited to join the list of people that the Guild holds in the highest regard.
Guild chairman Richard Aucock said: “After such a difficult two years for everyone, it was fantastic to hold a physical awards ceremony at the event’s traditional home, the Royal Automobile Club.
“The quality of entries and the number of submissions were incredible considering our delayed 2020 digital awards ceremony gave members a shorter timeframe from which to select their best work.
“I’m thrilled that the event was such a success and gave everyone a huge networking opportunity they will have missed out on for some time. As we adapt to the changes in our work and lives caused by the pandemic, we look forward to delivering another successful awards dinner in 2022.”
List of winners:
The Guild of Motoring Writers President’s Trophy Sammy Miller MBE Presented by Guild vice-president Ray Hutton. Pemberton Trophy Ray Hutton Presented by Guild chairman Richard Aucock Rider of the Year Tarran Mackenzie Presented by Guild chairman Richard Aucock, received by Simon Sanderson Driver of the Year Callum Ilott Presented by Richard Aucock, received by Barry Mears Guild’s Special Contribution to Motoring Award sponsored by Kia Edmund King OBE Presented by Guild chairman Richard Aucock and Daniel Sayles (Kia UK) Guild of Motoring Writers an MICA Young PR Professional of the Year Poppy McKenzie Smith Presented by MICA managing director Richard Gotch, Alex Michaelides of Torque Agency Group and Guild chairman Richard Aucock. AA Campaigning for Safety Award Louise Cole Presented by Jack Cousens (The AA) Audi Photographic Award – General Jonathan Fleetwood Presented by Gavin Ward (Audi UK) Audi Photographic Award – Motorsport Dan Bathie Presented by Gavin Ward (Audi UK) BCA Feature Writer of the Year Ken Davies Presented by Tim Naylor (BCA) Bentley Motors Editor of the Year David Lillywhite Presented by Mike Sayer (Bentley Motors) CNH Industrial Commercial Vehicle Writer of the Year Jack Carfrae Presented by Richard Gadeselli, received by Simon Harris Genesis Award for Technology Journalism Dieter Rencken Presented by Simon Branney (Genesis), received by Mark Smyth Prodrive Motorsport Cup James Taylor Presented by Ben Sayer (Prodrive) Prova PR Business Writer of the Year Alex Grant Presented by Richard Postins, received by Jonathan Musk RAC EV Consumer Journalist of the Year Claire Evans Presented by Rod Dennis (RAC), received by Matthew Carter RM Sotheby’s Classic Writer of the Year Richard Webber Presented by Peter Haynes, received by Chris Adamson Mercedes-Benz Award for the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy 1st: Jonathan Wood 2nd: Nick Dimbleby 3rd: Richard Jenkins Presented by Guild vice-president Ray Hutton, Jonathan Wood represented by publisher Hugh Palmer The Guild of Motoring Writers Journalist of the Year sponsored by loop James Taylor Presented by Tom Bowdler