The Mini 7 Racing Club is planning to re-introduce the historic Graham Hill Memorial Trophy as part of a 2018 recruitment drive for young racers.
With interest at an all-time high in the Club’s ‘Scholarship’ S-Class for limited-tuning 1275cc Minis, and many enquiries from teenage wannabe Lewis Hamiltons, the addition of a separate award alongside the overall S-Class title offers a welcome boost for youngsters on a budget looking for that first step into circuit racing.
From 2018 the resurrected trophy will be awarded to the top-scoring Under-17 driver in the S-Class category.
Long-time Mini racer, and onetime Formula Ford team boss, Jonathan Lewis has already signed up his 16-year old daughter Morgan to the Mini Se7en S-Class, and reckons that many more will follow her from the junior ranks of Autograss Minis, as well as other avenues of grassroots motorsport.
The original Graham Hill Memorial Trophy ran for five seasons and was last awarded over 30 years ago, back when the M7RC aimed it primarily at novice racers as a feeder series to the regularly over-subscribed Leyland-backed National Challenges, for both Mini Se7en and Mini Miglia.
Bette Hill, widow of the late double-F1 World Champion - and mum to 1996 F1 title winner, Damon Hill - presented the original trophy to the M7RC before the 1977 season, in memory of her husband who tragically died in 1975.
Graham had also been honorary Vice President of the original Mini 7 Club, and so the opportunity to revive the memory of a true motorsport great who also had strong links with the original racing Mini is seen as a fitting tribute.
On learning of the junior initiative, Damon Hill said:
“I was thrilled to learn that the Mini Seven Racing Club is re-introducing this award. My father was the Vice President of the Mini 7 Club back in the day, and my mother gave this trophy to the Club to recognise his involvement and to reward those just getting started in racing.”
Nick Cooke, Chairman of the M7RC added:
“The Mini 7 Racing Club is enjoying a flourishing period in its sixth decade of racing. One of the exciting developments in the Club’s activities is the increasing participation in the ‘Scholarship’ S-Class formula.
"The icing on the cake for the 2018 season, and future seasons, is the re-introduction of the Graham Hill Memorial Trophy. I would like to thank Damon for his kind words and encouragement for the future success of this award and the S-Class formula.”
Racing • 24th Oct, 17 •