The Royal Automobile Club took to the main stage of Motorcycle Live on Saturday 17 November to reveal the contenders for the coveted 2018 Torrens Trophy, won last year by World Superbike racer Jonathan Rea MBE.
Barrie Baxter, Chairman of the Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee said, “We are delighted to have teamed up once again with Motorcycle Live. It seems only appropriate to announce the contenders of one of the most prestigious industry trophies at the UK’s largest motorcycle show. The Torrens Trophy celebrates an individual or organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to motorcycling in Britain”.
The Torrens Trophy will be presented at the prestigious Pall Mall clubhouse early in 2019. In no particular order, the shortlist of nominees for the 2018 Torrens Trophy is:
Ben & Tom Birchall: The brothers from Mansfield were crowned the 2018 FIM World Sidecar Champions at the final round of the season in Germany. With only one point separating the leading two teams coming in to the seventh round, the championship saw a spectacular showdown between them and their closest rivals. The win gave the Birchalls a third world title and second championship victory.
Leon Haslam: The Haslam family is one of Britain’s great bike-racing families. Leon has raced in MotoGP, World Superbike and British Superbikes, following his father Ron. In 2018 Leon dominated the British Superbike Championship, taking 15 race wins and ending the season 70 points clear of his nearest rival. He was finally crowned champion, after cruelly losing in 2017 due to a crash caused by brake failure.
Peter Hickman: Lincolnshire rider Peter Hickman won the Superstock and Senior TT races at the 2018 Isle of Man TT and set a new outright lap record of 135.452mph, around the world’s most famous road circuit that has been in action since 1907.
Tai Woffinden: In 2018 the British speedway rider won his third Speedway World title and became the most successful British speedway rider of all time. He overcame the pain of breaking his foot in a crash in Heat 11 to win the final Grand Prix of the season in Poland. The 28-year old also won the title in 2013 and 2015.
The Club’s Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee consists of Chairman and ex-bike racer Barrie Baxter, Royal Automobile Club Chairman Ben Cussons, well-respected motorcycle journalist and TT winner Mat Oxley, commentator and former racer Steve Parrish, Club member Richard Bourne (son of motorcycle journalist, Arthur Bourne, in memory of whom the Trophy is awarded) and Queen of Bikers Maria Costello MBE who has held the Guinness World Record for being the fastest woman to lap the Isle of Man TT course.
The Torrens Trophy
The Royal Automobile Club has always had a close association with the motorcycling world. The Club formed the Auto Cycle Club in 1903, which went on to become the Auto Cycle Union in 1947. The first motorcycle race was held on the Isle of Man in 1905 for cars – two years before the first Tourist Trophy for motorcycles.
The Torrens Trophy recognises an individual or organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of safe and skillful motorcycling in the United Kingdom OR to have made an outstanding contribution of technical excellence to further the cause of motorcycling in the UK OR to have shown outstanding skill in international motorcycling sporting events in the United Kingdom.
The Torrens Trophy was first awarded in 1978 in memory of Arthur Bourne, a motorcycling journalist who wrote a column under the name Torrens. Arthur Bourne was also a Vice-Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club. It has only been awarded 11 times in its history and only when the Club feels that the achievement justifies it.
Previous winners of the Torrens Trophy include:
- 2017 Jonathan Rea MBE for being the first rider to win three consecutive World Superbike Championships.
- 2016 MotoGP racer Cal Crutchlow for being first British rider to win a premier class World Championship Motorcycle Grand Prix in 35 years.
- 2015 Eleven-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson for his outstanding determination, courage and overcoming adversity to win multiple TTs.
- 2014 Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne for becoming the first man in history to be crowned MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship on four occasions (2003, 2008, 2012 and 2014).
- 2013 Tom Sykes for being crowned the 15th World Superbike Champion, the fourth from Great Britain and only the second rider to win for Kawasaki in the series for 20 years.
- 2008 World Superbike Champion James Toseland was awarded the Trophy for his immense contribution to raising the profile of motorcycle racing in this country.
- 1998 Ian Kerr MBE of the Metropolitan Police for 20-years of tireless work in promoting safe and responsible motorcycling.
- 1989 BMW in recognition for their contribution to motor cycle safety through their development of their anti-lock braking system.
- 1981 Dave Taylor MBE for his vast contribution to motorcycle road safety.
- 1980 Transport and Road Laboratory.
- 1979 Lieutenant-Colonel Fredrick Lovegrove OBE.
About the Royal Automobile Club
The Royal Automobile Club was founded in 1897 and its distinguished history mirrors that of motoring itself. In 1907, the Club was awarded its Royal title by King Edward VII, sealing the Club’s status as Britain’s oldest and most influential motoring organisation.
The Club’s early years were focused on promoting the motor car and its place in society, which developed into motoring events such as the 1000 Mile Trial, first held in 1900. In 1905, the Club held the first Tourist Trophy, which remains the oldest continuously competed for motor sports event. The Club promoted the first pre-war and post-war Grands Prix at Brooklands in 1926 and Silverstone in 1948 respectively, whilst continuing to campaign for the rights of the motorist, including introducing the first driving licences.
Today, the Club continues to develop and support automobilism through representation on the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Motor Sport Association (MSA), and RAC Foundation while promoting its own motoring events including London Motor Week, which features the free-to-attend Regent Street Motor Show and the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, supported by Hiscox.
The Royal Automobile Club also awards a series of historic trophies and medals celebrating motoring achievements. These include the Segrave Trophy, the Tourist Trophy, the Simms Medal, the Dewar Trophy and the Torrens Trophy.