John in the driving seat to win historics

Championship winning rally driver John Bertram in his self-built Mk1 Ford Escort.
Championship winning rally driver John Bertram in his self-built Mk1 Ford Escort.

Local motor racing enthusiast John Bertram is celebrating after winning the NESCRO Challenge Series in his classic Mk 1 Ford Escort.

John, who comes from Berwick, and who is a member of Berwick Motor Club, triumphed in the series which was run over 12 events, but had to wait until the final race of the year before the victory was his.

The 2015 NESCRO Series proved to be extremely popular with some 203 drivers featuring on the score sheet and entries remained extremely buoyant throughout the year, infact, the final round was well over-subscribed proving that Historic motorsport is alive and thriving in the far North.

Geographically, the events covered a widespread area, from Perthshire and Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland down through Northumberland and Cumbria to the Yorkshire Dales, while the Summer Rally took the series across the Irish Sea to Ulster.

Most of the rounds featured a one day format, only the Berwick Classic retaining its long established two day programme. The Hexham Historic ran, like most navigation events, on a Saturday evening.

With two outright victories, on the Shaw Trophy and Lake District Classic, plus several other podium finishes (second on the Saltire and Solway, third on the Doonhamer), Bertram was the ‘Mr Consistency’ of the series and a worthy winner.

This was the first full season for his self-built MK1 Escort, after several seasons campaigning a Mk2. The car was not only ultra reliable but always immaculately turned out, indeed, it would have been a contender in a Concours díelegance should any of the events held one.

An after-sales manager at a local Mitsubishi dealership, Bertram is a long standing member of Berwick Motor Club and he teamed up with fellow club member Neil Thompson for his home club’s Berwick Classic, finishing second behind the very rapid Escort of Ross Butterworth/Ali Proctor.

For the rest of the season he had Andrew Fish in the left hand seat and Andrew eventually went on to take the navigator’s title in the championship.