The engines have fallen quiet, and the dust has settled after the final round of the 2021 HERO Cup and Golden Roamer Championships. LeJog would be the final opportunity to put points on the board for those chasing glory, and with some of the protagonists watching from the side lines all was still to play for.
The numbers have now been crunched and the results are in, and it is HERO-ERA’s pleasure to announce that the winner of this year’s HERO-ERA Cup for drivers is Paul Bloxidge, and that navigator Ian Canavan is master of the maps, winning the coveted Golden Roamer Championship for navigators.
Both are now double winners, after last taking victory in 2018. That was in Paul’s fabled 911, after which that machine was retired and a new challenge awaited in a different German machine, a Volkswagen Golf. So how does it feel to be champions again, and in a new car?
Paul Bloxidge: “I seem to have backed into it somehow, all of us were all really rooting for Stephen Owens to win, he’s been so close before. It’s nice to win though, in 2018 Ian and I went all out to win it, this year though it’s been about having fun and it was particularly special to have my grandson Oli navigating for me on the Summer Trial.”
Ian Canavan: “I’m absolutely delighted, the season started with a retirement from the Summer Trial, but the Marathon went well, and I was really pleased with this year’s Rally of the Tests. I’ve really enjoyed the events this year and am looking forward to next, where I’ll be doing a bit more on the other side of the fence again, after my experience of route planning for the HERO Challenge. I want to thank Paul and others for having me along still, thank goodness Paul’s grandson Oli is still at school and can’t do all of the events!”
Both went into the final round of the season leading the way, but with Paul not competing on LeJog the result in the driver’s competition was in the balance, with Stephen Owens in second place in the driver’s championship, just 36.5 points behind and, with a good result on LeJog, likely to gazump Bloxidge at the last. Things didn’t go according to plan though, and retirement after leg two for Owens and his faithful 911 would see the title go back to Bloxidge for the second time, even after a late charge by 2019 champion Jayne Wignall, who, despite only competing in three rounds of the five would finish just 30 points from top spot – the difference of one round.
Ian Canavan, despite being entered into LeJog would not compete in the end, but with a lead of over 100 points on closest challenger Clare Grove had somewhat of a get out of jail free card, and after the scores were worked out ‘Camper’ was on top and champion again by 51.5 points, although it wouldn’t be Clare Grove in second spot, despite taking part in the final round. In the end a tremendous score of 75 points on LeJog would see Andy Ballantyne stride into second spot with another strong performance from Pete Johnson lifting him into third. Ballantyne and Johnson had both only taken part in the final two rounds, surely raising their stock, and leaving runaway winner Canavan under no illusion about how close it might have been!
All that remains is for the winners to receive their rewards and the plaudits of their peers at the grand awards ceremony at the luxurious Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, in January and for those dreaming of glory in 2022 to begin planning their assault on the title. One thing is for sure, the pairing of Bloxidge and Canavan will be a double act that are hard to beat.
*The Shires host Round Two as the Challenge Increases