WILPSHIRE rally driver Matt Griffin has been chosen as the winner of the John Easson Award for 2012.

The annual award is handed out by the 2300 Club of Blackburn and is acknowledged as one the most prestigious scholarships in British rallying.

The honour was first introduced in 1994 and is now named after Easson, a regular competitor and supporter of the 2300 Club who tragically lost his life in an air accident in 1999.

Open to anyone under the age of 25 resident in the UK and Ireland, it recognises up and coming talent in rallying and provides £4,000 in financial assistance to the winner.

Griffin narrowly missed out on the award in 2010 and 2011 after reaching the interview stage, but the 22-year-old has been chosen as the winner for 2012 – fending off competition from Stockport’s Chris Ingram and Scotland’s Garry Pearson.

Griffin has enjoyed rallying success this year after winning his class in the BTRDA Championship as well as two categories in the English Rally Championship.

He said: “Earlier this year I decided to have one more attempt at entering the John Easson Award as the award worth £4,000 worth of rally entry fees in the 2013 season.

“I had reached the final in the last two years and had been unsuccessful.

“I was informed last month that I had been successful for a third time in reaching the final, which was held at the Tickled Trout Hotel in Preston on Friday.

“The interview went well and once the other finalists Chris Ingram and Garry Pearson had had their interviews we all sat and waited for the decision.

“About 40 minutes later we were called in and I was given the great news that I had won.

“It was a fantastic feeling to be told I had won such a prestigious award.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the John Easson Award scheme organisers, the 2300 Club and the family of the late John Easson.”

The prize money has given Griffin the opportunity to take part in British Rally Championship events next year, as he prepares to switch cars for 2013.

Griffin follows in the footsteps of Blackburn rally driver Phil Scholes, who won the award in 2008.

“I‘m going to use the award to enter the BRC rounds in 2013 and the car I will be driving will be a Renault Clio 172 Cup, which is being built by Rallyschool.co.uk,” he said.