SAM Bilham chose an optimum moment to notch his first victory in the Fiesta ST Trophy.

The initial crown for the 19-year-old from Bingley came in his home rally – Trackrod Rally Yorkshire – and his victory on the final stage there was enough for him to secure second place in the series overall in his Reis Motorsport Insurance-backed Ford.

It also maintained his record of finishing in every round in what was a close British Trial and Rally Drivers' Association (BTRDA) Championship.

Bilham's name has been near the top of the leaderboard for most of the year but with dropped scores coming into effect during the closing stages, he headed into the final round needing to score strongly to be in with a chance of staying in a podium position.

The teenager joined by fellow Yorkshireman James Whitaker for this event, and the duo headed into the five-stage event with the aim of bettering Bilham’s second place at the Carlisle Rally.

Things would not look quite so positive after the opening stage of the day, however, as brake problems hampered progress in the some of the tight and twisty sections of the Dalby Forest stages, and they languished in fourth place.

However, a charge on the second test enabled Bilham to leap into second spot as he posted a stunning time through the 13-mile Langdale test, and at the service halt the team set about fixing the brake issue that had blighted his progress.

Bilham knew that he needed to up his pace, and he duly mounted another charge, emerging from the penultimate stage of the day just half a second adrift of first.

Just the six-mile Gale Rigg stage remained, and Bilham had it all to do if he was to take his first victory of 2016.

Using his experience gained from the series this season, Bilham pulled out a six-second advantage on the final stage to take the win and secure that overall runner-up spot.

“There is nothing like taking a win on your home event,” said Bilham, "but to fight back from fourth on the first stage to take victory by six seconds really is the icing on the cake.

"A win this year has been a long time coming – we have been so very close on a number of occasions – so to do it here in Yorkshire is a great feeling."

Bilham added: “It hasn’t been an easy season, but we have finished every round we started, and that’s a huge testament to the team and the guys we have behind us.

“It’s been a long year and I’m pleased with the progress I have made in my first season in the car.

"Taking second in the Fiesta ST Trophy is also a great achievement.

"It’s been a closely-fought series and could have been anyone’s really.

"Thanks must go to all our supporters for their efforts this year – we could not have done this without them.”

Sam is also supported by Mechanical Solutions, Pertemps Recruitment, The Next Big Step, Gareth Hooper Motorsport Services, Calvert Construction and The Garage at Stanley Mills.