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Sykes "well chuffed" after racing to Stourbridge crown
5:00pm Thursday 10th January 2013 in Sport
RALLY ace Richard Sykes says he is “well chuffed” after being named Stourbridge News Sports Personality of the Year.
The 47-year-old saw off the challenge of Stourbridge RFC director of rugby Neil Mitchell and kickboxer Jamie Beech to finish top of our online poll, after more than 1,000 readers cast their vote over the festive period.
Sykes enjoyed a superb year following a quiet 2011, winning the BRC Challenge Championship and says he is delighted to get recognition from the wider public.
He said: “I’m well chuffed. Our game is a funny one really.
“When you are up against guys like Mitch and Jamie, who I both know, you know it will be tough.
“But I’ve put my effort in over the years and have had to sit in the background.
“It’s great to get the recognition, in rallying there are a lot of fanatical followers and I’d like to thank everyone who voted.”
Sykes, who has more than 20 years experience in the sport, clinched the title with a round to spare after a consistent season in which he and co-driver Simon Taylor suffered just one retirement in their Citroen C2.
Despite an offer to join the main British Championship, Sykes has vowed to remain in the Challenge competition this year and defend his crown.
He said: “I did consider doing the BRC but I have done it three or four times before and if I’m honest I prefer the Challenge.
“The main championship is great but you need around £250,000 just to compete, along with massive dedication.
“I’ve got my own business and just can’t afford to take the time off it requires.”
Sykes hauled in 52 per cent of the vote. Mitchell finished second with 30 per cent, while Beech collected 14 per cent and cricketer Audy Alexander four per cent.