Billy Monger became the youngest ever recipient of the prestigious Segrave Trophy this week, as the Royal Automobile Club selected the Carlin driver ‘for demonstrating exceptional courage and determination after great adversity and returning to high levels of motorsport.’ Team Principal Trevor Carlin was also recognised for the fundamental role that he has played in Monger’s return to racing and was awarded the Segrave Medal.
Monger, who is competing in his second season with the Carlin team, lost both legs following a high-speed crash at Donington in April 2017, but it has been his return to racing that has emphasised his determination and passion for his sport. Monger returned to racing less than a year after his life-changing accident to claim a podium finish in the opening BRDC British F3 race of the 2018 season at Oulton Park.
Throughout the 2018 season, Monger became a genuine series front runner, claiming a further three podiums, two pole positions and three fastest laps. The British racer finished sixth in the standings.
Graduating to EuroFormula Open in 2019, Monger has overcome various technical challenges stemming from his hand control adaptations to progress throughout the season. A masterful drive on a wet track saw Monger claim victory at the historic Pau Grand Prix, the 20 year-old’s first win in the series.
The Segrave Trophy, named in honour of British pilot and pre-war racing driver, Sir Henry Segrave is only awarded if the Segrave Nominations Committee judge there to be a suitable recipient that meets the criteria of the award. Previous winners include Amy Johnson CBE (1932), Sir Malcolm Campbell (1933 and 1939), Bruce McLaren (1969), Sir Jackie Stewart (1973 and 1999), Sir Frank Williams (1992), John Surtees CBE (2012) and John McGuinness (2016).
Speaking about the award, Monger said, “My life has become so busy with my Formula 1 commentary and my own racing I haven’t had a chance to digest how amazing this award is. Having been part of the prestigious ceremony at the RAC on Pall Mall, it’s starting to sink in just how incredible it is. I’m super proud.”
Speaking at the presentation lunch, Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club, said, “Lady Segrave commissioned the Trophy in 1930, soon after her husband, Sir Henry Segrave died after breaking the water speed record on Lake Windermere. It was her wish that the Trophy would celebrate British nationals who demonstrated outstanding skill, courage and initiative ‒ the spirit of adventure ‒ whether on land, sea or air”.
He continued “We are delighted to award the Trophy to Billy whose comeback to the sport, which included the overturning of existing FIA regulations, has been extraordinary and demonstrates exceptional bravery and determination. He represents everything that Lady Segrave wanted to honour and that Sir Henry would have admired.”
The Segrave Medal, presented at the Club’s discretion, is only awarded in conjunction with the trophy when the Committee feels it’s justified. It was last awarded in 2014 to Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi’s Head of Motorsport and team drivers Tom Kristensen and Loïc Duval for their contribution to Allan McNish’s dramatic victories at Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Upon being presented with the medal, Trevor Carlin added, “In a hundred years’ time when people look back and hear Billy’s story, they will say how on earth did he ever manage that – I’m delighted to be a part of that story.”