Wilmott holds lead to win amateur title
By Jonny Turner
Blair Wilmott could claim the tag of ‘businessman by day, national champion by weekend’ after winning the New Zealand Amateur Driving Championship at Rangiora on Sunday.
Wilmott enjoyed the finest moment of his amateur driving career, when his third placing behind Myboylolliepop in the last heat of the series sealed his championship title.
The reinsman said the victory made his efforts as an amateur driver worthwhile.
“This is what we work for all year,” Wilmott said.
“I would be lying if I didn’t say I was pretty chuffed, it was bloody awesome, actually.’’
Just a matter of hours after being handed the championship trophy, Wilmott was a world away from that scene.
By Monday morning, he was back at work in his role as a key accounts manager for safety and packaging firm, Snell Packaging & Safety.
“That horrible theory that the industry had of businessmen turning up and driving horses on the weekend, I am pretty much the antipathies of that.”
“I see it as a hobby, if I could earn the money I did in my job with horses, I would be gone in a heartbeat.”
“But unfortunately it doesn’t stack up like that, with a young family.”
Wilmott made a brilliant start to the competition by winning its first two heats at Cambridge, earlier this month, with Van Halem and Liberal Arden.
“I had a couple of nice drives and with a bit of luck, which you always need.”
“That sort of set me up, but it did come down to that last race.”
A sixth placing with Alexy on Friday night, behind his stablemate, Aveross Ferarri, meant Wilmott held first place going in to the last two heats of the series at Rangiora on Sunday.
Wilmott was to drive Aveross Ferarri in heat four, but his victory at Addington forced the horse out of the race.
That meant the reinsman was handed eight points and forced to watch his amateur rivals from the grandstand, before he attempted to seal a championship victory in the final heat.
“It was conflicting, because it was nice to know I had the points in the bank.”
“But, I could have run second or third and stamped it home.”
“I had a nice drive in the last, so I was pretty confident that I would be there or thereabouts.”
Wilmott has another goal in sight, following his championship victory.
The reinsman could be seen competition in professional races in upcoming seasons.
“I have actually put my name forward to get my graduation licence.”
“It would only be to do it for a season to see (a), if I could cut it and (b), to see what it was like.”