Rally duo Stephen Bethwaite and Ann Forster are celebrating after their most successful season yet in their Vauxhall Nova.

Whitehaven’s Bethwaite and Forster, from Arlecdon, picked up several awards at the presentation evening of the AS Performance North of England Tarmac Rally Championship.

Bethwaite collected first in the Class A Driver category for his dominant performance which saw him take maximum points on no fewer than five of the eight rounds.

Forster was named second overall navigator in what had been a closely-fought season where she had been tied for the lead on points after the final event.

A countback on results saw her just pipped for the win.

“It is disappointing to lose it at the very end,” admitted Forster. “It has been a real David-and-Goliath struggle and I am delighted to get this result against much more powerful machinery.”

To put the icing on the cake, the duo picked up a surprise award, the Champions of Otterburn Venom Trophy. This award is given to the fastest crew over the Northumberland ranges in a 1600cc or less car.

“After a torrid end to 2015 we knew we had the speed, but the car kept letting us down,” said Bethwaite.

“We spent a lot of time over the winter preparing it to be reliable as well as fast. This has proved to be the key to our success.”

The duo will be back in action for the first event of the 2017 season between Christmas and New Year at the Croft Circuit.

They thanked sponsors, Blackbeck Brewery, of Egremont, Cleator Moor Autobody and Focus Driver Training of Workington.