Ace Trials driver Thomas Bricknell is now four times Motorsport UK Trials Champion after taking six wins and five second places this season to clinch yet another title. He also added eight BTRDA Trials championship wins to his tally for good measure!
Thomas was relieved to win the closely fought trials championships after a major effort but is now equally happy to turn his attention back to his rally career as he has entered LeJog, his favourite rally!
Thomas; “I’m delighted to have managed it once again! It’s been tougher this year with lots of miles from Cornwall to Kent & Cumbria. There are 19 events on the calendar with best 10 to count so it’s a big commitment.”
“One of the hardest weekends involved working late on the Saturday night in Southernmost Cornwall and having to get to a trial in Cumbria overnight, with swapping vans in Cheltenham. The maps were showing 480 miles to cover with 10 hours before signing on. Great!”
Born in Peterborough, the versatile driver is a 44-year-old top fireworks display professional. However, his 44 years belie his youthful appearance, which is all the more remarkable given his full-on ‘edgy’ job and motor sport passions.
Thomas is currently living between the Cotswolds and Cornwall splitting his time 50/50 between the two locations, juggling his occupation as a Director of a Firework Display company called Celebration Pyrotechnics, and his passion for his hobby.
Thomas takes up the story; “It is called pyrotechnics but originally it was just fireworks and then we developed into other areas such as special effects as well as stunt performances, so pyrotechnics encompasses everything we do.”
“We cover a wide variety of work, some for TV. Probably the biggest pyro event was ‘The Aldershot Army Show’ when we provided lots of military simulation effects. We have worked on various TV productions from some quite big challenges to a job as small as putting black powder through the quill of a goose feather to show how the miners used to make delay fuses down the mines.”
“We also worked on some children's TV, we were involved in an Arts programme for the BBC, but displays are the biggest part of what we do, the pyro effects are great, but I would say 98% of what we do is displays!”
“Two of the biggest ones we've put together were on the Tamar Bridge. The first one was to commemorate 150 years of Brunel’s Royal Albert Railway Bridge, then three years later we went back to mark 50 years of the opening of the road bridge, but that also coincided with 50 years of the last ferry crossing.”
“So, we started with some effects on a boat mirroring the last line of the ferry, then we fired a big display from the road deck of the Tamar bridge, the structure is supported by suspension cables which proved quite a challenge.”
“We had 21 Candle Units at 27-metre gaps over the suspension cables on the handrail stanchions, we had to harness up and scale the cables up and over the tower tops three times to instal the fixings and the units, then wire them up. It was high, far higher than I'd like to have been, so pretty terrifying!”
Thomas casually mentions that he is in a harness, joking that there is no safety net, but adds that you've got a helmet on and you're wearing gloves so it’s OK! I am already starting to feel giddy!
“We went over the top with the bridge maintenance crew who do it day in, day out, but the worst bit was every time I had to let go to tie on the frames with both hands! I had to try to maintain my balance, just leaning back on the thin wire upright because I needed both hands to work with!”
“It was one of those things where you just think it's an opportunity I'll never have again, you just embrace it and get on with it, trying to forget the drop.”