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A Brit Enters BRCC’s Motorsports Arena

Similarly to other members in the Black Rifle Coffee Company motor-sports cast of characters, Tom Williams has rally in his blood. Unlike everyone else on the team though, Williams hails from the United Kingdom.


He was born and raised in Oxfordshire, England, and his taste for rally came from his father, who was a driver and motor-sports enthusiast in the 1970s and 1980s. 


“I definitely come from a rally-heavy family,” Williams said. “My dad was inspired by all the hot-rod magazines and muscle cars and just decided that he wanted to get into rally in the UK. He had no other notable background in racing but was a car enthusiast.”


“We do stage rally [in the UK], which is where have like more treacherous rallies, like the Wales Rally in the humidity and fog — its kind of the birth of rally,” Williams explained. “My dad just started building up his business and got his own car, then when he got into his 40s, he started supporting all of these young up-and-coming drivers and managed to get computer industry companies like Apple and Linux to back the drivers. They went from nothing to winning the English World Championship with my dad as the manager.” 


As Williams’ dad began to wind down his participation in the rally world, he wanted to keep his son out of rally to keep him safe. 


“It’s a dangerous kind of sport, but I’ve always been into cars, and so I dug up the history books and saw the photos of championship wins with my dad managing them,” Williams said. “I saw a Rabbit [VW Rabbit/Golf] and said, ‘this is the one.’ I enjoyed the people, learning everything about driving, co-driving, and there’s just an entire university’s worth of knowledge for rally, you’re expected to spin like 10 plates at a time, from marketing and media to actually driving.”


Photo courtesy of Tom Williams. 

Williams began driving at age 15 in junior championships, and when he turned 17 and got his driver’s license in the UK, he got into bigger cars and gravel rallies. 


“As I went onto the Ford ladder, I got thrown into the deep end; as a junior driver, I was up against crazy fast Europeans,” Williams contend. “Every few years I was increasing and stepping up to more challenging classes. All the while, I had America in the back of my head. I mean, I’ve got clients and sponsors out here ... So last year, the end of 2021, I came out to an event, just to watch, and that’s when I knew I needed to be here. It was the most enjoyable racing, and being at the New England Forest Rally with Texas Dave, we just hit it off.”


“I came out to watch the NEFR rally first because I didn’t know what was going on in the States as far as rally is concerned,” Williams said. “The Formula One-style racing is very exclusive, and so experiencing this environment where there’s media and everyone is interacting and there’s genuine enthusiasts with hundreds of cars lined up and there’s no hierarchy.”


After watching the NEFR, Williams came back to compete in Ojibwe in 2021 and continued competing for the rest of 2021. 

  

Photo courtesy of Tom Williams. 

 

“I had never been to Texas before, so after meeting Dave [Carapetyan] at NEFR, I ended up at his house, and it was just a blast. I met the Rally Team and decided I wanted to be an ambassador for the school,” Williams said. “At the time, I didn’t know anything about Black Rifle Coffee, but they were just coming into the extreme sports scene with Travis [Pastrana]. I just kept coming over to hang out. At one point, Dave and I did a road trip up to Salt Lake City, and I just kept stumbling into all of these pin-perfect meetings, like when they were getting ready to shoot the Flat Out show.”


Photo by Dave Reardon/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

With an introduction to the BRCC crew from Texas Dave, Williams was invited to Rally Ready in January 2022. Expecting to be teaching rally courses with the Rally Ready team, Williams found himself squarely in the midst of filming for Flat Out. Ever since then, he’s been a part of the BRCC motor-sports team, specifically participating in the American Rally Association rally competitions, but also spending time at Pastranaland for Memorial Day weekend. 


The development of a rally team in the way that BRCC has built it out is quite unusual, with all of the drivers having their own teams, racing in their own categories, and running on different budget and skill levels. But the beauty of BRCC is that they can all find their own way to make it work.


Photo courtesy of Tom Williams.

“We all sing from the same hymn sheet,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and creativity, and that’s what rally needs. With BRCC, we’re explaining rally to America in the way they do best.”


The difference between testing and preparation in the UK and with the BRCC team is the difference between formal — think race trucks, gravel roads, and engineers — and BRCC style, which can involve helicopters, paintballs, and racing Crown Victorias. 


“The nice thing about rally is it’s not cutthroat the same way circuit racing is,” Williams said. “You can only really blame yourself, no one else. And even though we’re all separate teams, per se, we can just jump from our pits to chat with each other since you’re really only competing with yourself.”


Photo by Dave Reardon/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

“Being part of a team like this, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” Williams continued. “This is my ninth year racing now, and it’s so enjoyable. I have a great team behind me building the cars, and then I have the whole BRCC team, a great co-driver — everyone is helping out, and when I’ve got great preparation, and I’m enjoying what I’m doing with my team, I’m driving the best I’ve ever driven.”

Photo by Dave Reardon/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

Williams is currently ranked fourth overall in the ARA Championship standings and you can find him next at the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally September 16-17.

Follow Tom Williams on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to see what he’s up to next.