National Paint Championships winner crowned at Automechanika Birmingham

The winner of the Bodyshop Magazine-supported National Paint Championships was crowned after a closely fought final today (6 June) at Automechanika Birmingham 2023, which is taking place this week at the NEC.

Seven UK paint technicians reached the final round out of 20 entrants, and battled for bragging rights and some sizeable cash prizes. They were tasked with a pre-show qualifier to impress judges with their skills, then had to design the most impressive Vauxhall Corsa car bonnet with a 50-hour deadline and demonstrating various painting techniques inspired by the “Mobility Royale” theme.

After much debate and deliberation by the expert judges, Jack Smith of Forged From Flake was unanimously crowned National Paint Champion to earn a top prize of £4,000. Rhisiart Griffith from RWG Built was the close runner-up in a split decision among the judges, with Becca Denton of Bex Airbrushing narrowly missing out on the second place prize of £1,700.

As well as the main honour, Smith also collected the People’s Choice award, voted for by Automechanika Birmingham visitors, and worth an additional £2,500.
A delighted Smith said: “I’m over the moon to win the competition. The strength of the final and quality on display was so high. I’m really happy that my technique and creativity shone through and I’m thankful for the opportunity to really show off the level of talent across the industry, and also to my boss Dave for letting me have the time off to compete.

“I do a lot of low-rider paint jobs so it’s a style that comes naturally to me. It took more than 47 hours so I was really pleased to get it done.”

Runner-up Griffith said: “Taking part was a real experience and winning would have been a huge bonus, but I’m chuffed to come away with second place. The design was a play on the royalty theme – the cup of tea [shown in my design] is a staple in bodyshops everywhere so having that with a crown in was a subtle nod to that fact.”

Alex Jones, marketing manager at Messe Frankfurt UK, organisers of Automechanika Birmingham, said: “It’s been fantastic to host the National Paint Championships and the level of skill and creativity demonstrated by our finalists was phenomenal.

“We’re very grateful to our star-studded judging panel for their diligent deliberation selecting this year’s winners and for sharing their rich industry knowledge to pick out a worthy winner.

“We hope all our finalists were inspired by the tournament and maybe our exhibition visitors interested in making their mark in the trade will be inspired to hone some new skills.”

As well as Smith and Griffith, making it to the final were Rob Hendrick from Brit Built Customs ; Julian Woodstock from Colchester College; Becca Denton from Bex Airbrushing; Ian Boultwood from Bespoke Autostyling; Ashleigh Shaw from Autobodyworx; and Hannah Pusey from Sprayaway Group working with Airartz.

An esteemed panel of professionals from the bodyshop and collision repair industry decided the competition’s winners. The panel included Rachel Murray, finisher and owner of Paint by Rach; Michael Massey, global paint finishing platform application engineer for the 3M Automotive Aftermarket Division; Simon Wait, head of editorial at Bodyshop Magazine; Jordan Salt, managing director of R+R Coatings; Sunny Yip, car body repair technician from Auto Spray; and Craig Bourke, aka “The_Specky_Painter”.

Automechanika Birmingham continues until Thursday (8 June) at Birmingham’s NEC, with Hall turned over to the collision repair sector. Attendance is free, to register a ticket visit: