Being one of the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers means that we get invited to different things which are offered. For those who are unsure of what the Band of Brothers are, they are all military personnel who have sustained life changing injuries since 2001. This is not limited to operational injuries which is why I was added as a member and I have been shocked at the amount of amputees due to vehicle collisions. Anyway, back to yesterday (Thursday). My friend “Jim” who you may remember accompanied my Dad and I to collect my handcycle, drove me to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed 2014. The weather report was not good for our area but appeared to be better at Goodwood and the weather men were not wrong, it was beautiful sunshine for pretty much all of the day. We arrived having been stuck in a great deal of traffic which we hit at around four miles out. Needless to say it took and age to get through so we did a bit of car spotting. Ferrari, Nissan GTR and Massarati to name just a few of the more sporty vehicles we saw on our crawl in and obviously a lot more of those cars and more in the car parks as we headed for the disabled parking. “Jim” and I were quite shocked at the amount of Ferraris in particular that appeared to either be driven by or have passengers who were disabled as there were quite a few of them in the disabled parking area.
Goodwood really look after their disabled visitors as they send cars and disabled accessible minibusses which take you directly to the entrance gates, this was a real Godsend as I was in my manual wheelchair and the car parks are fields. Inside the grounds they have temporary aluminium flooring as pathways which makes it easier to cut around the place, still makes you work but it is easier than grass. We arrived at the main gate where I called the delightful Sue who is the bringer of smiles to the faces of so many by her charm, happy chit chat, hard work and um, something else. What the hell was it? Oh, that’s right….TICKETS and INVITATIONS to some pretty wicked days out. Fair play to her, somehow she mangaed to get away from the Mission Motorsport area long enough to come and get “Jim” and I and show us to the area where we could use as a `base`. Drop any bags that you didn’t want to carry around and grab a cuppa and literally a slice of cake. I can only assume that she has managed to get some of the BoB’s to teach her some escape and evasion techniques as she is without doubt the most sought after member of the team and rarely manages to leave the Mission Motorsport area at any of the events as she seems to know everything that everyone needs to know, bless her.
We arrived at the area allocated to MM where the founder of Mission Motorsport, James Cameron was addressing a crowd of people and when he had finished speaking, all beit temporarily, some of the guys who are being helped by the work that MM do fired up an F1 car that they have been working with. Due to the car running there was really no point in James Cameron speaking as you could hear this thing from a considerable distance away. Once the car was shut down James continued to talk to the crowd and introduce those who had been working with and running the car. James stepped down from the plartform that he had used to address the crowd and came accross to talk to me and “Jim”. I can not remember the last time that I spoke to James but when I talk to him it is like I have only seen him a week before, and that goes for all of the permanent staff of MM.
Having had a brew and a slice of cake it was time for “Jim” and I to venture off and look around the various stands and displays that the festival has to offer. Instead of writing lots of text I am going to put some pictures up that I took of the day, hopefully you will be able to imagine what it is like, I’ll add some words in somewhere but predominantly this is going to be a picture blog. Hope you like cars!
Starting with a demonstration from Land Rover.
The Aerial manufacturers were there, they build these less than ten miles from my bungalow.
Didn’t know they were trying their hand at motorbikes, not my taste but each to their own.
Next picture is a place who simply mod vehicles. A modist £96k will get you this one.
The next picture needs only one word; REALLY????
Know what this is in the next picture? It begins with the letter K and ends in G, but don’t ask me to fill in the rest.
I had never seen wavey discs on a car until yesterday.
But frequesntly ignored.
The worlds first ROAD LEGAL flying car. Big kite on the top and an adequate fan on the back to push it along. It has a rudder also although not fitted at time of picture being taken.
The least filmed car in any race, funny that, you’d like to think it was the safest though!
This next picture shows some 3D virtual reality thing. Didn’t try it but it was funny to watch the people who did.
Although mine was a straight 6 and definitely NOT as kitted as this one, I had one of these. Mine was a red 1978 Camero and I wish I had kept it.
Loved seeing these old girls.
Loving the stick on imitation haed light cluster on the race car below.
After enduring several people sticking their arses in front of my camera, I finally (with assistance from “Jim” playing `blocker`), I got a picture of this thing, not the best picture but to explain, it is a transporter type thingyamejiggy.
Again, a crap picture below for you to see what I wanted to show but it has 2 rear axles!!
My Scalextric had one of these when I was kid.
The next picture again does not do the finish justice, but it looked like brushed aluminium.
It’s a good job I am not a photographer for a job, (maybe I should do a course or something), but this paint job really caught my eye.
Not what I was expecting to see…
There are only a couple of places to cross the track from the paddock area to the trade stands and they are only open for a few minutes, every hour on the half hour. Signs are posted around and there are stewards who ensure the public don’t take their chances and drop the rope at the right times.
Our gate sentry was Amy. Despite there being signs of the times that the crossing is open, I lost count of how many times she was asked what time it was open. There is a bridge that goes over the track but has steps. Despite this though, people, (who were bitching about the fact that they had to wait for over half an hour), waited for the rope to drop rather than walk the two minutes to the bridge to cross the track which amazed me. There was no such luck for the disabled people though as there was no alternative. I simply sat quite smugly as at least I had somewhere to sit! I took the picture below of Amy after she had just told the 400th person (estimate) the time the gate would be open, having spent a good ten minutes extracting the urine every time someone looked as if they were going to ask her about the timings. I got the impression that she could have done with a board with a list of the times or one that said; Next crossing and then a changable time below it. Fair play though, she was very proffessional and polite to all who asked.
I have no idea what the thinking behind this was! (Opinion of George Pas and not Mission Motorsport).
I didn’t get to this lot until we were on our way out which I was gutted about, I would have loved to have got some decent shots of the Wacky Racer cars.
The traffic was horrendous on the way out which was to be expected, and although it took a hell of a time to get back to the bungalow it did not detract from the great day we had, once again given by Mission Motorsport.
Check out their website to find out more about them at www.missionmotorsport.org
My challenge to attempt to reach the tops of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in my new off road mobility vehicle is not too far away. I’m looking forward to the challenge which will see my friends assist and will raise money for service charities that have helped me. I hope that you will continue to read. www.georgepas.co.uk
Good evening all.
Great words and pictures from our friend George Pas. His brilliant blog is at www.georgepas.co.uk
Castle Hill car festival was an event which was taking place near Barnstable in Devon over the weekend, the organisers had invited Mission Motorsport to attend and would be the sponsored charity. This gave Mission Motorsport the opportunity to spend the weekend in Devon at a large country estate and promote the charity. I had spoken to James Cameron back when I had been invited to Donnington Park to watch the team race, he had told me of the event and as it is only around an hour from where I live I had told him that if I could be of any assistance then to please ask. He was unavailable to be at the venue due to other commitments that the charity had but had asked if I would be able to go along and help the guys that were going to the show, this I of course said “Yes” to. I am lucky enough to be invited to events that Mission Motorsport arrange or are given tickets to and as a result I have seen some good racing and have been raced around tracks in a variety of cars, the least I could do was to go along on the weekend and tell the public what the charity does and what they have allowed me to experience. Whilst I would love to do something sponsored for the charity, I have other charities that supported my family and I whilst I was in hospital and also when I was discharged which I need to give back to first but something that I can do for Mission Motorsport is give some of my time, and so this is what I gave to the charity this weekend.
There is of course still a problem. Although I am happy to give my time to the charity I am still unable to drive myself, therefore my willingness to give my time is great but if I am unable to get to the place which I am needed it is not much use, and could be viewed as a hollow gesture with an easy get out of jail card. To that end I asked a few people if they would like to take advantage of a day out with only a few conditions, those being that they needed to drive my bus, take me (but did not have to spend the day with me which is a big plus!) and not bugger off with my van leaving me stranded. I had a phone call from a very good friend of mine from the military who was wanting to arrange for us to hook up for a coffee and a chat. We chatted and were sorting out a day when I suddenly thought that they may enjoy a day out, so I asked her. She agreed to drive me which was great, it meant that not only could I join Mission Motorsport and help to promote what they do but my friend would be able to take her two kids to see all of the cars and have a day out. So transport for me on the Saturday was sorted.
We left at around half eight and headed to Taunton to join the M5 motorway Southbound. We had to go down two junctions and then leave the motorway for the road to Barnstable, easy. “Me Val” (my friend) and I were chatting, laughing and joking and generally catching up which was brilliant, I always have such a good laugh with her and on this occasion it was no exception, the problem though was when I took a moment to look at where we were and realised that we had been chatting so much that we had actually travelled nearly four junctions and were almost at Exeter. Oh well, off at junction 29 and back down again to J27 it is then! We finally got ourselves on to the road to Barnstable and made our way up the hills and down in to the valley and back out like a giant roller coaster pushing through the horrendous down pours until we pulled up in to the parking field. It did not appear to have rained very much at the venue which was encouraging and so we all got out and started to make our way in to the show. This was when the rain we had driven through decided it liked us and it started to chuck it down, luckily though I always keep a couple of umbrellas in the “Chucklebus” but there were four of us, I took one or I would have had a wet crotch for the day, gave my jacket to “Me Val’s” girl and her lad got the other umbrella, he was sharing it with “Me Val” but I have to say that she did not do a very good job and got suitably drenched bless her. After entering the site we made our way to Mission Motorsport’s stand for me to meet up with the guys who had been asked to go along to promote the charity and for me to introduce “Me Val” and the kids.
I spent the day meeting and greeting those who were paying an interest in the vehicles which had been brought along and explaining what the charity does and giving them a leaflet to read about Mission Motorsport drawing their attention to the web address in the hope that they would look at it when they had five minutes.”Me Val” and the kids wondered around the show looking at the various different cars that were in attendance and having a picnic. Aston took “The Pointy Thing” to take part in the Hill Climb which got a large amount of people watching, this was ideal.
Aston and “The Pointy Thing” managed a respectable time on the hill climb despite the gear linkage failing and it only having one gear, this was something that the guys set about fixing when it returned which again grabbed peoples interest which gave me more people to talk Mission Motorsport to.
Half way through the day there was a display put on by a stunt pilot, I have seen many different aircraft flown by many different pilots over the years and have watched in awe of some of the things the pilots have made their aircraft do but this pilot was something else. I spent some of the display wondering if the aircraft was out of control or if it was part of the flying display, the fact that the pilot flew away when he had finished told me that it was part of the display but by God, you had to see this pilot to believe it. After his display had finished I then found myself trying to establish whether or not the pilot was an idiot or a genius….verdict…..an idiotic genius! I am well aware that the likely hood of this pilot reading this Blog are slim to sod all but if they are, or someone who knows who the pilot is, is reading then please pass on my congratulations, hats off to you, an aeroplane should only do the things that you were making it do for one of a few reasons;
a) It has been shot down.
b) The pilot has suffered a heart attack and there is no one actually flying the plane.
c) The pilot has foolishly tried to fly through a twister and has failed miserably!
The weather was on and off through the day but stayed mainly dry thankfully.
At around four in the afternoon I left the guys of Mission Motorsport and headed back to the “Chucklebus” with “Me Val” and the kids. I could not have got to the site had “Me Val” not driven me and so a massive “Thank you” to her and also to the kids for keeping interested until we left. The rain on the way home was in almost exactly the same places as on the way up which was strange but was not enough to cause any problems with traffic and so with not missing any turnings on the way home, we were back in really good time.
On Sunday my Wife agreed to drive me to the site and so that she did not get bored walking around with the kids looking at cars, she was accompanied by my Mother in Law. The rain was terrible when we were driving to the site and it was obvious that the site had suffered with a lot of rain as the main entrance to the field was a mud pit. It came as no surprise that the classic car owners did not want to take their cars through the mud but this caused problems, they wanted to turn around and drive back out, as a result the marshals had to reverse cars to allow them to do this which blocked the road completely. No vehicles were allowed to enter the field as they would get stuck but there had been no other way to get vehicles in, problems then.
After around fifteen minutes of the marshals pacing and asking people to move their vehicles to try to alleviate the problem which failed on a scale of such disaster it was laughable, a guy with a radio came running up and spoke to them which stopped them from doing anything while staff covered the muddy entrance with straw. This at least allowed us to get in to the field and park up.
My Wife and I made our way over to the Mission Motorsport stand and I introduced my Wife to the guys. The weather was still rubbish but my Wife decided they would stay and look round the show, the weather would obviously depend on how long they would stay as my youngest, “Pickle”, is only three and keeping her entertained in the rain would be a nightmare potentially although she is pretty good really. In any case, it would be the last minute possible before we would go. My Wife headed back to the “Chucklebus” to get the rest of the tribe and look round the show and I looked to engage in conversation with people about the charity which funnily enough did not take too long when the rain came down. I had no problem with people seeking shelter in under the Mission Motorsport stand but they had to listen to me talking about the charity, can’t do it? No problem, you may simply walk away out in to the rain!
Fortunately, the weather brightened up in the afternoon which encouraged some people to go along to the show and in fairness it was busier than any of us expected. Aston and “The Pointy Thing” entered in to the hill climb again on the Sunday, with the shocks adjusted and the tyres deflated a little to give more of a footprint on the ground.
Unfortunately due to the rain and slick tyres they did have a chat with a bank and “The Pointy Thing” suffered a little damage on the front cowling but nothing that can’t be fixed thankfully.
It was around three in the afternoon when it threw it down again and after speaking to the guys, I decided that now would be the time to take the family home. It was a good weekend from my point of view, hopefully I have sold the charity enough to people for them to have a look on the internet and visit the Mission Motorsport website www.missionmotorsport.org and collected a reasonable amount of donations in the collecting pot.
I did not look around the show, I thought I would have a look round for an hour on the Sunday with the family but I decided against this because I had visions of me getting bogged in on the grass. As far a I can make out it was the first one this year, I hope that they have learnt from it. A contingency plan for the wet weather, a few more bits for the kids and advertise the event a little better and next year could be a really good day out. It was good though, and I hope to see Mission Motorsport again soon . A massive “Thank you” to my Wife for giving up her plans for herself and the kids for the day, in order for her to drive me to the site on the Sunday. They did enjoy the day despite the rain, but I could not have helped on the Sunday without her driving me, so “Thank you” again. x
Thanks for reading.
Good afternoon all.
Our Drift team are brilliant. More bearded than, well, ZZ Top on a long weekend, they’re also quite eloquent!
Words: Tom Gibson (Mission Motorsport Drift Instructor)
Photos: Will Browning and Ian Blackett
Wednesday the 15th May saw the fourth (my third) Mission Motorsport drift day at Santa Pod.
This time it has fallen on me to do the report so I guess this one will have a bit of a different feel to it, written from the perspective of a grease monkey/driver!
The story for Wednesday really starts a couple of days before the 15th, but we will gloss over the bits where some complete oaf broke a window on the 328i coupe (aka HMO), and then broke the hydraulic handbrake with his arse whilst hovering out the glass, yes, it was me!
Skip forward past fixing the brake lines in torrential rain, horrendous traffic and phone signal failure and it’s 10am, 2 of the 3 cars are ready to go and the third is on its way (although still over an hour away) but we have found our guys, Dan Ierston and John Carter so it’s time to start playing.
The Drift5, having sat at Pod for a few weeks started on the button and Chris was immediately dispatched to the kidney tracks with Dan and John to start a bit of tuition whilst I finished repairing one of our two BMWs.
I’m gutted to say I missed the first bit but Chris reported back that both guys, apart from being great blokes also showed a decent aptitude for getting some sideways action out of the long-suffering Mazda. Well done Fellas!
By lunch time both BMWs were tearing it up again and we had managed to wangle the guys a few passenger runs in some of the British Drift Championship cars that were shaking down on the now wet and greasy 2009 European Drift Championship track – massive grins and “Wow” faces all round after that!
The cars carried on faultlessly delivering passenger runs and tuition throughout the afternoon, wind and rain couldn’t stop us and the the only thing that broke down was one of our instructors who appeared to forget how wheel nuts worked! (…..Chris – righty tighty, lefty loosey)
Dan Ierston had this to say:
“Well what can I say, a real eye opener of a day for me!
I’ve always been into Motorsport but had never given drifting a second thought until Mission Motorsport got me into it at Santa Pod.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and spent most of it doing circles, but towards the end of the day got the hang of it (although remembering clutch kick, turn, throttle, more throttled and wheel flicking beat me a few times!)
A really enjoyable day. I’m now off to find a cheap BMW to get sideways!
I even went to the BDC in Pembrey a few weekends ago and got a further insight into the world of drifting!”
I think we may have a convert there.
There are big plans afoot, with both BMWs due for some serious upgrades and the trusty Drift5 needing nothing more than some suspension bushes, brakes and preventative maintenance.
We also have some experiments in the pipe line for another Mission Motorsport drift car, this time with hand controls. We will be shaking down this car at the July DWYB event so watch this space!
Yet again, our fantastic scribe George has blogged for us. His blog is at http://www.georgepas.co.uk and is well worth a look!
Early on Thursday morning my Cousin Simon arrived at the bungalow to be my driver for the day, tickets had become available to travel to Goodwood which is where amongst other things they hold the famous “Festival of Speed”. Mission Motorsport had their trailer and some vehicles there to promote the charity, show off some of the vehicles and explain to people what the charity does, because they were attending, they had managed to get tickets for members of the Band of Brothers to go and have a look round. An e mail was sent to the BoB’s explaining about the day and gave you the opportunity to reply and apply for a ticket, this I did and was really happy to receive an e mail informing me that I had been successful in securing two tickets for me and my driver to go and have a look round.
We left the bungalow at a little after a quarter past six for the journey which would be around two and a half to three hours long. Thankfully the traffic was running really well and we made it to the parking area in a little over two and a half hours. I had taken my manual chair so that we could give Simon’s car a run, all that remained now was to see if I had made the right choice, I had bought the third wheel which would make the grass easier to ride over but it was a clear blue sky and the sun was already hot, this was going to be hard work. We had not moved more than twenty meters from the car before a van similar to mine pulled up and asked if we would like a lift to the entrance, this was great as it meant I would not be knackered before we got in to the place but also, if they were offering us a lift then the entrance must be miles away. We got in to the bus and were driven directly to where we needed to meet the member of Mission Motorsport who would give us our tickets. We got out of the bus and immediately found ourselves at an entrance which we headed straight to and spoke to the lady on the door. By all accounts it was the entrance for VIP guests, no matter which way I looked at trying to sell the idea I just could not come up with any way to get the lady to believe that I was a VIP. Instead we made our way to the other entrance where I immediately recognised the MM guy to be Gary. He gave us our tickets and we walked with him to the Mission Motorsport stand.
(Picture from Mission Motorsport Facebook page).
This is also where the new drift car was about to be given it’s new look.
I spoke to James, Sue and Aston for a while and then Simon and I headed off for a look round. The Army Motorsport team were next door to Mission Motorsport and so this was the first place we stopped and chatted.
The site of Goodwood is huge, they had metal roadways for people to walk on and for the many buggies which were driving people around the site and collecting rubbish bins etc to drive on. These metal ways made it easier in the wheelchair but it was not a flat site and so there was still a fair bit of work to do to push myself around, and it was a beautiful sunny day, to that end it was hot. There were still teams arriving on the Thursday and people setting up their stands and retail stalls in preparation for the actual Festival of Speed but the amount of stalls and stands that were already in operation was plenty to look at. I was amazed at the main car manufacturers stands, to think that they have, I presume, arrived on lorries and been assembled. Air conditioned show rooms, arriving on lorries and being put together for a few days, mental!
Impressive I am sure you will agree, but this from Ford took the absolute piss.
A MULTI STOREY CAR PARK! What the hell is that all about???
Mind you, this should only have been expected after I saw the statue/monument towering above the large house.
And what with the wave rider at the Citroen stand…
You get the idea of how big an even this is.
We spent time to walk or roll in my case, in to these big main dealer stands to see what cars they had and to enjoy the cool air. There were some pretty nice vehicles and it gave time to ask about cars that you would not normally speak about, no point in going in to an Audi dealership and asking about the RS range when it is clear that you are not able to afford the 87 thousand pound price tag but here that does not matter.
One car that did catch my eye was the new Mondeo from Ford. I did not get pictures of the side or rear because it was the front that really caught my eye, and when something catches your eye like this did, it has done it’s job on the attention front.
The other manufacturers had some nice cars obviously but family car wise it was the Mondeo which really stood out. I was taken by the Skoda Octavia range but the Mondeo was still the one that stuck in my mind. We had a look at the AMG stand as we knew this would be air conditioned and then as we were wondering round we found two of the ultimate driving games that every house should have.
This GT86 was a full on simulator where the cars suspension would lift and lower and shake to give the feedback from the video game that the driver was playing, very impressive. Shut yourself away from the Wife and kids, (after you’ve dragged them out of it), and do everything that you shouldn’t do on the road but probably do anyway. Need to build a big room though or simply put it in the garage! The second was not quite as impressive as it was not a full car but still, no need for such a big room a suppose.
There really was a car for just about everybody’s taste. Old school racers…
To older school racers….
To newer generations…
and then today’s…
There were so many different cars and bikes from the days of Noah and his Ark, (well it looked that way, check it for yourself!)…
See what I mean, from the Ark!
There were cars from the Martini racing team spanning many years…
And the same applied to the Porsche range…
So many cars and bikes that I could not put all of the pictures on to the Blog, besides which, if I did then you would not need to go and see for yourselves. A couple of bikes for the bikers amongst you though starting of course with the Mission Motorsport race bike…
No car event that is this big would be complete of course without an appearence by something from TopGear, remember this one?
The infamous “Joy” was at the Land Rover stand, the only one of the Race to Recovery racing vehicles to complete the Dakar rally which was of course driven by seriously injured personnel, which in itself was an amazing achievement.
Whilst walking round I found something which, as I explained to the rider, was just wrong. I bet this guy hates his job.
There was so much more that I could show you and would really love to, especially the beach area with the land speed record jet cars but you really do have to go and see for yourself.
After a full day wondering around the site and looking at all of the bikes and cars we headed back to the Mission Motorsport stand to go and see how the drift car was getting on with it’s transformation. David, an injured serviceman has been helped by Mission Motorsport by learning a new trade. He was being taught how to sticker and wrap cars by the amazing guy who sponsors Mission Motorsport by doing all of the livery for their cars and bikes.
(Picture from Mission Motorsport Facebook page).
(Picture from Mission Motorsport Facebook page).
(Picture from Mission Motorsport Facebook page).
And the side that was finished when we left on Thursday after a full day of working on the car while learning…
Another HUGE thank you to Mission Motorsport for giving me the opportunity to visit the site and see the amazing cars, bikes and structures that were at Goodwood. It was great to catch up with Gary who I first met at Silverstone when he was waiting for the start of the Brit 24hr race. It was brilliant as well that I bumped in to a new friend who I met at the Supacat day for the Band of Sisters, Paddy. Looking well my friend and I hope we will catch up again, for longer this time, soon.
NONE of what they do would be possible without the support form the public so please, please visit their web site, www.missionmotorsport.org and read about what they do, the success stories where they have placed people in jobs for retraining and learn more about what they do. Here you will be able to donate to the charity as well. They truly do an amazing job which when you read about it you will see for yourselves.
Thanks again Mission Motorsport and Band of Brothers, really appreciated and of course to those of you who read my Blog. On the subject of my abseil, we are waiting for the go ahead from the insurance company, mental isn’t it, I’m paralysed so what’s the worst can happen!
Good afternoon all.
Thanks again to BBC South, great piece on the sporting and vocational work that we do:
Words from our friend George Paz, whose excellent blog is at www.georgepas.co.uk
On Friday morning at 07.00hrs there was a gentle knock at the front door, I knew who it would be and I was almost ready to go. My Brother had taken a days holiday from work, which he had some trouble convincing the boss to let him due to the staff who were already off. My Brother though did manage to convince the boss that they could manage without my Brother being there for the day and so he was able to drive and join me for a day out. I received an e mail from Mission Motorsport a week or so ago telling me of a day at Castle Coombe being raced around the track in various vehicles and that I was invited. I emailed back to say that I would love to attend, and that I appreciated the e mail inviting me. It would ultimately come down to if I could secure myself a driver, hence my Brother was now knocking on my door at 7 o’clock in the morning.
I got in to my Brothers car and while I put my seatbelt on and got comfortable for our journey to the track, he put my wheelchair in to the boot and made sure I had everything for the day and we set off. I typed Castle Coombe in to my Nav app on my phone and we drove towards the Motorway. The weather was overcast but no wet stuff was falling from the sky and so to that end it should be a good days racing. It was less than an hour and a half before we drove in Castle Coombe, the Nav app had taken us right to it. A lovely little place with such beautiful buildings but I was immediately drawn to the immediate problem that the roads were more than a little too small for anything bigger than a radio controlled toy to race around, that’s right, wrong bit of Castle Coombe. Really glad we went in to the village though because the buildings really are beautiful. We left the village and got back on to the main road, we were off to the race track and the weather was still good.
We arrived with around twenty minutes to spare before the official start time so my Brother got my wheelchair out of the boot of the car while I got myself ready to transfer across. At this stage I am still using my slide board to get from car to chair but in time I will master this without, bear in mind I am still teaching myself a lot of things, I got in to my chair and my Brother assisted in me ensuring my trousers were pulled up. This is something that you do not think about being able bodied but because we sit down all day and have the depletion of muscles, we have to ensure that any seam or ruffled material is not sat on as this can also cause sores. This done and car locked, we made our way across the area where cars were being prepared and headed to a building where there were a lot of people crammed inside.
Ok, Ok, I know what you are immediately thinking, not many cars capable of any speed here but don’t be fooled by appearances. I can tell you now that you should think carefully about `racing` someone off of the lights next time you are driving because there are some things that you would laugh at that may well be capable of causing serious embarrassment.
As we made our way over to the afore mentioned building a “Tedworth taxi” arrived bringing a fellow band of Brohter who is residing at Tedworth House at present. I met him at Tedworth House when I was there meeting Jeremy Clarkson a little while ago, his and my other halves have chatted on the internet so it was good to see him and find out how he is getting on. Together we made our way to the building. Inside were the drivers having a briefing on flags and procedure to ensure the day ran smoothly without major incident. With the drivers briefed they headed off to their vehicles where they would go round the track and familiarise themselves with the corners and spotting the cones that are put out as aids to negotiate the bends, yellow for brake, red for turn and blue as the apex if I remember correctly. We got ourselves a drink and signed in which then gave us wristbands to show we were entitled to go in the vehicle as a passenger and waited for cars to arrive for us to get in to.
It was in this building that I met up with James and some of the Mission Motorsport guys who were chatty as usual. It is always a pleasure going to any of the events that Mission Motorsport invite you to as they always make you feel welcome and part of the event. Unless there is a problem where everyone is busy, they will always make you feel part of the day, if any Band of Brothers or Sisters or any one else who may be given the opportunity to attend a day with Mission Motorsport then I do not think I would be alone in saying that you should grab the opportunity with anything you can and go, they are always a great day out. As I sat chatting with my Brother and George which is the Band of Brother I mentioned, a Volvo car pulled in to the people loading area and asked if anyone wanted to go out on to the track. I looked at my Brother and George and they both said to go, so I reversed down the step and got to the passenger door which was opened for me. My Brother came over to take my chair away for me, he made sure that I was in ok and handed me the seatbelt before closing the door and taking my chair away. Then we were off.
The driver introduced himself and simply told me that if I needed him to slow down or I wanted to finish the session then to simply let him know. With the accelerator pedal firmly pushed against the floor of the car I was impressed with how fast this car was, it was a Volvo V50 estate, turbo diesel with an automatic trip tronic gearbox but it really did go well, and boy could it handle the corners. I was shocked at how this thing went and handled especially when I found out that it was less than an 2 litre engine that was powering us round the track. It was a real eye opener as Volvo are `labelled` as a car for older people. We pulled back in to the people loading area and my wheelchair was brought out to me. I thanked the guy who drove and headed back in to the waiting area. I had been in only a short while before a TVR turned up, I was curious to see how difficult it would be to get in to the seat if it would be possible at all. I reversed down the step and pulled up next to the passenger door where the owner of the car opened the door for me to see. It was a bit low but also tight as the door did not open that far. I told the guy that I may try later but for now I would wait, he understood and told me to simply give the nod if I wanted to try.
I no time at all another car turned up, I had noticed it in the car park when we turned up, mainly because my Brother had parked next to it and I had commented on how it looked like a fair bit of kit. So when it tipped up with the driver wanting a passenger I thought to myself, “Why the hell not” and got in. Again my wheelchair was taken away and I was off round the track again, a bit quicker this time and unsure of how the hell we were going to get round the bends as it was a rear wheel drive vehicle, but I guess the company that built it must know what they were doing because it really did hold the road well.
I had only just got back in to the waiting area when I was beckoned to get in to another car, there was no way I was going to get in to this thing, but the guy and some of the Mission Motorsport lads were adamant that I was getting in it to go for a drive round, with a fair bit of pulling me around and lifting me about I finally got in and then we were off.
A Vauxhall VX 220, and by God this was a good bit of kit. It was almost as if it were on rails, it was so stable and was a lot quicker than I imagined it to be. Its owner really enjoyed throwing it round the track and you knew that he knew the capabilities of his car. He has his own businesses which I was asking about, things which may well interest you so here they are. PROCHIP UK professional re mapping services and PROTINT UK window tinting and car wrapping, he is based in Trowbridge. If you are interested in either services then give him an e mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com he is a great guy to talk to and judging by his own car I would say he knows what he is doing.
There was a break for lunch which had been laid on for those attending, which was really good food. The food had been put upstairs which was unfortunate for both George and I as neither of us were able to manage the stairs but before we had a chance to ask anyone to help, James and the Mission Motorsport guys had brought down three plates of food for us to pick at. Almost immediately some of the catering staff came over and told us they would also bring some down, before you knew it George, my Brother and I were sitting in the waiting area and briefing room with the Mission Motorsport guys. They had all been upstairs chatting with those who had kindly come along bringing their cars, collected some money in the `rattler` and then come down to sit with us as we were unable to negotiate the stairway. After lunch there was a prize draw from the raffle, but I didn’t win so I am not going to talk about that bit, then it was back to the racing round the circuit!
Aston asked me if I fancied being driven round the track in the Beetle that was there, I had not thought about it if I had been honest but Aston headed off on a little mission, returning five minutes later with the information that they were just going to put a seat in it for me and they would be over. A short time later the Beetle pulled in to the people loading area and I reversed down the step and over to the car. The door was opened and there was the problem number one. There was a roll cage that incorporated side impact bars, when sitting in the vehicle they would be just below belly height. If I could get in, how the hell would I get out. Then there was the racing bucket seat, this would be a comfy fit, a shoe horn and lubrication may be required to get fat boy here in to the seat in the first place. Never the less, Aston had gone to the trouble of getting me a race round in the car and by hook or by crook they were getting me in. It was not the most dignified entry in to a vehicle I have ever done, but I was in and wedged. They helped me with the five point race harness although the way I was wedged in to the seat I was unsure if this was necessary, even so, rules are rules and safety is safety so the harness was done up and pulled tight. I was told simply to nudge the driver if I was wanting to slow down or stop or if I felt uncomfortable in any way. I refrained form nudging him before we set off even though I was not the most comfortable I had been all day as I was intrigued to know how this Beetle would go.
We had to wait at the end of the pit lane until we were given the wave to go, this is where the driver explained to me a bit about the car. It was purpose built by VW for the GT cup and had a 3.2 litre VR6 engine in it. It had nothing inside that it did not need, and was obviously fully race prepared. This thing was loud, fast and was essentially a go cart going around the corners as if they were no there at all. The driver took me out for 5 or six laps and then came in, keeping the time out on the track short it gave it time to cool down and for the brakes to recover. To give you an indication as to how warm the tyres got in the short time it was racing round the track, after a small team of lads getting me back out of the car, the Beetle drove off and took the paint from the floor with it where it had warmed the paint up so much it had stuck to the tyres! The only way the guys could get me out of the car was to drag me out as I tried to lift myself on to the side impact bar, which believe me is no easy tasking. I can not begin to describe how difficult it was for me to try to lift my legs up on to the battery cover inside the car on the floor and keep them there while trying to un-wedge myself from a bucket seat that was borderline requiring surgical removal. Eventually though they did get me out and then in to my wheelchair.
The whole day was fantastic as usual. I was surprised that more injured personnel did not take the opportunity to spend the day being raced around the track but I will state catagorically that if anyone does get the opportunity to go along to one of their days they should do it. They really give you a chance to do things that you would not ordinarily get a chance to do, George even drove round the track! With the day over I said thank you and goodbye to James and the Mission Motorsport crew and headed off to the car for the journey home. Thanks to my Brother for driving me for the day as well. Oh and I hope Aston got the Scooby back without having to push it! Until next time.
Drift What Ya Brung (DWYB) 10/04/13
Wednesday 10th April saw yet another outing for the MM Drift Team, this time accompanied by Dean Mullarkey and Barry Taaffe.
A quick safety briefing and introduction from the MM Team and they were sent straight out in Laurence “Drift Nutter’s” fully competition prepped BDC Super PRO Spec Nissan, to show them how it’s done!!
Having both experienced a pro driver in maximum attack mode they took to the driving seat of the MM Drift5, under the instruction of MM Instructors Tom Gibson and Chris Pickford.
Plenty of seat time was had in both the MM Drift5 and also Tom’s E36 “HMO”
By the end of the day both Dean and Barry had mastered the basics of holding a donut and were progressing brilliantly!
Barry had this to say “The day was absolutely brilliant! Me and my father in law went along and from the outset we were made very welcome and hosted in a great manner. The drifting part of the day was obviously the best part, riding in the awesome cars going around a track at mach 10 sideways burning rubber! Also, we all managed to get a passenger seat in some of the professional drivers that were there and that’s a memory I’ll never forget, without swearing it was bloody awesome!
We also got to drive ourselves in an MX-5 drift car, built especially for us to get sideways, however if you think drifting is easy…………it’s not, but so much fun trying!
On behalf of me and my father in law I would like to thank Will and his guys for taking time off work and putting in a lot of effort for our enjoyable day!”
As always, if you would like to come along and join us next time then drop the team an email!
The story of the 2012 Mission Motorsport team entry in the Britcar 24 Hour race at Silverstone. 13 minutes, pull up a sandbag, and enjoy.
You can play ‘spot the crew’ now, Gary is in a logistics role at Aston Martin Racing, Jimmy is working and instructing for Track-Group running race cars, James is in a Motorsport degree course at Derby University, while Matt is at Bentley in Crewe. Tony – stalwart crew chief, now bringing on the next generation of Mission Motorsport guys, and both Matt and James spend (long) weekends as race mechanics for Aston in the World Endurance Championships, just back from Spa, next stop Le Mans.
Will and Copey – unbelievably – are back in Afghanistan. Come home safely guys…
Great write up on his day with Mission Motorsport at Donington, our friend and avid blogger George Pas writes:
I woke early on Sunday morning and felt absolutely fine, no problems or any sign that I had been unwell on Saturday and so I text my friend Piers to let him know that our trip to Donington was on. Piers arrived at just after seven o’clock in the morning and picked up the things I would need to take with me. He got my Son in to the car and strapped him in and then I transferred in to the car, while I was getting myself sorted he folded my chair and put it in to the boot, finally at around half past seven we were on our way. It took around three hours to reach Donington race circuit. It was the longest time I had spent in a car without a pressure cushion and I had not experienced any problems, I called Adam when we arrived to let him know where we were and that it would take me around ten minutes to get out of the car and back in to my wheelchair. The timing was nothing short of perfect on his part. He had walked to meet us as we were walking to meet him, we shook hands and I introduced him to Piers who had driven me, his Son and my Son he then started to take us to the Mission Motorsport trailer where we would be able to catch up with James and the team. We had barely walked twenty feet when he received another call from another of the guests which he had to meet. He pointed us in the right direction and within a couple of minutes we had found and reached the trailer and awning of the Mission Motorsport team.
James was not at the awning when we arrived however some of the team was, I said hello and spoke to them for a while until a familiar face was approaching in a mode of transport which is a lot slower than he is used to. James was approaching on a push bike, showing that it is not just the female of the species that can multi task, some of the males can too. This was proven by James riding whilst taking care of a phone call, I was impressed until I saw the colour of the bike, but don’t worry James I have no photographs of this so the fact that the bike was a very feminine pink will be kept just between those who were present at the time! With his phone call completed he came over and greeted us, he remembered Piers from our visit to Tedworth just a couple of weeks ago and so it just remained to introduce my and Piers’ Sons. We spoke for a short while until the time arrived when James had to get ready to take the Porsche out on to the track. He kindly gave us an orientation and then told us he would see us soon but he had to go. After wishing James luck, Piers and I spotted some cars that the kids might be interested in so we took them to have a look.
And my Son really liked the lorries.
Piers, the kids and I then headed off to an area where we would be able to watch James on the track and give my Son, as I can not speak for Piers, his first real taste and experience of motor racing at a real race circuit, and he loved it. He kept telling me when he had seen James going around the corner which is where we were.
Then Piers kindly took the boys a bit further round which meant they could see the cars coming up the start finish straight, round the corner and down over the gradient where they would lose view for a second or so until they then watched them go up the other side and disappear out of view round another corner. I stayed where I was as it was all loose gravel and very hard work as I had only kept the standard wheels on the wheelchair instead of fitting the off road wheels and third wheel that I use when I go for my st-roll with Alison. We stuck around and watched the race. It was strange to see Clio’s racing with Porsche and Nissan `Z` cars but they are different classes of cars that race so although you may not come across the line first, you may in fact win your class.
Each lap that passed, each time the cars went passed us the order would change, the car that James was behind was suddenly behind James.
The lap count went up, the number of laps to go went down, the car numbers that James had passed increased until the race ended, now to listen for the results….
It took some explaining to my Son about how although James passed the finish line as the third car he won his class, I was confident he did not understand despite my best efforts but I would see what happened. It was lunch time, we headed over to the hospitality area to get a bite to eat. We were joined by James, Adam and a couple of the team and guests, this was where my Son congratulated James with a `hi five` for his third place! Bless him, I knew he would not have grasped it but it did not phase James, he chuckled about it while I tried to again explain how James had won the race with his type of car. “Ohhh, so you won” said my Son, “Well done!” as he offered his hand for another `hi five`. After lunch we watched some more of the racing and walked around the back of the garages, the kids got to see even more cars.
Another race was the solo seats.
I received a call from Adam to let me know that I needed to get to the pits, so that is where we headed.
Chevron racing team have decided to support Mission Motorsport which can only be a true showing of how Mission Motorsport are doing, you can’t help but feel proud of how they are doing, not Just James and the drivers but the mechanics, the support volunteers and Adam with his job searchings for people. I make an apology now for the names I do not remember, it is not that they are any less important in fact just the opposite, the support staff are part of the team, it is the fact that I have more to do with James and Adam than most of the other team members, oh and the fact that my memory is not what it was since my bang on the head! Such an amazing team, a team that I say thank you to again and again for the opportunities they provide, and my visit to Donington is no exception.
We said our goodbyes and thank yous and headed off to the car for the journey home. thankfully it was a good drive home and took only marginally longer than the trip up. I still am unsure as to who was the more tired, the kids or me! A truly brilliant day out with some great motor racing and some brilliant people. Thanks to Piers for driving me up, I have to rely on people to drive me to different places but some of the things are worth it!
I have not told you all of the results, it was a full weekend of racing, I want you to read my Blog but if I tell you everything, (like the epic task for first time awning assembly), then you will not visit the website of these guys.
I was unable to write the Blog yesterday as I had a minor relapse and my body was not wanting to play ball and so to that end I had an earlier night. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this entry and that you will go to the Mission Motorsport website to view any pictures that they have. I asked other paraplegics if they had ever experienced what I had been unfortunate to endure for the day on Saturday, the general feeling is that it could have been Autonomic Dysrefexia after all, guess we will never know, I do know that I don’t want it again though. For now though I am ok so time to crack on. The sun is starting to shine during the day times now so you never know, summer could be on its way! Enjoy the sun while it is here people, and take care of your selves. My letter has gone off to the person I need to ask about my next challenge so I really hope that I will hear back from him soon, if not it will be option two presented by a friend of mine, someone who you will hear about later on when he gets set up.
So I leave you with a little intrigue, what am I going to do for charity and my wheelchair fund next???
Good afternoon all.
Great BFBS TV news piece covering what was a fantastic day.
Huge thanks to Nissan for the GTR, Silverstone for, well, everything; and especially to Graham Raphael whose energy is remarkable setting these days up.