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.
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:
Rather than us, the account of our anniversary Experience day at Thruxton circuit is best told by Mission Motorsport and Help for Heroes beneficiary, George Pas. His rather brilliant blog, with pictures, is here: http://www.georgepas.co.uk/thruxton-circuit/
Today, (Thursday), was the first Birthday of a special charity that has been set up to help injured personnel recover and retrain, a charity who I have written about before and who I have a link to for their website on my links page….MISSION MOTORSPORT.
They were holding their Birthday celebration at one of the fastest race circuits in the UK.
Darren and I left my bungalow at around quarter to seven in the morning after a coffee and me having some breakfast. My Wife had checked that I had everything I would or may need during the day and when we were certain we were set for the day, we loaded me in to the Chucklebus and strapped me in, then finally we were on our way. The weather had taken a turn from cold to wet and whilst part of me was hoping that it would clear, the other part was kind of excited at the prospect of being driven round the track in the wet. When we arrived we had to sign in, this would allow us to be taken around the track in the cars. There was also a form which you could put your name on for a chat with one of the team, Adam, who endeavours to retrain and find employment for injured personnel, I wanted to take full advantage of this offer to talk to someone who knew which directions I could look at for getting back in to employment and so I made sure I signed the sheet.
Major James Cameron addressed those of us who had been fortunate enough to have applied in time for the Birthday party where he welcomed us and gave us some history of the circuit. He let us know how the day would run and introduced some of the team who would be driving, he told us a little about the personalities and which vehicles they would be in. They had a selection of cars which would be driving round the track for us to experience, by using different cars they could demonstrate to us how different they were.
He introduced the lovely lady who would help us with tea and coffee and who had a rather large selection of cakes.
It was a good opportunity to talk to other members of the Band of Brothers, I spoke to a few from Tedworth House and then spent some time in the afternoon talking with two members of the Royal Navy, Emma and Andy. A real pleasure to meet them both and spend time chatting.
I also finally met Ollie and Stacey from Help for Heroes. They e mail any offers that come along and are responsible for putting names in the hat and drawing them if there are too many applicants. They are lovely, really chatty and really interested when you are talking with them. It was nice to be able to put faces to the names and the voices. I have e mailed and spoken to them on the phone but this was the first time we had met.
The racing started and much as I wanted to get out on the track, I had to take the opportunity that had been given to speak about directions for future employment. The talk I had was brilliant, really informative and I left the room feeling confident that if an opportunity was to present itself to Mission Motorsport to help me, then I would also have their support. Thank You for the talk, it was really encouraging.
And so with my talk finished I spoke to James and he took me out for my first ever experience in a race car on a real racing circuit.
What an incredible experience, James talked me through every bend and straight, every line he was taking, when he was accelerating and braking. I could imagine myself carrying out the actions he was describing, and as he continued round the track I was picking which line I would take to see how similar it was. It took a while for me to get back out of the M3 in to my wheelchair as I haven’t got the technique cracked yet but with help from Darren I did it, then it was time for a cup of tea. Through the day there were more opportunities to go it other cars, as well as a hand control car. This especially interested me as I am hoping to receive a favourable reply for the mobility allowance extension which will mean I can get a car which will have hand controls, what better place to try out how I would cope with this method of driving than in an open area marked out by cones.
It was surprisingly easy to operate and gave reasonable feedback, I took a couple of goes round the cones to get used to it but it wasn’t long before I was driving harder.
We had a Birthday photo on the grid with some of the vehicles Mission Motorsport use, I don’t have the picture of all of us by the vehicles but I will post those at a later date if I get them.
I went out in a works car as well, this took a long time for me to get back out of as it was very very low, but again with Darren’s help and the offer of help from members of Mission Motorsport which we actually did not need, I managed to get back in to my wheelchair. It was a truly exhilarating experience with the car being pushed hard by the driver who was an injured serviceman that had been trained by Mission Motorsport to race and then was further helped by the charity as they found him a work placement, he now works for the company who had given the car for the day that he had just driven me in. It was a very surreal moment when, as I was struggling to exit the car, the driver said that his leg had fallen off as must have pressed the release button. I can honestly say that it is the first time I’ve heard that one!
There was also a rear wheel drive car that was being used to let people drive round a cone, sounds mundane but as an unfortunate side effect to this, the back end of the car would come out and as people were trying to control the car while continuing to go round the cone, it resulted in a kind of a drifting motion. It was in the auto test area to avoid any confusion that may suggest that any drifting was taking place!
Darren was fortunate enough to be invited to try a few vehicles which was nice. I have to rely on people driving me around at the moment and so it was great that he was able to experience the day in full. It would have been a shame for him to have been there all day watching, although he had already said that he was just happy to be there. All the same, he went out in some cars and really soaked up the whole racing experience.
We had an amazing day with Mission Motorsport who I first met at the Brit 24 at Silverstone. It was a real privilege to have spent their first Birthday with them doing what they do. I met some great people and had an absolute blast. Thanks to Sue for the good news that she gave me when she told me that I had been successful in my application to be a part of their special day, a really nice lady who again was a real pleasure to talk to. We left Thruxton at around quarter to five having had a full day of fun. Mission Motorsport is an extremely worthwhile charity, it is not just about racing cars around a track, it is about giving new skills keeping the team spirit and getting injured personnel retrained and hopefully resettled in to jobs within the motor or motorsport industry. Please check out their website, read about what James Cameron has created and the work that they do at Mission Motorsport. Their web address is on my links page, but just so you don’t have to look;
Thanks again to the Mission Motorsport team for an amazing day, I hope to see you again soon.
Thanks to Yokohama UK, we had a great opportunity to get one of our guys very close to the action at Brands Hatch last weekend. James sent us this lovely thank you:
I would just like to say a huge thank you to Major James Cameron and the rest of the team at Mission Motorsport for organising a fantastic weekend at Brands Hatch with Team Yokohama.
I am due to be medically discharged on the 6th August this year and going on to do a degree in Motorsport Technology at Derby University.
After being put in contact with the charity Mission Motorsport, they have been superb as they recognised my plans to go into the motorsport industry and they have been a fantastic help.
This weekend at Brands Hatch was second to none. Being integrated with Team Yokohama was a brilliant experience. I was welcomed into the team and given the uniform so from the off I was a part of them and they looked after me brilliantly.
I got a first hand look into the sport as I got face to face with the Formula 2 drivers and teams alike. Talking to the race teams and mechanics has given me a super insight into motorsport and I have gained some valuable knowledge I know I can take with me to university.
I helped the Yokohama Team changing race tyres and balancing the completed wheels along with being shown how to interpret tyre degradation and testing the tyres’ temperature ranges in the pit lanes. Learning how different tyre pressures,suspension and tracking set-up can effect the performance of the tyres and cars.
The highlights of the weekend had to be being able to walk the grid as the F2 cars lined up ready to race and meeting the GT Open drivers Nick Tandy and Marco Holzer. Also having pictures taken with them and the Manthey racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR by Jochen from Frozenspeed motorsport photography.
Well what an amazing weekend. I’m sure I will be the envy of a lot of people when I do start my degree at Derby and this weekend has just made me all the more eager to get started and get involved with motorsports more than ever.
Thank you Mission Motorsports for a fantastic weekend and one I won’t forget for a very long time.
L/Cpl James Longmate
Yokohama HPT Head of Motorsport, Mark Evans said:
“When Mission Motorsport asked if we could integrate one of their members into our team for the weekend, we were more than happy to help. James will be leaving the Army soon and embarking on a career in motorsport, so a weekend behind the scenes with us at Brands Hatch gave him a useful insight into not only how the supply of control tyres helps make the series such a success but also, the numerous other aspects of motorsport.”
Amazing 2 days.
Lots of laps, the M5 didn’t do 155mph down the Kemmel straight, honest…
The lads have been out in a couple of F458 Italias, having a dice with Porsche Cup cars at Spa. Utterly, utterly nuts.
This weekend Mission Motorsport has 7 guys at one of the finest circuits on earth, Spa in Belgium.
There’s a serious reason behind the recce – Mission Motorsport will be racing at Spa later this year. Awesome place.