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Neil Mac
26-09-2018, 02:27 PM
Monday was one of the better days. I had no hesitation in signing up to lend a hand at the Mission Motorsport Invitational, partly because it sounded like a fantastic experience as well as an opportunity to help out. I was expecting to drive down and assist with set-up on Sunday, but information arrived at MMHQ a week before the event that we wouldn’t actually be granted access to the circuit until 6am on Monday. Running around at dawn trying to sort things out isn’t fun or particularly efficient. Fortunately (for us), a forecast of heavy rain and strong winds forced the cancellation of the Sunday cycling event, so we were able to get in on Sunday after all (after the storm had passed and it was all lovely and sunny).

I was assigned to help sort out and fit the personalised signs over every garage. This was made easier by the use of a newly-purchases staple gun (previous efforts with screws and drivers being a lot more time-consuming). As we didn’t have a step ladder, what we could really have done with was a tall chap. It was at precisely this moment that Martin (Tallchap) arrived, so he was immediately put to work. :thumb:
The first couple of signs I picked up were for these cars. Absolutely magnificent:

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1969/44863863622_cb7b7432d4_b.jpg

Once all the signage was in place and the various skidding cars had been unloaded, it was time for dinner, so we did that. We then retired to the Army Sailing Club on Thorney Island to bunk up and get some sleep.
Dawn broke on Monday morning, and all was well with the world:

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1964/44204877714_a2d9389040_b.jpg

We made our way to the circuit to be allocated our tasks for the day. Martin and I were to be Paddock Managers in charge of the modern cars, with new volunteer Simon H being assigned to the 50’s and 60’s racers and old hand Michael granted the honour of looking after the pre-war beasts. Darren L was also on hand to assist in the orchestration of the day, and there were enough staff and volunteers on hand to ensure the day ran smoothly. Jim did his thing.

What a fantastic selection of vehicles. The stand-outs in my group were a brand-new Ford GT and Harry Metcalfe’s Jaguar Project 8 missile. The Ford was gawked at all day, and very much in demand. The Project 8 was much the same (particularly as it was purple), and had the added benefit of being more accessible to those beneficiaries transferring from wheelchairs. At the other end of the group were 2 Caterhams (one provided by Caterham themselves and fitted with their tame racing driver) and Drew Faulkner’s Contour SP9 Bike-Engined prototype racer. Only the more nimble attendees could get in (and eventually out) of these devices, but they well utilised all day.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1976/44863854902_958e3af825_b.jpg

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1912/44913521061_eb74428255_b.jpg

The reactions from the beneficiaries were fun to watch. The first couple of guys who came over to me didn’t really know what to expect. I asked one to pick a car he fancied, and he immediately pointed at the Ford GT he had been gawping at. He literally could not believe it when I told him to grab a helmet and jump in the passenger seat for some hot laps. I think he was under the impression that he was there to watch the cars being demonstrated rather than take part. Making peoples’ days in these circumstances is very very
easy…

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1951/43112844070_4c376ea008_b.jpg

There was a lady there with the name “Whoopie” on her name badge. It turned out to be her nickname, and not because of a resemblance to a famous film star. She literally whooped, hollered and screamed in every car she went out in, much to the shock of some of the drivers. She wanted lots of photos of her in all the different cars so she could show them to her daughter, and could not have been more excited. She realised in the early afternoon that she had to leave early to go and pick up her daughter from school, so asked to have her later sessions swapped with someone else. I recommended she try out the bright green Caterham 420R with the racing driver pilot, and this worked very well. She was over the moon. He was possibly a little deaf.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1966/44863856552_63789044a1_b.jpg

As the day wore on, some attendees had to leave to do other things. Fortunately, there were further arrivals of cars to replace the drivers who had left, so things kept ticking over. The Cayman R in my group (piloted by ace valeter Richard Tipper) was substituted for an M3 driven by a nice chap called Daniel. One beneficiary who owns a Z4 thought the M3 wouldn’t be a big enough step up from his own car, but Daniel soon put him right.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1974/44913530051_4242eb8ed3_b.jpg

As things thinned out further and my group were out for their final session, it was suggested that there may be an opportunity for me to take a passenger ride round the circuit. I immediately had a car in mind, as I’d been admiring Frank’s 1964 Ford Falcon Sprint all day. Frank is a regular at the Revival (and the Invitational), and also has a lovely 1965 Alfa Giulia Saloon racing car to fling around. His allocated passenger was out in something else, so I spared no time in leaping aboard. This gave me an opportunity to see how the drivers were engaging with their passengers, and Frank was an excellent host. We had a very pleasant chat about Goodwood, the dynamic qualities of old racing cars, advanced technologies and the future of vehicular electrification (he owns a Tesla, an i3 and an i8, and daily drives an XC90 Hybrid). He took time to understand who I was and what I did, and made me feel at home. At no point did he mention his social position or business achievements, as it wasn’t relevant to what we were doing. In other words, he was just the man for the Mission Motorsport task at hand, and along with the other drivers was a vital component of what the charity achieves through days like these.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1924/31040945858_d9da42363f_b.jpg

The Falcon was a fantastic vehicle to take around Goodwood. It was fast, noisy and drifty, and Frank both knew what he was doing and how to describe it’s characteristics and the appropriate driving method to apply to it. Brilliant fun. He noticed me tense up at one point, and I was just polite enough not to point out that one of the larger bumps we hit made me temporarily believe that the rear axle had fallen off and I thought we were going to interface directly with a tyre wall. All part of the fun, of course. :shame:

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1922/44930080011_bd98d2102a_b.jpg

As 5pm approached, the day grew naturally to a close, the various accessories and vehicles were packed away and we all departed to return to normal life. It was a fantastic day, and a privilege to take part in. Roll on the next one.

More photos here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/81033992@N02/albums/72157695886727520

Marty was there taking higher quality shots of cars doing dynamic things, so more impressive photos will appear in due course.

stevem
26-09-2018, 02:32 PM
Gutted to have missed out on this , unfortunately we were still in northern Scotchland, post-marathon.

Simon
26-09-2018, 07:06 PM
Ditto but I was stuck further South in an office :sad:.

Cheers for a great report, looks like another very successful MM day :thumb:

Gary Kinghorn
27-09-2018, 05:53 AM
Brilliant stuff Neil. A great read.

I love the ford falcon. Brilliant cars that look and sound amazing on track :thumb:

Diamond Hell
27-09-2018, 08:31 AM
Sounds like an amazing and rewarding day. :thumb:

Rory
27-09-2018, 02:15 PM
It looks like there was quite the proliferation of car-porn there.. :thumb:

Excellently presented report Neil, thanks for sharing it. :thumb:

And well done to you and all involved on the day! :thumb:

Floyd
29-09-2018, 07:21 PM
Nice report! Good job chap.

Dave B
30-09-2018, 07:56 PM
Great read Neil, I too am gutted I missed it.

Jim Cameron
02-10-2018, 03:41 PM
Mega day! Sorry it has taken me a long time to read. Thank you for volunteering :thumb:

tallchap
02-10-2018, 07:06 PM
Mega day! Sorry it has taken me a long time to read. Thank you for volunteering :thumb:

Always a fantastic and very rewarding day, which is a pleasure to attend - I always feel honoured to help out.

TC.

Neil Mac
03-10-2018, 11:03 AM
Sorry it has taken me a long time to read.

That's OK, Jim. I understand you went out for a walk.:thumb:

Jim Cameron
04-10-2018, 06:31 AM
Short walk. All done now. :lol:

Floyd
04-10-2018, 06:45 AM
Nice knees.