The Group began its 40th anniversary celebrations with the 2023 Driving Day held at the Haynes Motor Museum, in the heart of Western Group territory on 15th June. With cars from BMW, Ford, Genesis, Honda, Kia, Mazda, MINI, Suzuki, VW and Volvo, there was plenty to choose from for the PR guests, while members of the Western Group had the opportunity to catch up with cars they may not yet have driven.
Suzuki generously sponsored the event, staged for the second year in succession at the Haynes Motor Museum. Guests took advantage of an excellent selection of roads, while enjoying the museum’s impressive facilities, including access to the collection of around 400 cars and motorcycles built up by the late John Haynes.
The sun shone and the guests queued for the keys to the most popular cars, “Thanks once again for a great day out last Thursday. My first time at the event, wonderful set-up and brilliantly run!”, said Andy Benson of the Ford Press Garage. Andy was also the successful bidder for a signed England rugby shirt and ball, helping to boost the funds raised for charity, traditionally an important aspect of the day.
Western Group members Jonathan Humphrey and Mark Smyth successfully bid for a BMW and a MINI Convertible respectively. “My wife is a huge Mini fan, owning both classic and modern Minis but she misses her red convertible and when this one came up for auction it seemed like the next best thing”, said Mark.
It went better than I could have hoped for”, said Western Group Chairman John Kendall, “Several of our PR guests were experiencing the day for the first time and clearly enjoying the opportunity it gave them to drive cars from competitor brands. The facilities at the Haynes Museum suit the event very well and I would like to thank Simon Perry of IDPR for managing the day for us with his usual professionalism. We would also like to thank Alun Parry and Jess Grimditch of Suzuki for their sponsorship this year. It just ensured that the day ran smoothly. The Driving Day marks the beginning of our 40th anniversary celebrations, which will be marked with a dinner closer to the anniversary later this year.”
As usual, trophies were awarded for the most driven car of the day and the participant who drove the most cars on the day. The most driven car was the 340hp BMW Z4 M40i. The Z4 was one of several convertibles taking advantage of the good weather on the day, including a MINI convertible and Mazda MX-5. Three drivers clocked up 11 drives each, Barnaby Jones (Volvo), Len Keen (Ford) and Donovan van der Walt (Honda), but it was Andy Benson again (Ford) who took the trophy with 12 drives.
Following the success of this year’s event, the Western Group is already planning next year’s event and has secured a provisional date of Thursday 13th June 2024 at the Haynes Museum. The date has already been added to the SMMT diary.
John Kendall | WGMW Chairman