Support and sun turned DD2016 into one of the best on record.

The annual Western Group Driving Day at Castle Combe saw 40 exotic and every-day cars put through their paces on road or track by over 80 PRs and group members. 

Highlights of the day was a special award of an inscribed Bristol Blue Glass goblet given by The Western Group of Motoring Writers to long time supporter Janet Wilkinson, MBE (below) and the latest Friend of the Group, and the auction of a rare England Euro Squad shirt signed by the players and donated by Vauxhall’s Denis Chick which raised £250 for charity and was bought by our own Melissa Terry

The event was kick-started with sponsorship from Newspress, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi while ID-PR also stepped in with support and their vehicle and crew scanning system to keep track of everything.

The familiar checking in, day’s outline and briefings were quickly underway and the members had a steady stream of clients for the keys. Sustained by refreshments and a BBQ lunch from the Tavern team, the participants eased into the afternoon.

The exotic cars had a steady stream of booked drives and the track marshals and members on the gate had a constant flow of cars past them throughout the day even when the circuit was closed for lunch.

Honorary member Alyson Marlow created a rota which helped with covering the vital jobs of the day and was given a bouquet by the members for her work and which will continue as she scoops up the remaining entry fees over the next few weeks.

Maxine ‘The enforcer’ Ashford collected for the usual raffle, including donations on the day from the Tavern Team and a long-weekend in a BMW  of choice from the BMW press office. Kim ‘Hardman’ Henson tested participants with their general knowledge of the industry and its models over the years. 

Max and Kim’s efforts raised over £450 and with £250 from the shirt auction, the event will ensure charities benefit when the group decides on recipients, and the beneficiaries will be published in due course.

Despite supporting the day with cars and donating the soccer shirt, Vauxhall’s Denis Chick was too busy working to enjoy driving and his self-less contribution was marked with an award from the group, but he also showed his industry knowledge and picked up the prize in the Henson Historic quiz. 

His colleague, Simon Hucknall, applied himself as usual and this year went home with the Track Driver of the Day award.

The award for the most driven car on the circuit went to the Porsche 911 and thanks to the very detailed reporting made possible with the ID-PR system, a new award this year was for the Marque of the Day, now resting in the press office of Aston Martin who brought along two models which were heavily subscribed.

The PR of the Day 2016 for the most drives went to Gary Cuthbert, who left with a pile of goodies he will share with his Ford colleagues. Car of the Day 2016 was the Honda Civic Type R GT, a worthy achievement for one of the group’s most consistent supporters.

Western Group chairman Robin Roberts thanked participants for supporting the event and said, “The Western Group Driving Day has been successful over four decades because it meets a need no other event provides for PRs to drive and network in a unique manner and atmosphere.

“The Western Group enjoy putting it on and we know from feedback that the PRs in our industry regard it as a highlight of their year.”

The chairman added that the DD2017 organisers are already planning what may be included in the next event and details will be published in due course.

© Images of the day are available from ji*@ja*******.com

Thanks for making DD2016 one of the best – now for DD2017

Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts

Robin is the longest serving chairman of The Western Group. He’s been vice chairman or chairman for over ten years and oversees the annual Western Group PR Driving Day each summer assisted by the group committee and supported by group members.

He contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.

Robin specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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