Over 60 PRs, nearly 50 cars and for the first time, motorbikes as well, took part in this year’s DD2019, organised by thewesterngroup. 

The unique and familiar one-day Driving Day at Castle Combe Circuit, near Chippenham has been running over four decades and still manages to be fresh and friendly.

Turning the tables on the industry so the Western Group of Motoring Writers host PRs in the automotive industry, they brought along some of their latest models for evaluation and enjoyment. 

One of the highlights of DD2019 was the presentation of two cheques(above), each for £450, to WOMAC ambassador Janet Wilkinson and the group’s nominated charity for the year, Ty Hafan, and Lauren Sadler, senior fundraiser, gratefully received that on behalf of the children’s hospice in South Wales.

The on-day raffle thanks to generosity of PR departments unloading their goodies cupboards saw over £350 raised and when added to by auctioned lots it passed £400. We hope to be topping it up with other money as received.

There was a predicted quiz winner, Denis Chick, whose encyclopedic knowledge brought him more success and we wonder if there is anyone ever going to be able to beat him but it’s also made quizmaster Kim Henson determined to test Denis to the utmost and raise more money for the group’s charity.

Thewesterngroup this year decided to ask Honda if they would provide motorbikes for evaluation and their take-up was encouraging for both the CBT taster course in the paddock as well as on road riding and they justly deserved The Newcomer’s Award from the group.

The ID-PR system for recording drivers and cars was faultless and provided continuous tracking of what was being used on the circuit and the road, except when a certain PR forgot to return keys and kept a number of anxious group members and frustrated drivers waiting. 

The continuous nature of the event kept the group’s keyboard crew on their toes all day with a road route but they had slight relief when the circuit closed for lunch and the track marshals were able to relax a bit, although fortunately this year there were no incidents which needed rescue or recovery. 

After a busy day and very popular cars being in high demand including the McLaren and BMW 8 Series convertible, hot Honda and Toyota models, the honour for Car of the Day was handed to Chris Overall, of BMW.

There was a very keen fight for the PR of the Day Award and the main Bristol Blue Glass goblet that went again to Ford’s Gary Cuthbert, his fifth title at the event. 

WGMW chairman Robin Roberts said afterwards, “The Group is very grateful to Kia Motors UK for organising their driving day for our members on the eve of our own event for the industry and once again, teamwork and enthusiasm paid off and thewesterngroup driving day was an unqualified success.

“The group once again appreciates the support shown by our colleagues in the PR departments and I know many consider it the best day of their professional year as it gives a unique opportunity to benchmark models against their own.

“It is also a rare and relaxed atmosphere in which to network and simply catch up with friends in the industry and thewesterngroup.”

Charities will also benefit from the funds raised through the drivers’ and group’s generosity and details about next year’s DD2020 event will be released when finalised, he added.

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 WheelsWithinWales.uk which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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