In three months time, The Western Group Annual PR Driving Day on 5 June will take on a new look, writes Robin Roberts.

For the first time, a small range of motorcycles will be included and available to test ride and those without riding licences will be able to sample them.

Honda, which has been a s signature supporter of the driving days for a number of years, is bringing along a selection of two-wheelers and will be offering pillion rides to those who don’t hold licences but want to experience the thrill of riding on a modern motorbike behind a highly experienced advanced rider.

In addition, if you have ever wondered what it takes to get on the road, Honda is also laying out a test area adjacent to the paddock where it will simulate the slow speed handling section of Compulsory Basic Training, which all new riders must undertake before they can pass a test.

If you are a PR and have the right licence, there will also be motorcycles you can use on a road route around venue at Castle Combe Circuit, just as you do with the cars which will be there in greater numbers this year.

Honda is bringing along a range of helmets and riding clothing but if you have your own and want to experience modern motorcycles then please pack your kit for the this unforgettable event in the PR calendar.

Nearly 30 PRs have taken advantage of the discounted registration fee this year and already signed up to attend before 25 February but you can still come if you register using your details from last year or contact Simon Perry at IDPR to request new log-in permissions. 

The Driving Day team within thewesterngroup has been working very hard to make this year’s event one of the best ever attended and initial indications are it will have the widest range of models to sample on 5 June, both on track and on the country roads surrounding the venue. 

John Haynes: A Tribute by Kim Henson

The “father” of workshop manuals, John Haynes, died last month and his passing generated a lot of tributes on social media and in the motoring press.

John Haynes helped so many ‘ordinary’ motorists to keep their cars on the road while saving cash in so doing with his enormous range of easy to understand, straightforward workshop manuals.

Each was based on a  full strip-down and rebuild of each vehicle covered at the Haynes International Motor Museum outside Yeovil; a huge task in terms of hours and effort.

It was always heartening to me that, for example, the manuals would try to help the average owner get around a problem without the use of a manufacturer’s ‘special tool’, where possible/safe.

He was a motoring enthusiast, he had a flair for, and understanding of, the technical aspects of vehicles, he was a true entrepreur – in setting up the well-respected Haynes Publishing concern, also he was affable and always keen to converse with readers of his manuals and visitors to his superb museum (and was often seen lunching amongst them in the restaurant there). 

One of his greatest achievements, enacted over many years, was to make a point of having his workshop manuals written in such a way that ‘normal’ everyday people could understand the various steps, but without talking down to them, and also encouraging them in terms of finding straightforward ways round difficult mechanical problems. So many people (myself included) have found Haynes manuals invaluable during working sessions on ‘reluctant’ vehicles.

John Haynes was an enthusiast as well as an entrepreneur, and was always happy to chat with visitors to the Museum, etc.

There is a very fulsome tribute to John Haynes written by WGMW member Kim Henson and it can be read on the link above.

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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