Had a brilliant day out yesterday, thought I'd share a few of the pictures and memories from the day.
We were at Aintree race track;
Aintree is well known as the venue for the world famous Grand National. But it also has a long and proud history as a motor sport venue. The 3-mile track, opened in 1954 by Earl Howe and Raymond Mays, remains Britain’s only purpose-built Grand Prix circuit and it still exists in its entirety.
Aintree staged the British Grand Prix in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962. Stirling Moss scored his first World Championship Grand Prix victory in the 1955 event at Aintree. This also marked the first occasion on which a British driver had won his home Grand Prix.
The first British driver / British car victory in a British Grand Prix was at Aintree in 1957 when Moss and Tony Brooks shared a Vanwall in an event which was also honoured with the title “Grand Prix d’Europe”. Aintree also staged a further eleven non-Championship Aintree “200” Formula One events.
I took a friend along with me and we were there as part of the Sporting Bears group.
The "Bears", as we are affectionately known, are a dedicated group of classic car and sports car enthusiasts with one primary aim - to raise money for childrens charities through our own social and touring events, and to support other charitable events.
It is to the clubs credit that annual subscriptions support the club overheads thus allowing all monies raised from events to be directed towards the selected charities. Since the Club was formed we have been very active and have raised over £800,000 for childrens charities in the UK.
The event was like nothing I'd ever been involved in, and was one of the biggest events the Sporting Bears had ever done.
8 local childrens charities were invited in two sessions (morning/afternoon) and we basically spent the entire day at our own expense taking them around the track. Obviously depending on the specific condition the children had, we either pushed it a little bit or creeped around the corners and gave them a bit of acceleration up the straights. Still, coming out of the last corner and getting on the gas was good for 120mph before having to brake. Others will have been able to get up to higher speeds but I was generally 4 up in a 635d.
Some of the kids were quite physically and mentally handicapped and some needed winches to get into the car and it was amazing to give something back and I definitely found myself with a bit of a tear in my eye on more than one occasion. The kids absolutely loved the day. Anyway, enough chat, here's some pictures.
The day started at 8am;
We lined up to get in;
Biggest spot of the day has to be the £263,000 Bentley Mulsanne that came along. A fabulous car, attention to detail that's staggering but not really my cup of tea. Bentley left the invoice on the seat, a staggering amount of money for a car!
Porsche Carrera RS;
Porsche 911 Turbo S - this thing was easily the most stunning car of the day in terms of performance and engine note. It sounded like a jet taking off. 0-60 in 2.8 seconds!!! Gave me goosepimples every single time.
The police showed up as well, brought a couple of their cars along and gave the kids blues and twos runs around the track;
We did a couple of orientation laps before being the kids arrived. I did mine behind a £220,000 Bentley Continental Supersports which is the fastest 4 seat convertible in the world and will go from nothing to 60 in around 3.5 seconds. Again, a truly staggering bit of engineering but a bit bling for my liking. Limited to 198mph when the roof is down though! I followed in a 4 seat convertible that's nowhere near the fastest in the world!
I finished my lap and watched a few of the others come past;
Interesting colour on the Gallardo Spyder;
Although the picture doesn't show it that well, the Turbo S was seriously cooking it's brakes. Smoke pouring off them after just 2 laps, but they're made for it!
We came back around and made our way to the loading area, I was a bit out of place with the Ferrari, Aston, Lambo and Porsche boys, but I was enjoying myself;
The kids arrived, and the layout of the was that you arrive at the loading area, pick up some passengers, take them around the track twice and them drop them off to pick up some more passengers.
Just a couple of pictures, these were the more able bodied and as I said before, some needed winching in, some looked from the outside to be normal healthy kids, but every single one of them had a permanent smile.
We had lunch between 1 and 2 and then the second session started with more than 70 families from Claire House arriving. There were some clearly ill kids and certainly for me, it was very emotional.
Still, for them to be shouting with excitement and putting their hands up as we accelerate up the track;
The wild horse, spotted in the wild;
The Ferrari comes around the corner behind me;
4 up in the BMW, I was never going to get away, so it got closer;
I asked my mate Tom to come along who'd not long picked up his yellow Gallardo Spyder. He arrived in the afternoon session but as you can imagine, his car was definitely in demand until the end of the day, there was a long line of people waiting for a go!
The £1/4m Bentley;
The interesting Lambo colour, personally I preferred Tom's yellow one;
I couldn't have enjoyed the day more, managed to see MPG figures down to about 6 and MPH up to about 120. Burned through a horrendous amount of fuel (I'd hate to think how much we went through between us!) and I dread to think about the brakes.
But all in all, an amazingly organised day and everyone involved did a fantastic job.
The guys at CES UK covered the cost of the track as well as laying on a brilliant lunch for the drivers as well as tea and coffee throughout the day. Audi provided water and bacon/sausage butties as breakfast and the Liverpool Motor Club provided marshals and driver induction/training etc.
Loads of volunteers at the loading area and at the various marquees and Everton sent their mascot along with some football games for the kids to take part in.
3 of the 4 big NW football clubs provided prizes for the raffle except for Man United who didn't even respond to an email.
Sorry if I missed anyone out - but well done everyone.
One final question. There must have been other PHers there but I haven't a clue if I met you, spoke to you or just shared the track with you. Hands up please!
Edit: Slightly updated the write up.