January means one thing to many people in the world of motor sport; time in Birmingham for Autosport International.
2017 was no exception for me but for the first time I was running the Autosolo for Go Motorsport. Held outside between the halls and car parks, it is a chance for members of the public to experience club, grassroots motor sport for free on their way in (or out of) the show. There is the saying “there is no such thing as being too cold, only inappropriately attired” however having only been back in the UK for a handful of days after over two weeks in Thailand, it was always going to take a little acclimatising.
Wednesday morning meant a fairly early start to the NEC for setup where various members of the development team and a local motor club volunteer converged. Setup was completed in good time on a windy Wednesday and so it was time to head to Southampton for the first leg of the League Cup semi final (which I’m pleased to say Saints won 1-0!). After grabbing a few hours sleep, finally the true day one of the show arrived.
The support from motor club volunteers for the Autosolo has always been superb and this year was no exception. Some new faces were present but so too were many people who turn up year in year out. When I sent out the invitation for drivers and volunters, some days were fully subscribed in only a handful of days leading to the reserve list being opened sooner than I anticpated.
Thursday morning was busy, the West Suffolk Motor Club trailer (kindly donated for the duration of the event) arrived and once set up it was time to sign on the army of volunteer drivers and officials. Whilst the Thursday and Friday of the show are trade days, we welcomed over 250 visitors over the first two days and even the snow, sleet and ice did not put anyone off.
The weekend days saw things get busier still. Over 300 people on Saturday was truly beaten by the Sunday figures with over 400 people being introduced to motor sport, and all for free. In total over the weekend, over 1000 individuals enjoyed over 1600 passenger rides. Supported by a team of over 80 volunteers from 29 motor clubs, Go Motorsport RDOs and a number of MSA staff, the event ran safely and successfully. Thank you again to all involved.
If you would like to find out more about getting involved in motor sport, head to http://www.gomotorsport.net where you can find out more about the many competing and volunteering opportunities, and you can also find your local motor club.