The FELLOWSHIP’s Annual Midlands Lunch was held once again this year at the British Motor Museum on Wednesday 24 April 2019.
Newly elected Chairman Brian Spratt welcomed all Fellows and their guests and said how pleased he was that the lunch was being held once again in the rooftop Kestrel restaurant where up until four years ago the lunch was always held. He thanked the event organiser Julie Jennings and her assistant Margaret Timms for their hard work in ensuring that the lunch was such a great success with so many Fellows and their guests attending.
After lunch Brian introduced our guest speaker, Fellow Chris Aylett, the CEO of the Motor Sport Industry Association.
Chris began his career as a sportscar driver, eventually becoming a team owner and race promotor; while also building an international sporting goods distribution group. He has been Chief Executive of the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) since 1998 which has become the leading business network for this global industry, with nearly 350 companies in membership. Worldwide membership now includes F1, World Rally and US teams, major promoters, leading manufacturers, circuit operators, and service providers.
Chris began by explaining how ‘Motorsport Valley’ in the UK came about. After World War II, Britain had many automobile manufacturers. Each had an R&D department whose engineers regularly relied on their motorsport department to test new ideas on track at weekends before applying these developments to cars. As these many firms began to close down or merged, the UK was left with a superb resource of R&D based engineers who loved competition and motorsport and turned their talent to building cars.
Chris explained the importance of Motorsport valley in global terms and as an example explained that no NASCAR race anywhere in the world is held without using British made components
Over the years Motorsport Valley has built up an enviable reputation within the motorsport world and a strong base of education within the UK, with 15 universities and over 200 colleges teaching motorsport throughout the country so preserving the future of these skills.
He went on to say that we are facing the most confusing technological future that the industry has ever experienced. He added that in order to meet these challenges Motorsport Valley has more energy efficient engineers than any other national Motorsport Valley.
As an aside, talking about battery life he pointed out that currently politicians seem to have a shorter life than a battery!
Chris was an outstanding speaker who entertained and informed us in a splendid manner that was appreciated by everyone present.
After lunch FELLOWSHIP President Peter Lewis-Jones conducted what has now become the traditional game of Heads & Tails. After a closely run contest it was won by Tom Douglas, who very generously donated £435 from his winnings of £930. The Fellowship’s charity account therefore benefited to an amount of £1,365.