andrewnoakes32By Andrew Noakes
Guild Chairman 2016-18

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Over the past few months I’ve had a number of conversations with motor industry PRs which have underlined how they still find cuttings of journalists’ work very useful. Not bits of paper, obviously, but links to news and feature articles you’ve written, or scans of printed work. What I’ve been hearing is that many press offices have had to cut back on media monitoring as a result of budget cuts, and often found the coverage of these cuttings’ services to be patchy anyway. So cuttings supplied by journalists do an important job in informing them of coverage and demonstrating the scope and influence of a specific writer.

Some journalists are very good at regularly sending cuttings of their work to press offices to let them know about coverage. Many of us, me included, wonder where they find the time to do it. So as a response to all this we’ve introduced a new service on the Guild website to make life easier.

If you are logged in to your account you will see a Links and cuttings option in the members' area which will take you to a simple form. All you do is provide a link to your article online, or upload a PDF or a scan of it, and tick the press office(s) you want to send it to. Push the submit button and the system does the rest, automatically sending your article to the right contact at the press office and providing you with a short link to your article (starting…) which you can share with anyone or use on social media.

The form also gives you the option to update your Guild profile with the link to your article – which you need to do regularly to prove you are still eligible for membership.

andrewnoakes32By Andrew Noakes
Guild Chairman 2016-18

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Barely half an hour after I was confirmed as Guild chairman at the Annual General Meeting in May, I was on the receiving end of one member’s opinion that at Guild events you always see the same faces in attendance.

Perhaps not “always”. A few years ago Bentley hosted our AGM in Crewe, and in addition to the stalwarts who can usually be relied on to turn out the event did attract members who were pleased they could attend because the north of England venue was convenient for them. Just a few weeks ago, at our spectacularly successful Big Day Out track day at Castle Combe, there were plenty of less familiar faces among the regulars (and more than a few non-members).

Moving set-piece events like the AGM around the country helps to give more Guild members the chance to attend, and your committee is already cooking up plans for new types of event aimed at a wider range of members’ interests.

But can we do more to ensure the widest possible participation in Guild events? Your ideas are welcome.

andrewnoakes32By Andrew Noakes
Guild Deputy Chairman

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As we waited at Dover for the P&O ferry that would take us to France to begin the 2015 Guild Euro Classic, organiser Paul Harris appeared with rally plates and information packs for all the participants. We all knew he hadn’t been well, and someone asked how he was. “I’ll survive the weekend,” he said, with a rye smile.

What a weekend it proved to be. Some stunning cars, a warm welcome wherever we went, magnificent Champagne scenery, and the odd goblet of the local product, all enjoyed in a convivial atmosphere.

And there, at every location we visited, were Paul and Ann in their white ur-quattro, making sure everything was running smoothly and everyone knew where they had to be. Ferry, road routes, hotel, food, parking spots. In Epernay, a formal procession of the cars through the town which Paul briefed the drivers about (above) with military precision. There were excursions and notes about places of interest along the route, even a quiz at the end – it was all organised faultlessly, and that was largely down to the immense effort Paul put into it. The ‘Classic’ was a huge success.

When Paul said he’d see out the weekend we all chuckled politely at the joke, but there was more truth in what he’d said than any of us wanted to admit. His battle with cancer had taken it’s toll, and the trip to France couldn’t have been easy. Just hours after we all got back, Paul was taken seriously ill and admitted to hospital.

He died yesterday.

Those of us who knew Paul as a friend or a colleague will remember his unflappable dignity and unfailing politeness, the determination to do things right, but also to have fun doing them. He did all of that right to the end.

jasoncraig 32 0384by Jason Craig
Guild Associate member and 2012 MSA Motor Sport Journalist of the Year

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Some people say papers and broadcasters are only interested in motorsport when things go wrong – like the terrible loss of rally driver Simon McKinley at this weekend's Clare Motor Club hillclimb.

But there was good news this weekend too. At Rally Argentina Kris Meeke became the first British driver to win a round of the World Rally Championship in more than a decade. Ironically, the last person to do that was his mentor Colin McRae, back in 2002.

I am hoping the events in Argentina might be a force for good, not just for Citroën driver  Meeke and his co-driver Paul Nagle (celebrating above), but the British and Irish press as a whole.


Meeke wins for McRae

“Everything was fine until we got the end of the last stage. Once we had crossed the line, I was overcome with emotions. It’ll take time for it to really sink in. I didn’t start the rally aiming to fight for the win. I just wanted to have an error-free rally. The seven-week break really helped me. From the shakedown onwards, I felt full of confidence. It was a really difficult race but the DS 3 WRC is a solid and reliable car. All the other guys had problems and we secured a one-two finish. Mads had a fantastic rally as well. I have to thank Yves Matton, who believed in me. He gave me a great opportunity and he has been supportive throughout. This is just the first step in me thanking him for that support. I hope there will be others. This one is for Colin McRae.”  

Lots of positive things have already been reported and said about Meeke’s maiden victory, but the one that stood out for me was made by the man of the moment. Asked at the post-event press conference how he felt after years of trying, the Ulsterman said: “I feel like a 21-year-old again.” And just in case you were wondering, Meeke is actually a happily married 35-year-old.

The significance of the comment is that winning has rejuvenated Meeke and his love for a sport that has been less than kind to him. Going by the news feeds that followed his popular win on Sunday afternoon it’s having the same effect on the media.

Argentina was truly memorable for British motorsport because as Meeke celebrated on the top step of the podium with a tear in his eye, the young Welshman Elfyn Evans was beside him. The M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver secured his first ever top-three finish in the series in South America.

New Zealand ’01 was the last time a pair of Brits shared the podium. Good things come in twos.

On the back of these fantastic achievements my hope now is that the national press has turned a corner as far as their interests in rallying go.

andrewnoakes32by Andrew Noakes
Guild website editor

150405 websiteSharp eyes will spot the new layout of the home page, but that's just one part of an extensive upgrade of the Guild website in recent weeks.

Behind the scenes the content management system running the site has been updated to the latest version, and there's a new database engine – both of which will make the new version of the Guild member list work more reliably.

Talking of that member list, we've made it easier for members to choose which information is made public and which is available only to other members when they're signed in (which then forms their entry in the Year Book).

Elsewhere there are plenty of other improvements, including:

  • image zoom – click an image for a pop-up larger version on many pages (here's an example)
  • upgraded site search with instant results
  • responsive layout which adapts to different screen sizes
  • updates and more information on Guild events and awards
  • a page on the Guild's history
  • improved navigation with new menus, 'See also' panels on articles and an all-sections sitemap
  • login with username or email address, and better handling of lost username and/or password
  • tidier error handling with a custom 404 page
  • easier links to the Guild's social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and Flickr
  • archives of the Update newsletter and Newsbriefs emails in the password-protected members' area
  • new contact form making it easier to contact the right person at the Guild

We're keen to hear feedback on the revised site – from Guild members and non-members – so if you have any views please let me have them via the new contact form or by email to .