The weekend saw a unique event at Silverstone, a first literary and art festival dedicated to the automotive sector, writes Guild member Ian Wagstaff. The man behind the venture was Guild member Philip Porter who, with his team at Porter Press International, put together a most professional and impressive happening.

The Guild was an Event Partner with a number of other members involved in the running of the weekend including John Brooks, Mark Cole, Ben Edwards, Andrew Marriott, Andrew Noakes, James Page, Martin Port, Steve Rendle and Ian Wagstaff.

Ben Edwards hands out the microphones to (left to right) Tony Southgate, Howden Ganley and Mike Pilbeam (© Ian Wagstaff)

A wide variety of publishers and artists took stands in Silverstone’s Wing complex with an array of cars – including, thanks to Girado & Co, the 1963 and 1964 Le Mans winning Ferrari 275P/250P – downstairs in the pit garages.

Three ‘theatres’ hosted a regular stream of talks featuring such as Gary Anderson, Ian Callum, Peter Stevens, Lord Hesketh, Tony Southgate, Mike Pilbeam and former Grand Prix drivers Jackie Oliver, Howden Ganley, John Watson and Karun Chandhok.

Andrew Noakes’ automotive journalism students from Coventry University also assisted in the management of the talks.

As Philip says, there are many literary festivals out there but this was the first dedicated to the world of motoring. The feedback from visitors the following day was particularly positive, one commenting on the damage done to their credit card by the number of books on sale [including Ian’s own title, ‘Formula 1’s Unsung Pioneers’, pictured here – Ed].

Guild member Steve Rendle (right) with publisher Eric Verdon-Roe (© Ian Wagstaff)

There was also much meeting of old and new contacts, not always the most obvious. Where else was one likely to see Donald Campbell’s grandson Don Wales in conversation with such as artist, and Guild member, Michael Turner or with Formula 1 designer Pat Symonds.?

Perhaps the best way to sum up the weekend would be to quote Roger Spurr’s comment on Facebook: ‘Brilliant day after digging my car out of the snow in Derbyshire!

‘The GT40 and BRM talks were fresh and educating. Stallholders and artists very chatty and a nice selection of metal on the ground floor to take up any spare minutes. Not that many fanatics attended and those that dithered over spending a few quid missed a treat and should make it a diary date for next year.

‘Well done Porter Press, hope to see you in 2024.’

Main image: Ian Wagstaff (right) hosts a talk by racing driver Ian Flux (© Mark Lee-sing)

The Guild is pleased to confirm it has been named an official partner of the Motoring Literary & Art Festival, which will be held at The Wing, Silverstone Circuit on 2nd-3rd December.

The Guild will help promote the Festival, organised by Guild member Philip Porter, and keep members updated with the latest news and opportunities at the event, which is the first of its kind. 

Devoted to motoring books, magazines, art and automobilia, the event follows grand literary festival tradition built around a programme of interesting and entertaining panel discussions and talks.

There will also be an exhibition of specialists and a selection of star cars.

A host of personalities have been signed up to appear in the three theatres at the Festival, including 10 top racing drivers, six designers, 14 authors, five leading industry figures and an exhibitor list already numbering over 40.  

So far, seven Guild members are directly involved in the event, with several more potentially joining the line-up. 

The Guild will be there too, and members are welcome to come and join us on either or both days, or follow us on social media for more.

For more information on the Motoring Literary & Art Festival 2023, go to the Festival’s website.

Photo above shows Lord Hesketh, a guest at the Festival, in conversation with Philip Porter. Photo by Gary Harman

This week (writes Guild Committee member Jim McGill) I should have completed Mazda’s latest annual Epic Drive, this year travelling 1100kms in 36 hours through the Atlas Mountains. Not surprisingly, the devastating earthquake in Morocco at 11.11pm last Friday meant the event was swiftly cancelled on Saturday morning.

While, however, we all read the news and watched the images as the death toll rose dramatically, from 290 early on Saturday morning to close to 3,000 as I write this, Mazda UK PR Director Graeme Fudge and the rest of the Mazda events crew were doing what they could to help those in need in the villages devastated by the earthquake. 

I spoke with Graeme on Monday (11th Sept) after he had returned to the Mazda base in Marrakech following two days in the mountains. Here he describes first-hand the moment the earthquake hit, followed by the work the team found themselves doing helping the impacted areas and some of the scenes he witnessed.

“I’m a bit knackered after the past two days. On Friday night we were in a restaurant on the third floor of a building in Marrakech. It was around ten past 11, and it just felt like a large steamroller was going past the building – everything started shaking; everything on the table was bouncing up and down. Everybody in the restaurant just legged it and at that point we realised it was probably something more than a steamroller. 

All of us then evacuated the restaurant and stood out in the street with everyone else for about half-an-hour until we realised “okay, the building’s not going to fall down”. So I went in and paid the bill — which they were very grateful for — and then quite literally we went back to the hotel, which was still standing, and went to bed.

On the way back to the hotel, we did see some damage. There was a mosque on which the minaret had come down at the entrance to the souk and a bit of damage inside the souk. On the main mosque, in the square, there was quite a bit of rubble where obviously a wall had collapsed. But to be honest, the damage in Marrakech was absolutely minimal compared to what we then witnessed in other places we visited over the next two days. 

It wasn’t until the next morning when we saw the headlines and realised what hadn’t actually felt a particularly bad quake the night before — it lasted for exactly 44 seconds — had already killed at least 290 people. We also then knew that a couple of the towns in the mountains were deep under rubble, with people trapped and desperately in need of help.

We decided that, as we had a paramedic with us and many of the towns and villages which had been impacted didn’t have any emergency services and were in desperate need of water, we would go up into the mountains and offer what assistance we could.

The paramedic and I jumped in a car at around 9am, and with Keith, Mark, Daz and Steve in other cars we headed up to the first village, Ouirgane. When we got there it was very obvious that the things they needed were medical aid, water and food. We had a load of water with us, but unfortunately not food.

So we started handing out water — we had 380 bottles in the back of the car — and that went really quickly; probably in around five minutes. There was somebody from the town who was obviously co-ordinating efforts from a villager point of view. He started pointing us in the right direction to where the water was needed most urgently. 

The paramedic, also named Graeme, made himself known to the villager and within minutes he was being asked to help people. 

Paramedic Graeme at work helping injured villagers

The scale of the tragedy was demonstrated by the first person Graeme assisted; he had a suspected fractured skull and was advised to go to hospital, but was refusing as his family were still under the rubble and he did not want to leave them. Sadly they did not survive.

The guy in the village then took us to multiple locations where people needed help and Graeme did what he could. Mostly it was walking wounded – there were some really nasty lacerations, a guy with a badly damaged foot, while another’s arm had opened up where he’d been hit by falling debris. Another had chest wounds and there were a lot of head wounds, things like that. 

Realising there was a massive need for water, we sent Keith and the guys back into town to bring more water up and hand it out. By this point the villagers had started to co-ordinate themselves into something resembling managed chaos and we started to get the water to people who needed it as opposed to those who were just being opportunistic in getting water for free. We were up there until probably seven on the Saturday evening just doing what we could – we’d been on-site since about 10am.

Having come back down, we then decided that actually more help was required. I texted Jeremy (Thomson, Mazda UK MD) to say “look, tomorrow I’m going to spend a load of money to buy water and food to take to the stricken villages in the mountains”. 

He got hold of Martijan (ten Brink), our European President, to ask “is this okay?”, and was told, “definitely; spend what you need, within reason, and take it up there”.

Paramedic Graeme at work helping injured villagers

I think we spent £1000 on water the following day. We filled up three CX-5s, two pick-ups and a Land Cruiser and headed back up to the village we’d been in the day before. When we arrived, the same guy who had been co-ordinating with us on the Saturday jumped into one of the CX-5s just to make sure the water was going to the right people.

Then we were asked if we could get the rest of the water in the two pick-ups and the Land Cruiser up to a helicopter supply point in the mountains. We were sent off to this village called Talat N’Yaaqoub, which had been cut off the day before. 

They had managed to open up the road — this was, in fact, the route we were going to use on the Epic Drive but was now very different to what it had been a few days previous when we last drove it. There had been massive landslides along its length. 

It was only a single-track road for most of it, so we ended up getting stuck when other vehicles were coming in the opposite direction.

The sides of the mountains were still unstable – when we were stopped and looked up you could still see rocks and scree coming down. In one location they had cut through what had been an avalanche/rockfall, but they’d essentially left a wall of the avalanche: it was probably 15 feet high. That’s when I thought, “I really don’t want to be sitting here”.

There was a Mercedes MPV which had been taken out by a rockslide just about half-an-hour before we got there. Thankfully the occupants had got out safely. There was also a Dacia Duster which had been completely pulverised under the avalanche. 

This Dacia Duster stood no chance under tons of falling rock

We finally got up to this village, which was right at the epicentre of the quake and was completely flat – there’s no other way to describe it. There wasn’t a single building left standing. People’s homes, businesses and livelihoods had been taken from them in 44 seconds. It was a really lovely village, and standing on the hill as you approached it had been a 200 to 300-year-old fort. That had completely gone. 

Once we got to the village, we were trying to locate the helicopter supply point, but we couldn’t find it. So we started giving out water to people who obviously needed it, particularly the rescuers. There were a lot of people still looking for bodies and survivors in the rubble. 

Two- and three-storey buildings were now less than a storey high. We could see mattresses sticking out from the side of what had been bedrooms where the flat roof had just collapsed downwards. 

Rescue teams from Turkey, France and the Moroccan army had by now arrived in the town and the townspeople were getting the help and support they needed. They had running water in the village, but it was just one single standpipe. So they were actually quite grateful for bottled water to be able to give to the people working, and then they could refill the bottles themselves.

Then a guy came along and said he was going up to a couple of the villages which were inaccessible by car and asked if he could take some of the water. So we gave him half the water we had to take to the even more remote villages. We gave the kids some sweets and crisps, and then I thought that us staying here now was just getting in the way, so we decided to head back.

Returning to Marrakech was an adventure in itself. This road now being open, every man and his dog were trying to drive along it. At one point I was sitting underneath an overhanging rock which didn’t look particularly stable, with two large army trucks rumbling past very slowly and a drop of about 500ft next to me. I was thinking, “maybe my judgement is a little questionable here”. 

Worrying moments meeting heavy trucks on a narrow, unstable road

We made it back, the whole round trip on the Sunday having taken about 11 hours. The first bit of it to the first village had taken an hour, the last 35kms out to the second village, and 35 back, nearer 10 hours. 

It was pure devastation and very sad to see. We did what we could, however small that contribution was.” 

(Mazda UK PR Director Graeme Fudge was speaking to Jim McGill)

Entries are now open for the 2023 Guild of Motoring Writers Awards, with the winners set to be presented with their awards during a black-tie dinner held at the Royal Automobile Club in December.

The period for submitting entries will last until midnight on Friday 30th September and, following judging, finalists will be announced in November. Work published between 1st October 2022 and 30th September 2023 will be eligible for consideration.

The awards presentation will be held at its traditional home of the Royal Automobile Club on 7th December, during the Guild’s Annual Dinner, which always features leading figures in automotive journalism and the industry.

With the exception of the RAC EV Journalist of the Year, Guild judges will select from up to three submissions per entry, with the best single piece of work from three entrants selected to make up the finalists of each category. Please note RAC EV Journalist of the Year entrants are limited to just one submission.

Books only are eligible to be entered into the Suzuki Award for the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy. The closing date for entries is Monday, 2nd October 2023. An individual piece of material (such as a story or feature) can only be submitted into one category.

The awards are listed in detail below – regular entrants will notice that this list does not currently include the Photographic Awards or the Business Publication Award, for which sponsorship is still being sought. Guild Chair Simon Harris commented; “We are extremely appreciative of all the companies that have sponsored our 2023 awards, and it’s gratifying that they recognise the importance of these prestigious accolades as high points in the careers of the winners.

“Sadly, it is not possible for awards to run without sponsorship, and we are working tirelessly to ensure we can secure backing for the Photographic Awards and Business Publication Award in 2023.

“There is a huge breadth of talent among automotive photographers, and the judges are presented with an extremely difficult task each year in selecting the winners. Likewise, business publications contain some of the highest quality automotive journalism, with unrivalled knowledge and expertise in the various elements of the car industry that support manufacturers in their quests for sales.

“We hope to secure sponsorship for these awards very soon, as it’s vital that the best in these sectors are also allowed their chance to shine.” 

Full details on all the award categories, prize money and an entry form are on the Guild Awards page of the website.

Candidates are advised to read the online instructions carefully before entering. If you have any questions about the entry procedure contact Honorary Secretary, Richard Netherwood.

The awards categories and criteria are as follows:

AA Campaigning for Motoring Award
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus trophy

This award merges the AA’s previous Campaigning Journalism and Safety awards. The scope of this category is wide and entries should focus on how their writing advances campaigns that impact motorists.

From road safety to electric vehicles, or roads maintenance to environmental issues, we want to see examples of how entrants have built and delivered their case to improve the lives of all road users. The judges will be looking for a piece of writing that provokes, challenges or encourages real change among authorities, car makers and road-users in general.

Judges are also looking for writing that shows depth of passion and commitment to improve the roads for all regardless of whether they are inside or outside a vehicle.

BCA Feature Writer of the Year
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus trophy

For the best general feature (not regular column) dealing with any aspect of the motoring scene by a Guild member. The judges are looking for a feature that takes a fresh or novel approach to a topic and one which demonstrates well-researched material that is both entertaining and informative. Candidates are required to enter just one feature for consideration.

Bentley Editor of the Year
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus tr

First presented in 2010 this award goes to the editor who demonstrates they have balanced the demands of publishers and readers while nurturing journalistic talent and successfully making the critical decisions that turn a good publication into a great one. 

The judges are looking for strong leadership, innovations in the approach to editing and a keen understanding of the target audience and their requirements as well as supporting the development of their staff.

Footman James Classic Writer of the Year
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus trophy

Presented to the journalist offering the best example of an article or feature (but not books) reporting on the world of classic vehicles of any age. Entries should demonstrate an extensive knowledge of the subject and an interest in promoting the cause of classic motoring, whether it be cars, motorcycles or commercial vehicles. 

The judges will be looking for material which shows a genuine enthusiasm for the subject and that is both engaging and informative for the reader.

Genesis Award for Automotive Technology Journalism
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus tr

Recognising engineering excellence for technical audiences, the judges are looking for an ability to write features that are valued by specialists in the subject, yet which are also interesting and easily accessible to non-specialists.

Iveco Industrial Commercial Vehicle Writer of the Year
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus trophy

This award is presented for features that best represent the world of commercial vehicles. These can either be on the latest innovations in vehicle technology or innovative use of commercial vehicles in day-to-day business. The judges are looking for a fresh and interesting approach to the subject.

Sue Baker Journalist of the Year sponsored by loop
Open to members and non-members
£500 plus trophy

This flagship award is supported by loop, a specialist automotive PR and communications agency. In 2019 a new format was introduced making this an award for the ‘best of the best’ – the judging panel reviews the entries of all the category winners to select the most outstanding performer.

Prodrive Motorsport Cup
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus tro

The award recognises an outstanding achievement by a Guild member in the world of motorsport either writing about or competing in motorsport at any level.

Prova PR Business Writer of the Year
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus trop

This award recognises excellence among Guild members who work in business media, both print and online. Judges will be looking for clarity of writing and well-researched articles that help readers understand the complexities of the business side of the UK auto industry from a retail, fleet or manufacturing perspective.

RAC EV Journalist of the Year
Open to Guild members only
£500 plus tr

For the most outstanding example of electric vehicle (EV) journalism by a Guild member. Entrants are asked to submit just one article for this award. The judges will be looking for an informative, innovative and entertaining article related to the use of EVs.

We classify an EV as a vehicle where power to the wheels is provided by one or more electric motors, using electricity generated on or off the vehicle.

Suzuki Award for the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy
Open to Guild members and non-members
1st £500 and two years’ free Guild membership
2nd £200 and one year’s free Guild membership
3rd £100 and one year’s free Guild member

This award, open to Guild and non-Guild members, is presented to the person judged to have made the greatest contribution to recording, in the English language, the history of motoring or motorcycling in books.

GOMW MICA Young PR Professional of the Year Award sponsored by Meridian Audio

Open to those under 30, the award looks for the best examples of performance, professionalism and practice in automotive PR. 

As well as the above awards there will also be presentations for the Driver of the Year, Rider of the Year, Outstanding Achievement in Motorsport, The Guild of Motoring Writers’ Special Commendation sponsored by Kia, the Pemberton Trophy and the President’s Trophy.

Microcars and the story of British vehicles will be the theme for this year’s Guild Bring Your Own Vehicle Day, which will be held on Saturday 7th October

The annual event, which sees members using their own cars to stop off at sites of automotive interest and enjoying a scenic drive in between, will start at the Bubblecar Museum, near Boston, Lincolnshire, and, following a tour, drive to the Great British Car Journey in Derbyshire. 

The plan is to arrive at the Great British Car Journey in time for lunch, while members will also hear from Richard Usher, the museum’s CEO. 

Members interested in attending are asked to save the date, and request a booking form from Guild Chair Simon Harris.

Estimated price is £20 per person, with exact details to be confirmed soon. 

When Guild General Secretary Melissa Chadderton forwarded to News Briefs editor Andrew Charman a letter from Thomas O’Connor, seeking help tracing the provenance of a badge in his possession, both of us thought it looked oddly familiar but couldn’t recall where we’d seen it before.

Where became obvious as soon as we published the story in the 5th August edition of News Briefs – it adorns the front of the Guild’s Driver of the Year trophy!

The badge can clearly be seen in the picture above from the 2018 awards, recipient Billy Monger with then Guild Chair Richard Aucock and the late Paddy Hopkirk.

However the mystery of where the badge originally came from remains unsolved. While we can’t be sure how long it has been on the Guild trophy it goes back a long way – committee member Andrew Noakes forwarded a link to a picture of Juan-Manuel Fangio receiving the same trophy in 1957 together with a theory that perhaps the winner was once given a medallion in the same style to keep.

Immediately after the presentation evening the original trophy goes straight back into its display cabinet, today housed at the National Motor Museum.

Adding credence to this theory is the Guild’s former Hon Secretary Chris Adamson, who recalled that a batch of replicas of the large trophy using the badge design were made for the Guild, he thinks by Bentley, and presented to the Driver of the Year to keep each year until we ran out of them.

“(I have) no idea where the original design for the trophy came from, it was well before my time and if smaller versions were made, it could be the smaller badge was the inspiration for the main trophy,” Chris added. So the mystery continues…  

Guild member and Daily Mail motoring editor Ray Massey, who has been covering the motor industry for the title for nearly three decades, has now officially been confirmed as the newspaper’s longest serving motoring correspondent since the Mail itself was founded in 1896.

Ray took over the Daily Mail motoring role in 1995, after five years as the newspaper’s education correspondent, combining the role between 2000 and 2015 with rail and aviation when he was transport editor.

He succeeded his immediate predecessor Michael Kemp (who held the post at the Mail from 1971) in a line of illustrious correspondents going back to 1896 whose number included (in the 1930s) land speed record holder Sir Malcolm Campbell.

Ray said: “The Daily Mail was launched in 1896, at the very dawn of the original motoring revolution, and has been a champion of the motorist ever since.

“It’s my privilege to be reporting on the key issues facing drivers, families and consumers today as we enter a new 21st century mobility revolution – the drive to electrification – along with all the benefits and challenges that this presents, not least the shortage of charging points and the seemingly endless war on the motorist by some of those in power.

“And rest assured, despite a lifetime of motoring up to this point, there’s still plenty of tread left on my tyres for many miles more to come.”

The roll call of Mail motoring correspondents includes several Guild members, including 1954 chair Courtenay Edwards.

Mail motoring correspondents through the decades

  • Major C.G. Matson: 1905 to 1907
  • John Prioleau: 1911 ­to circa 1920-22
  • Jack Frost: 1931
  • Roger Fuller: 1932
  • Sir Malcolm Campbell, Motoring Editor:  September 4, 1931 to circa 1937
  • W.A. McKenzie: circa 1936 to 1940 and 1945 to 1947
  • F.J.C. Pignon: 1940 to 1944
  • Courtenay Edwards: 1948 to 1960
  • Denis Holmes: 1960 to 1967
  • Brian Groves: 1968 to 1971
  • Michael Kemp: 1971 to 1995 
  • Ray Massey: 1995 –

Entries are open for the 2023 Guild Classic, which will take on the splendid roads around the spectacular scenery of North Wales.

Base for the event, running from Friday 15th to Monday 18th September, will be the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, near Llanwddyn, and participants will have a variety of activities available over the weekend.

Participants will enter their classic cars in the event, and are encouraged to take part as couples, to aid with navigation. Prices for entries are expected to range from £650 to £750 for the weekend, depending on the room type specified at the hotel.

The proposed itinerary begins on Friday 15th with a free run to Lake Vyrnwy hotel with dinner at the hotel and a whisky tasting and seminar.

Saturday 16th offers two options. Option one is a challenging day’s run of around 180 miles and should only be considered by drivers of cars with adequate performance. It comprises a drive to Anglesey Circuit (approx. 76 miles, 2.5 hours), where there will be a welcome by the circuit manager and setting out of circuit’s planned future, lunchtime driving on the circuit by Guild Classic members with a photoshoot and a self-pay paddock lunch. Members will then leave at their leisure to drive to Tyn Y Cornel (78 miles, 2 hours) for rendezvous with Option Two drivers and a meet with the Lancia Club (details below)

Option two involves a tour of some of Eryri’s (Snowdonia’s) most beautiful mountain scenery and picturesque towns, villages and coastal areas. (A number of local attraction options will be presented for your perusal). Members will then rendezvous with the Option One drivers at Tyn Y Cornel for a meet with the Lancia Delta Integrale Club, a champagne reception and steam cruiser rides on the lake.

Both groups will then return to the Lake Vyrnwy hotel for an informal barbecue.

Sunday 17th will see a Mountain Valley drive to taking in two stops including Bala lake. There will be further scenic mountains, a valleys drive to Betws-y-Coed and its Waterloo Hotel car park for a self-pay lunch at one of Betws’s many fine restaurants and cafes. The afternoon will see an Eryri mountain tour to Llanberis for coffee, a scenic route to Beddgelert village and return to Lake Vyrnwy hotel and a Gala farewell dinner before guests depart at their leisure after breakfast on Monday.

To reserve a place on the event, contact organiser John Griffiths for an entry form. Participants will then need to pay a deposit of £200 into the Guild bank account (mark the payment ‘classic’ if possible) with the remainder being paid a month before the event.

#24forLM24 is back for the BIG one, says Guild member, photographer and artist Jayson Fong.

“For the duration of the 24hrs of Le Mans I’ll be once again staying up with a livestream, creating a unique artwork every hour, depicting the race as it happens,” said Jayson.

“As in previous editions, all artworks will be for sale  on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis (but be quick to secure one, they go fast!).

“This year, I’m very happy to say that £25.00 of each sale will be going to @racingdementia – Race Against Dementia is a global charity, founded by Sir Jackie Stewart, OBE, to fund pioneering research into the prevention and cure of dementia.

“Wishing you all a very happy 100th Le Mans!”

Be sure to let us know if you buy one of Jayson’s unique artworks!

The 78th Guild of Motoring Writers’ Annual General Meeting will be held at Studio434, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire on Tuesday 27 June, 2023.

Studio434 is home to the car collection of long-time Guild supporter Rodger Dudding. Divided into two buildings, it is one of the most extensive privately-owned car collections in the UK – and the 2023 Guild AGM will be held in the all-new Studio434/2 purpose-built events space. 

The event will be held with the support of Kia

Detailed timings will follow: it is anticipated we will start at 10am for tea, coffee and breakfast, ahead of the AGM commencing at 11am. 

Guests will be able to spend time touring the extensive Studio434 collection after the AGM, and there will also be product presentations and a news update from Kia. 

Nominations are being sought from full members for vacancies on the committee. Anyone wishing to stand should send – to the general secretary – a written letter of nomination confirming their willingness to serve, along with a written proposal signed by another full GOMW member

Full details, including changes made at the 2022 Guild AGM around Chair and Vice-Chair nominations and re-election, can be found in the Guild Rules.

Any resolutions to be put to the meeting should be forwarded to the general secretary.

If you wish to attend, please email General Secretary Melissa Chadderton. Please state if you have any dietary requirements.

Cut-off date for entries is Friday 16 June, 2023.