Big fun had at Big Day Out 2023

Castle Combe Circuit in Wiltshire was again the venue on Wednesday 26th April for one of the Guild’s most popular events of the year, the ‘Big Day Out’ which allows members to take on the fast and challenging race track in their own cars.

The day, which again proved a big success, was organised by Guild committee member John Griffiths and again kindly sponsored by long-time friends of the Guild Suzuki, who along with Honda brought along some cars for members to try on the local roads when they weren’t on the track. 

The close to 60 different cars that were put to the test on the circuit were certainly eclectic, varying from current models from the likes of BMW, Jaguar and particularly Mazda MX-5s to a host of period race cars – plucky member Kim Henson even circulated in his 1938 Standard Flying 14.

Perhaps bravest of all, however, was member Tom Scanlon, with his huge 1979-built Mercury Cougar – at the start of the day marshals warned members of the tight entry into the paddock, suggesting some drivers would need three-point turns, “or that Mercury an eight-point turn…”

Sadly the Cougar cried enough early on with a failed fuel pump, but not before Tom suggested he had set a new record; “In my 15-minute session I was lapped twice, by a Citroën C1…” He then made use of the Guild’s new benefit partner, Start Rescue, to recover the car to his home, later commenting; “Very happy with Start Rescue, from first contact on the phone to the finish.”  

Following the day’s action attendees were treated to afternoon tea, again kindly provided by our President Nick Mason at his home close to the circuit. As a thank-you Nick was presented with a photo from the archives of resident photographer Jeff Bloxham, showing our President competing in a Dorset Lola at the 1980 Le Mans 24 Hours, in which he finished 22nd overall and third in class.  

Guild Chairman Richard Aucock described the event as “a wonderful Guild tradition”, commenting; “I’m delighted once again Suzuki was our headline sponsor – Alun and Adrian help make it happen, and it’s great we all get to spend the day with them, driving their cars when not out on track. 

“This year, it was exciting to have Honda at the event too, with a very vivid new Civic Type R. Castle Combe, as always, did us proud, and the tireless organisational work by John Griffiths paid off in delivering a fantastically successful event. 

“Tea at Guild president Nick’s was the icing on the (delicious) cake – and the presentation of the print arranged by vice chair Simon Harris was the perfect way to end the day.” 

Your Editor, a keen observer at his first BDO, will now be searching avidly for a suitable car to get on track at next year’s event – if not the family Suzuki Ignis will get a workout like it’s never had…

All photos: Jeff Bloxham