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The Guild’s Big Day Out finally took to the track at Castle Combe circuit in rural Wiltshire (following an 18-month delay) for a day of high speed driving, lots of social conversation and afternoon tea at the home of president Nick Mason.

A total of 34 Guild members donned their helmets and driving gloves for a series of hot laps around the challenging track, each driver getting four 15 minute sessions throughout the day to put human and machine to the test.

Everyone had brought along their own road or track car and many even found time to drive more than one vehicle, so it was a very busy event for some.

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They were joined by 15 guest drivers plus a large number of brave passengers – and if anyone wanted tuition on the quickest way round the circuit they were able to call upon the tutorial services of ex-Formula One driver Mike Wilds.

The wide variety of machinery in action ranged from some pre-war classics such as a Talbot Lago and an MG P Type to track day specials including an Ogle SX100, touring car Ford Capri, Morgan Plus 4, Caterham 270R and a RAM AC.

However for most participants it was a case of wheeling out their everyday cars so there was a sizeable contingent of Porsches, BMWs, Mazda MX-5s and MGs plus a few rarer track-bound models, such as a Volvo 460, Skoda Superb, Jaguar E-Type, TVR 3000M, Lotus Elise and a huge Mercury Cougar that dwarfed an Austin A30.

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Everyone was well behaved and the day passed without incident – the only black flag being that shown to a DAF55 which began leaking oil – fortunately it and its driver eventually made it home to Wales.

Event sponsor Alun Parry brought along a selection of three of the latest Suzuki hybrid models for journalists to test drive on the local country roads around the circuit and also paid for breakfast for everyone.

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At the end of the day the majority of participants took the opportunity to travel a few miles to Middlewick House, home of Guild president Nick Mason where he and his team had arranged a sumptuous afternoon tea.

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Nick also opened up his garage to display just a small selection of his cars including two of his latest acquisitions, a hybrid Ferrari and an Alpine A110.

Chris Adamson

Photos: Jeff Bloxham

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