So, last Friday, I got to attend the 8th annual Volvo Charity Track Day, over at the Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire.
The event was originally thought up by Simon Chiu, who at the time worked for the Volvo dealer’s MRG in Chippenham and Ashok Abraham Paul a passionate Volvo owner, who works as a doctor within the NHS. Ashok became a customer of Simon’s over 17 years ago and now is a very good friend. The track day was thought up over a cup of coffee with both Ashok and Simon thinking it maybe a good idea, which clearly it was as the event is going from strength to strength.
Whilst the event is mainly a track day for Volvo enthusiasts, it has always been for charity, with previous charities including Save the Children, Mission Motorsport and Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
This years charity was the Great Western Air Ambulance, https://www.greatwesternairambulance.com, a charity who I have donated to before, when we got to see the helicopter up close at the Bristol Balloon Festival in 2016. The charity is part of the NHS 999 service, but relies, purely on donations to keep the service operating, they require £2.6 million per year to ensure the helicopter can attend an average of 4 incidents a day.
Onto the event itself, we arrived at 9am just in time to attend the safety briefing, although I mainly wanted to photograph the cars, there was the opportunity to jump in a car and have a drive round the track, something I had never done. The team at Castle Combe were great in explaining the do’s and dont’s of a track day, as well as going through the dangers of a track day. Once done, we signed in and headed over to the breakfast tent, for a much needed coffee and a bacon roll.
Then the day began with what seemed to be a mad scramble to get on track, as this was limited to 12 cars at a time.
During the safety briefing, it was advised that if you had never attended a track day or done any motorsport, to have a few sighting laps with one of the instructors. This was a great benefit and something I would highly recommend if you are a first time attendee of a track day. I jumped into the City Motors C30 “CITY 3” with my instructor Tim, who was clearly very knowledgable on the circuit and had the unenviable task of turning me into a racing driver. Thankfully the car was an auto, as there was so much to focus on, racing line, braking points, not to mention the other cars on the track.
Once I had completed 6 laps, we returned back to the paddock area, with a greater confidence of driving on a track.
Despite the event being mainly for Volvo’s there were some other manufacturers present, including a TVR Cerbera, a car I have always liked, the chance to get a passenger ride came about, so I jumped at the chance. On leaving the pit lane I realised just how quick this car was, and after a little queasy feeling for the first lap, I settled in and enjoyed the ride, what a machine !!!.
Of course being a motorsport venue I had to take the chance to practice my motorsport photography, following on from the Jessop’s course I attended early last year, all the training soon came back and I was getting the shots I wanted. Starting on the final corner, I moved down to themain start finish straight, then finally round to Old Paddock bend, where the majority of my favourite images were captured. Castle Combe is a great circuit, with many vantage points, that give good fence free viewing of the track.
One of the main goals was to shoot the Volvo UK V40 track car in action around the track, I also had a cheeky drive. The track car is fitted with OMP racing buckets and full 5 point harnesses, so for a 6ft 2 inch tall chap, it felt quite snug. But went round the track like a go kart, on its Polestar suspension and 19” wheels.
A quick lunch consisting of freshly baked pizza and chips was downed and it was back to the track action. I popped the camera away after lunch to try and get as many goes in cars as I could, think I caught the track day bug.
As the event drew to a close, a raffle was drawn with prizes donated from Castle Combe Circuit, Volvo UK and Bowers and Wilkins.
As a first time attendee of the track day, I have to say the event was really well organised by Simon and Ashok and a great atmosphere from all the other drivers and passengers, hopefully I will get to go back next year, to relive my new motorsport skills (Lewis Hamilton has no worries)
There is a link to a few more of the shots below:-
Thanks again for reading