Sacrifice and Success in a race to remember
Tom Onslow-Cole (GB), Paul White (GB) and Jade Edwards (GB) were reunited for their annual pilgrimage to Anglesey Circuit in North Wales for the Mission Motorsport Race of Remembrance but, this year, the 2014 race-winners were joined by Olympic cycling hero Sir Chris Hoy (GB) and Paralympic Gold medalist Jon-Allan Butterworth (GB) in the Milltek Sport Volkswagen Golf.
The weekend started well, as Butterworth successfully passed his ARDS racing driver test, however, the team soon fell on bad luck when the trusty MkVI Golf, with which the team podiumed last year, had an issue. KPM Racing and Milltek Sport worked into the night to replace the turbo, but, at the end of the practice session, it was decided that the failure was due to a software issue that couldn’t be rectified at the circuit and it was almost certain to strike again throughout the nine-hour race.
In the spirit of the event, Milltek Sport’s MD Steve Pound suggested that they turn its track day MkVII Golf R, which was in the back of the truck ready for Saturday’s passenger lap session, into a race-ready machine ahead of qualifying.
“At Milltek Sport we have development cars on fleet that we use to demonstrate our performance exhaust systems and to offer track experiences to the public,” commented Pound. “Sacrificing the Golf R was a fairly easy decision – we couldn’t let the Mission Motorsport team go home without racing – but we had to make some fairly big and permanent changes to the car including drilling through the roof for the radio system and cutting vents into the bonnet.”
With dispensation from the organisers and the support of the paddock, the team had just two-hours to transform the car. With minutes to spare, OC qualified in fourth before handing over to his team-mates to complete their mandatory three laps needed to start the race.
“That was not only an impressive turn-around but it was an incredibly generous donation by Milltek Sport,” commented OC. “We all wanted Jon-Allan, who was making his race debut, and Chris [Hoy], who had kindly given his time to support the event, to have the chance to compete and the team worked so hard to make it happen.”
The race started on Saturday afternoon and ran into the dark before the 36 cars stopped for the night. On the morning of Remembrance Sunday, the race resumed and, following an interlude for a Remembrance Service to mark the eleventh hour, it continued until the chequered flag fell at 15.30.
“Watching Jon-Allan cross the line was amazing - to think that he has started his motorsport career here with us is exciting and we’re looking forward to supporting him as he progresses,” the Rockstar Energy Drink Athlete continued. “But, Jon-Allan is just one of many ex-service personnel who came together, this weekend, to help each other to race, retrain and recover.”
After nine hours of wheel-to-wheel action, the cars crossed the line to an emotional applause. The Milltek Sport team finished third in class and the Golf R had recorded the fastest lap of the race. Jon-Allan had finished his first ever motorsport competition and OC had completed another successful racing season.
“The Race of Remembrance is a great way to end the season, each year,” OC concluded. “It’s a fantastic event that showcases the many success stories of Mission Motorsport but it’s important to remember that they are working flat-out all season to help any ex-servicemen and women who need a bit of help at a difficult time.”
Although it is the final race of 2016 for Milltek Sport, lots of new and exciting plans are being worked on for 2017 with details expected to be confirmed at Auto Sport International at the NEC between 12-15th January 2017.