|In winning the 2002 Orwell Supersports Cup at the Nurburgring earlier this month, Motor Sports Association chairman-elect, John Grant, has continued to broaden his understanding of the sport from the perspective of an enthusiastic amateur competitor, while Colin Hilton, chief executive of the Motor Sports Association, has been on what he describes as “an extremely informative fact-finding mission” to the Finnish motor sport national governing body, AKK, in Helsinki.
Grant, who will take over from the present Motor Sports Association chairman, Michael Limb, in December this year, has had a lifelong interest in motor sport, having competed in autotests, autocross and club and international rallying during the 1960s and 1970s. As a senior executive in the Ford Motor Company, Grant was also involved in overseeing Jaguar`s victorious Group C and IMSA racing programmes in the early 1990s. More recently, he took to the tracks himself and now races a Chevron B19 and Jaguar XJR-17 in international historic sportscar series.
“Competing in such events fulfils a long-standing ambition and helps me to gain an insight into the sport from a participant`s perspective,” said Grant. “As one very good example of my personal experiences, this year has seen the reunification of two separate Supersports championships; the result has been a far stronger single series with 30+ car grids – and that`s to the huge benefit of everyone involved. It`s a very topical lesson, as one of our major current objectives at the Motor Sports Association is to reverse the series proliferation which has undermined UK motor sport in recent years.”
Having won the resurgent Supersports Cup in his two-litre Chevron from fellow Britons John Sheldon and John Burton in his two-litre Chevron, Grant is now planning to concentrate his 2003 efforts on racing in the Historic Group C Championship with his Jaguar XJR-17.
Meanwhile, Colin Hilton`s recent trip to Scandinavia also proved valuable and enlightening. “AKK has an excellent reputation and has been responsible for establishing Finland as a major international motor sport nation,” explained Hilton. “The country traditionally hosts one of the best organised rounds on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar and in recent years has not only produced more than its fair share of WRC champions, but Formula One champions, too.
“Although a brief visit - one day - by thinking outside the box like this we can learn from others` experiences - more so, perhaps, as like the MSA, AKK is currently going through major reorganisation and regeneration processes. It was a very worthwhile trip and one that I`m sure will produce significant benefits in the future.”
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