The Motor Sports Association, governing body of UK motor sport, has appointed eight Regional Development Officers to implement a school visits programme throughout Britain and Northern Ireland, as part of the MSA’s Go Motorsport initiative.
Launched last year with Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren Technology Centre, Go Motorsport is already firmly established right at the heart of UK motor sport. The campaign provides potential newcomers of all ages with a comprehensive guide of how they can get involved in all areas of MSA-governed activities whether as a competitor, spectator or volunteer.
Now, with the initiative gaining familiarity and the GoMotorsport.net website attracting more than 2000 new visitors every week, the campaign’s focus is switching to an exciting new programme aimed at securing the sport’s on-going popularity in the future.
To meet this objective, the MSA has selected eight Regional Development Officers to visit schools throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, spreading the message that motor sport is fun, engaging and accessible. All eight have in-depth motor sport knowledge and proven communication skills; some are competitors, others work in the media.
Having been fully briefed on the details of the Go Motorsport campaign at Motor Sports House, the eight have also been provided with presentation training by Go Motorsport ambassador Louise Goodman. Now they will be going into classrooms and school assemblies throughout the UK, presenting the huge attractions of motor sport to the coming generation.
“It’s incredibly important that we show young people everything that motor sport has to offer,” explains MSA Chief Executive Colin Hilton. “The achievements of Lewis, Jenson and others have helped to put our sport on the radar, now it’s up to us to help all those inspired by them to fulfil their dreams.”
The eight Regional Development Officers will be pushing the MSA’s widely praised Let’s Go Karting scheme which allows young people aged between eight and 16 to have a structured first experience of karting for just £5. On top of this, they will also be highlighting many of the other forms of MSA licensed motor sport accessible to those who are still too young to drive on the roads. For those aged eight and over there are Junior Dragsters and Cadet kart racing, while special classes in autograss, autotests, rallycross, circuit racing and rallying cater for those who’ve turned 14.
“We know that it’s more difficult to get started in motor sport than some of the more traditional activities, especially if there is not a close family member already involved in the sport. That’s why we have put together all the information needed by young people looking to get started. Alongside that, we have to break down the barriers – both real and perceived – that are stopping new recruits from entering the sport,” continues Hilton.
To help the Go Motorsport Development Officers spread the gospel, the MSA has provided them with a range of materials including pop-up screens, a promotional dvd and assorted give-aways. In addition, the AT&T WilliamsF1 Grand Prix team has kindly provided a selection of components from their Formula 1 cars. The eight RDOs will be working closely with regional associations, motor clubs, events and venues in their local areas to generate maximum impact for the campaign.
“This is not about trying to find future world champions,” concludes Hilton. “We want to ensure that all those who have an interest, get the chance to get involved with motor sport at whatever level they desire.”
Schools interested in hosting a Go Motorsport presentation should contact the campaign via info@GoMotorsport.net.
Go Motorsport Regional Development Officers
Anthony Dunn (North East) Anthony lives in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. He has been competing in motor sport for nearly 20 years, having worked his way through the ranks from karting to single seaters. In 2009 he has been winning in the SPEED sports prototype series. He also lives with fiancée Amanda Whitaker, one of Britain’s fastest female racing drivers.
Mark James (Wales) Mark lives in Mumbles, near Swansea. He started in motor sport by marshalling on road rallies and operating safety radios on stage events, going on to compete in rallies as a co-driver. His ‘day job’ is in broadcasting, and he reported on the FIA World Rally Championship for BBC radio and TV for eight years from 1995-2002. He also worked for SEAT Sport in the FIA World Touring Car Championship as the team's English language Press Officer from 2004-2007.
Rob Manger (South West) Rob lives in Hampshire and began racing in the mid-eighties; since then he has competed in single seaters, saloon cars, and sports cars. Successes include winning the Monoposto 1800 championship in 2000. Rob also works in the motor sport industry as a director of a racing parts company and an automotive events specialist.
Duncan Vincent (Scotland) Duncan lives in Glenrothes and has been involved with motor sport for all of his life. He currently works at Knockhill Racing Circuit as a Senior Instructor and has done since leaving school. He raced in karts as a junior before moving into a Fiesta championship then Formula Ford Zetec single seaters in the Scottish Championships. He is the current outright lap record holder around Knockhill in a car and has been racing motorbikes for the last six years.
Ed Pead (Midlands) Ed lives in Northampton and has been involved in motor sport from the age of 11 when he started karting. He made the jump into motor racing in 2000, from then on he has competed in Formula Ford, Formula 3, Renault Clio Cup and Porsche Carrera Cup. He works at the world famous Silverstone Race School as one of the senior instructors, and also for Porsche as one of its official Porsche Driving Consultants.
Jonathan MacDonald (Northern Ireland) Jonathan lives in Bangor, Co. Down. He has been passionate about motor sport since childhood and is one of the lucky few who have managed to transform that passion into a career. He is a former winner of the Renault MSA Young Motor Sport Photographer of the Year, and today runs his own successful motor sport PR and photographic company. He is also assistant editor for Pacenotes Rally Magazine, as well as press officer for various motor sport events and championships.
Steve Johnson (North West) Steve lives in Accrington, Lancashire and has been involved in almost every kind of club motor sport – autotest, hillclimbs, production car trials, road rallies, sprints stage rallies – both as a competitor and event organiser. He is passionate about grass roots motor sport and about attracting young people to participate. Steve is also a long-term member of the MSA’s Autotest Committee.