Monday, May 28, 2012

Drifting and Doughnuts

As a blogger of ill-repute, I am occasionally invited to attend sponsored PR events.  Sometimes I come back from these events wondering what on earth I was going to write about.  Other times I would come back needing a hot shower and a cold drink to erase the memories of the limp canapés and warm wine.  But sometimes, not often mind, I come back with the
‘OhMyGodThatWasSoFrickingAwesomeIthinkMyHeadMayExplode’ feeling.  The Fastest Blogger event organised by that I attended last week was one of those events.

Their invite was quite simple, come down to Silverstone and spend a day driving a Caterham 7.  I am not beyond introspection and there is a reason that I only drive a Ford Fiesta – It’s because I’m an idiot.  Put me in a car and I want to drive it fast, hence only trusting myself with a Fiesta on the roads – anything faster would be a disaster (with a ghetto blaster, and a headmaster).  So there was no way I was going to turn down the opportunity to drive one of those beasts.
Upon arrival I met the Caterham team and my fellow bloggers and we were given a safety briefing.  The instructor tended to look at me a lot whilst giving his warnings, I think he could smell the speed-freak in me.  He then explained that they were going to teach us how to drift a car and do doughnuts (you know, the ones policemen don’t like, the tyre smoking ones not the glazed ones).  Drifting a car involves careful manipulation of brake, accelerator and wheel coupled with lots of screeching, smoke and adrenaline soaked fun.
There were three cars and 17 bloggers so in between turns we would sit down and have a bit of a natter.  I had sat myself down with Miss Daisy and her daughter Megan (sorry Wendy, I did warn you) and soaked up the sun in-between bouts of boy-racing.  There was banter, there was laughs and occasionally there was clapping when one of us achieved a spectacular doughnut.
Believe me, there is no better feeling in the world than screeching sideways around a corner with your heart threatening to jump out of chest and not getting nicked for it.  We were a mixed bunch in the driving talent department (the best line I heard was “This is the first car I’ve ever been insured on”) but by the end of the day all of us had improved beyond our wildest expectations.  I had started the day thinking that everyone would get all testosteroney and über-competitive, but there was a real sense of camaraderie as we all cheered each other around the final drifting course.

If you ever find yourself going to one of these events (and I strongly suggest you do), I can’t guarantee you the same weather – scorchio, or the same great laughs with fellow bloggers, but I can guarantee you will have a day you will remember for a very long time.

I want to thank the team at, the perfect place to find fathers day gifts (especially if my kids are reading this).  I’d also like to thank the Caterham 7 team for letting me thrash the nuts out of their cars, even after I thought I had broken one after a spectacular spin off the track.  The only negative thing about the whole day was having to drive my front wheel drive Fiesta home, all in the knowledge that it couldn’t recreate the day in my local Tesco’s car park.  Damn.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Our Greatest Team Rises

BP have recently launched a set of new medallions called the BP Legends Collection – a series of 12 medallions depicting ten British Olympic and two British Paralympic winning moments from past Games.  To help launch this they kindly invited me and the Mrs to the ‘Our Greatest Team Rises’ event at the Royal Albert Hall.  A star spangled event where the Hoi Polloi could mix it up with the bold and the beautiful (well from a distance anyway).

The situation demanded a Tux, something I wasn’t looking forward to.  Most days I can barely be bothered to put on jeans and I even have a special pair of them for ‘formal’ occasions, but several frowns and scowls convinced me to toe the line and tux up.
Before the event we got to meet and have a chat with Sir Steve Redgrave, without doubt our finest ever Olympian and whose face adorns the first medallion.  He happily posed for pics with us all and answered all things Olympic, including a story about all the traffic problems he encountered during the Atlanta Olympics.  As someone living right on top of the Olympic Park, it’s something I hoping isn’t repeated in a few months time.

There was an impressive list of performers at the event: Gary Barlow, Mel C, Will Young, Alfie Boe, The Feeling, Kimberly Walsh, Charlie Siem, The Noisettes and Spellbound (who hilariously sat in front of us after they had performed and instantly started tweeting en masse). We also had the pleasure of Davina McCall, John Bishop and Dermot O’Leary (who when we saw him outside my wife pushed me in the road in her haste to get to him) hosting the evening.  Plus, gasp, William and Cate, yep the real ones, also put in an appearance.
A great night was had by all and was topped off with a dash through Holborn station when the Station Announcer informed us as we got off the Piccadilly line train that “The last central line train will be leaving in two minutes.”  Cue a mad dash of Tux’s, evening gowns and various other late night drunks running through the station in fits of infectious, mad, breathless laughter.

The BP Legends Collection Medallions can be purchased from BP’s forecourts across the country. The first medallion is available for £1 together with an official presentation pack and the remaining 11 medallions will cost £2 each.  All profits from the sale of the Our Greatest Team Legends Collection will directly support Team GB and ParalympicsGB to help aspiring athletes deliver their best performance at London 2012 and beyond.
For more information about the Our Greatest Team Legends Collection and how you can start collecting the limited edition medallions, visit .

So as not to fall foul of the Blogging Police, this is a sponsored post (if you hadn’t guessed by now).  We attended the event as guests of BP and they even bought me a beer, but just one mind, they didn’t get me drunk and write this for me ok.