Pro-Celebrity Media Challenge

A prize worth winning

Congratulations to James Evans of Bristol, who collected our ‘Win a Day at Silverstone’ prize (Motor Sport, September). The vast majority of a healthy number of respondents got all four questions right. For the record, John Watson’s team-mate in 1981 was Andrea de Cesaris; Miki Biasion will drive for Ford in 1992; Graham Hill shared his 1972 Le Mans victory with Henri Pescarolo; David Brabham drove stints in the two Jaguars which finished first and second in this year’s Nürburgring 430km. The last question was actually worded slightly ambiguously, and there was no penalty for mentioning Derek Warwick and Teo Fabi in the same breath as Brabham.

Having been drawn first out of the hat (actually, it was a supermarket carrier bag), James joined the Motor Sport team of F3000 racer Damon Hill, Editor Simon Arron and journalist Stewart Williams — signed on loan from our weekly sister Motoring News — at Silverstone on November 5, for the multi-discipline Pro-Celebrity Media Challenge organised by the John Watson Performance Driving Centre. The 18 teams had to compete against the clock in (or on) Formula Ford single seaters, Peugeot 309 saloons, karts, quad ‘bikes, Honda Pilot buggies and JWPDC skid control cars. Cheating was openly encouraged, but apart from Gerry Marshall fiddling with the rev limiter on the FF1600 car (restricting Ian Flux to just 3000 rpm), competitors’ manners were by and large impeccable.

For Motor Sport Hill set fastest kart time of the day, and Williams did likewise on a Honda Pilot course that was decidedly more benevolent in the afternoon. Those who tackled it first thing in the morning were blinded by chunks of mud the size of your average golf course. Hill also won a swear box for his reaction to learning that the second person to try a skid control car had completed the slalom course three seconds faster than the Williams F1 tester. There is a rather greater likelihood of his having a regular GP drive in 1992 than there is of his becoming a skid control instructor…

Those performances and a surprising level of all-round consistency in each of the other events made Motor Sport’s quartet the inaugural Pro-Celebrity Media Challenge champions, albeit by the narrowest of margins from the Street Machine and BBC Top Gear teams.

The event was voted a tremendous success, and it only took the organisers until the prize-giving to decide that it will be run again in 1992.

British Touring Car Champion Will Hoy, guesting for Motoring News, won the Driver of the Day award, while other honours went to Tiff Needell (skid cars), Mikki Kheng (quad ‘bikes), Tim Harvey (FF1600) and rally star David Llewellin (saloons). Other highlights included Gerry Marshall’s Formula Ford slalom run, when he stormed off the line in reverse, and the presentation to Tony Dron, Editor of Classic Cars, of a section of kart track advertising hoarding, which he had earlier sliced in two. In a similar vein, Triple C’s Editor Nigel Fryatt received a mangled remnant of his kart ‘s track rod…

If you enjoy a chuckle and you don’t mind a bit of dirt behind your finger mails (the wiser participants had two pairs of shoes and at least one spare set of clothes on hand), we advise you to keep an eye out for next year’s competition entry form, which will be published in the autumn.

It was nice to finish first, but we’d have enjoyed ourselves just as much if we’d been 101st… SA