Sandy provides masterclass in how not to do it

Published on: 02 Feb 2016

Sandy Smith of Mangotsfield started his 2016 season early when he entered an AutoSolo at Smeatharpe in Devon.  
The weather was horrendously wet and Sandy struggled all day trying to get to grips with the car on the slippery tarmac.  He finished the day well down the leaderboard but cheerily quipped “if solos were about doing doughnuts, I’d be a champion.”  His summary of the event was simply “today has been a masterclass in how not to do it” but he had a great day all the same.
A week later, four drivers set off for the NEC in Birmingham from Downend to give thrill rides at Autosport International as part of GoMotorsport’s AutoSolo Display Team.  A course was set by the entrance to the show where the drivers spent nine hours each day driving sideways.  More than 1200 people experienced more than 2000 free passenger rides during the four-day exhibition.
The discipline being demonstrated was called AutoSolo, where cars compete around a course against the clock.  It’s one of the most accessible forms of motorsport where any road car can be used to compete.  
The discipline is such low risk that helmets are not required and even seatbelts are only recommended, rather than mandatory.
Two of the team, James Hurford and Phil Oliver, are competing again in this season’s Bristol MX5 Challenge, which is again sponsored by Vincenzo & Son in Gloucester Road.  The third driver, Alex Millard, is making the step from AutoSolo into sprinting this year in his two litre Sylva Stylus, where he will compete on circuits like Castle Combe and airfields like Hullavington in the same way as James and Phil.  
Andy Laurence turned down the chance to drive at the event in order to encourage passers by to experience the passenger rides.  He is doing his first full season in his Mygale single seater, after a partial season in 2015.
At the end of January, all four of the drivers will be competing in a NavScatter.  Rather than a test of speed, a NavScatter is a test of navigational ability.  Drivers start in Sainsbury’s car park in Emersons Green and try to find as many clues in the nearby area before handing their answer sheets in at a pub listed as the final clue.
If you enjoy cars, then Bristol Motor Club hold a number of events throughout the year, whether you want to spectate, officiate or drive.  
Most events can be entered in your standard road car.  The club meets on the first Tuesday of every month in Stapleton and everyone is welcome.  
Find them on Facebook, Twitter or your favourite search engine.

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