“Blue-Belle” was first registered as a baton on 9th March 2016 when her graphics denoting the BMW Car Club Regions were applied to her graceful lines by George Champ.
She then started her various sectors of the circuitous route of the Round Britain Relay with a traumatic journey from Colchester and the East Anglia Region to the heart of rural Worcestershire, Cotswold Region in the hands of Royal Mail ParcelForce.
Sadly, upon arrival on 21st March, she looked a little the worse for wear, with both doors having shaken from their mounts beneath the cant rails on both sides and, the door mirror on the right hand door being no longer attached to the door.
Following a very careful inspection in the Cotswold Region BMW Model Body Shop ( Martyn Goodwin’s office ) repairs were considered to be a viable solution and that she was not beyond economic repair and an insurance write off !
So with the aid of tweezers, paper clips and several cups of TLC, not to mention some careful application of Araldite Strong and an overnight bake in the warming oven of the AGA, she emerged as good as new, everything where it should be and all still fully functional and none the worse for her experience.
The cause of her trauma was determined to be the lack of a securing band wrapped over the body and secured underneath to hold the doors closed during transit. So with a substitute fastening for the doors, the next leg of her journey began.
Staying within the Cotswold Region, a short journey from the heart of rural Worcestershire to the outskirts of Hereford and the home of Saxon Motorsport. Blue-Belle, despite her youth, was going motor racing and not just a quick blast. No, she was going to the Silverstone Hankook 24 hour Touring Car Endurance.
Hereford based Saxon Motorsport ( as featured in BMWCar Magazine ) will be campaigning their very successful 135D in a number of Endurance events this year, including the Hankook 24 Hour event at Silverstone on the 2nd & 3rd April ( practice and qualifying on the 1st April ).
For 2016, Saxon Motorsport are being sponsored by Cotswold Motor Group, therefore the Cotswold Region also sponsored by Cotswold Motor Group are somewhat tied into the relationship with Saxon and are looking to support them and to share in their success.
Our Regional support of the Round Britain Relay also involved Saxon Motorsport as they ran their car at the Silverstone event with “Blue-Belle” on board !
The car, driven by Nick Barrow (Top Image) owner of Saxon, Dave Robinson, Clint Bardwell and Neil Primrose ( musician and drummer of Travis fame ) qualified well and started the race from 4th on the grid in a field of 41 cars.
I was invited to spend the full race with the team in the pit garage ( sadly work got in the way of the full 24 hour experience happening however, I did fly in from Chicago, drove straight to Silverstone and spent as much of the race as I could with the team. I got roped into to assist in some of the pit stops, gearbox change in the middle of the night, had a fantastic time, totally exhausted and then disappointed after the car was discretionally retired after 22 hours 50 minutes from P2 in Class and P6 overall with a very noisy turbo ( turned out to be a broken rotor shaft ). The race was won, despite political shenanigans otherwise called handicapping, seemingly to ensure a SEAT win, by a E92 M3 that started the race in 41st position out of 41 starters, which just goes to prove the unpredictable nature of Endurance Racing. Sadly our “baton” was not a lucky mascot on this occasion, but we all had a great time and Blue-Belle survived her experience unscathed!
She was then collected once more from Hereford during a BMW CC evening visit to Saxon Motorsport and sent ( with doors safely secured ) with Royal Mail ParcelForce on 11th April to Eastern Region.
Good luck and safe travels ……