Southern Group of Motoring Writers Annual Beaulieu Classic Event

I can’t wait for this amazing writers group event happening soon!

Earlier this year I was very honoured to be granted membership to the esteemed Southern Group of Motoring Writers (SGMW) which I’m told, and I absolutely believe, is the best automotive writers group of them all in the UK! Heck, let’s just say The World!

The highly active group represents a terrific opportunity to meet and compare notes with fellow car journos. You know the people that actually help buyers with real world car-purchasing decisions. The people who will reply to DMs from confused consumers at 3am in the morning about the car order they’re about to place the next morning… or is that just me?

It’s great to find others who can relate to our surreal life of short bursts of tyre-shredding highs that punctuate the long laborious lows of immovable and impossible deadlines, interminable hours slogging over a smoking keyboard fending off writers block with endless cups of coffee, and the certain knowledge that nothing we ever create will get even a fraction of the eyeballs, achieved by a vacuous YouTuber gawping inanely at Instagram followers alongside yet another irrelevant hypercar.

I’ve gone off script a bit haven’t I? Anyway with a pertinent post of my own earlier today, reminiscing a #ThrowBackThursday about 8 years ago that saw me spending a day not only trashing a brand new Ferrari 458 Italia, but also one of my childhood dream cars, the 328 GTS, I duly shrugged off any notion of disgruntlement and conceded that there are some truly great days, every now and then, in this line of work I still love doing after 30 years!

And potentially one of them is coming up very shortly thanks to the SGMW. I am so looking forward to attending the group’s third annual Heritage Day at the National Motor Museum Beaulieu during the middle of next month. It’s been way too long since I’ve been to the Museum, but that’s not the only reason – it’s the total indulgence of motorised nostalgia that awaits.

I’ll hand over to SGMW secretary and event organiser Chris Rees to explain: ‘We had many very prompt responses this year after 2018 took the event up another notch, helped by glorious sunshine.

‘And we expect an even bigger turn out by members and their guests from the UK motor industry’s PR departments, all attracted by another tempting array of great cars to drive, discuss, and write, post and Tweet about.

‘Marques confirmed for 2019 include: Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Citroen, DS, FIAT, Ford, Honda, Kia, Mazda, MINI, Peugeot, Suzuki, Toyota, Vauxhall, and Volkswagen.

‘Eagerly anticipated stars promised so far include: original and current Audi TTs, a 300,000-mile Alfa Romeo 156, Kia Pride, early Mazda MX-5, and Lotus Carlton, while Honda will bring three cars and Ford is sending a ‘fleet’ of four.

‘Any brands yet to commit, but still interested in bringing some cars – something old, something new perhaps – can still give me a call!’

Group chairman Ian Robertson said: ‘Heritage Day was originally staged to celebrate the SGMW’s 15th anniversary in 2017, but we could never have expected it to defy an apocalyptic downpour on the day and still be such a success.

‘This reception convinced us to make it an annual outing, now eagerly anticipated by members and their PR contacts alike. Much interest centres on which entry will lift the coveted ‘Car of the Day’ award – last year, it was a classic Peugeot 205 GTI – but we plan to sprinkle the stardust more widely this year, with a couple more awards.

‘But don’t just take my word on the popularity and success of Heritage Day…’

Simon Hucknall, Head of Product Communications, Vauxhall: ‘A wonderful day. Great vehicles, great people. It’s not very often as a PR that I get to drive such a breadth of cars, both new and old. Today, I have driven everything from a Ford Transit up to the latest Alfa Romeo Quadrifoglio.’

John Handcock, Head of Communications, Citroën: ‘It’s been a real pleasure to be here today and enjoy the cars that the manufacturers have brought along, and to meet old friends.’

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