The 2022 Race Of Remembrance

Updated: 2 days ago

Held on the weekend of Remembrance Sunday, the Race Of Remembrance is best described as a "Remembrance Service with an endurance race through it".


It's a unusual hybrid of part 12hr race, part 24hr race.


The race may start and end 24 hours apart (3pm Saturday - 3pm Sunday), however the cars only run for 12 hours - everyone resting (or repairing!) overnight.


On Saturday, the cars run/race (from a standard rolling start) from 3pm until 10pm.

A normal 24 hour race (at this point) would continue on through the night, but as it's for charity, and there's both an element of severity and enjoyment, (24hr races are gruelling - for competitors and neighbours of the track) the cars are put into "Parc Ferme" overnight, before starting again at about 9am/10am, stopping for a Remembrance Sunday Service, before finishing the race from 11.45am until 3pm.


After the podium celebrations and interviews, it's then the spectator's turn to have a multiple-hour stint as they - and the teams and drivers all head home after another thoroughly enjoyable Remembrance Weekend.


As they always say "until next year"

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If you're hoping for a race report describing overtakes, action, and lead-changes...this isn't that - this is purely my experience and what I got up to - whilst I watched the race unfold, I didn't "follow" the developments throughout the race - as I was more enjoying being there (in the moment) than focussed on every pass of the race - but I will say this much - it was anybody's race - and it looked like very few - if none - had a completely faultless race with no dramas.


In each year I've been to the Race Of Remembrance, I've attended in a different way.


In 2017, I got the train up to Holyhead/Anglesey as I had boarding, and could attend on Thursday (my dad arrives on Thursday)


In 2018, I was driven by my dad to Anglesey (and did an hour video on my experience)


(2019 - Didn't go due to College workload)


2020 - Cancelled due to World Events) - iRacing held "iRace Of Remembrance" at Silverstone


In 2021, My dad and I both drove up to Anglesey in seperate cars - myself in my mum's Kia Venga, my dad in his - Abarth 124 Spider.


2021 was memorable as when I left, I remember being a bit emotional as I drove off, leaving him in the car-park, me headed back off to Wolverhampton, him back to the rented property. (Virtual Race Of Remembrance was held on Assetto Corsa Competitioni)


Come 2022, we returned to taking one car, but in a weird turn of events, it would be my Skoda. Tell either my dad or I that back in 2018 - and I wouldn't have believed a word of it!


I wonder how 2023 will turn out!



09/11/2022


I don't know why, but The Race Of Remembrance has been - and I believe always will, be the highlight of my motorsport year.


With the exception of 2019 and 2020, I've been every year for the past five years (since 2017) - and no other series or race shares that stat.


I can't quite put my finger on what the appeal of going to a rural Welsh race-track for a weekend in November is - but I keep coming back, so, whatever Mission Motorsport do must work.


I suppose, it's nice to see some "grassroots" motorsport - not everything is about billionaires in their GT3's - sometimes it's just about the accessibility - the fact I can walk around the entire circuit, the fact that I can walk up and down the pit-lane and see cars like I see on the road (including a Honda CR-V and VW Caddy Van!) and the drivers are mostly like you and I - except from the fact that most have are veterans - some still serving and saving our lives to this very day.


Or maybe I know that Mission Motorsport's Race Of Remembrance is for a good cause.


For (at least) the past two years, I've been dragging my dad along - and by the end of the weekend, we've both had a (thoroughly?) enjoyable weekend, even despite the stereotypically Welsh weather.


On this occasion, we were both free - I didn't have University (because...reasons...) and Dad left the weekend open in case he was asked to commentate.


In typical "me" fashion, I left packing until the night before we left, and then...got on with it knowing I had limited time.


10/11/2022

Dad had to put his trust in me. and my car.


On every previous iteration of the event, he found a way to get to Anglesey, but this time - we were going together, and I was driving him.


I woke up at about 8am, had breakfast at 8:30am, at was ready to leave at about 9am - perfectly in time for the ferry.


We boarded the ferry, had a slow, but smooth crossing (despite high winds) and then continued our journey onward.


I know the old saying about "it's not about the destination, it's about the getting there" - but unless this is a sponsored Blog about McDonalds or LEONS, nothing was worth mentioning.


Just like the heroes were about to do in a few nights time, we travelled onward into the night - eventually arriving at our hotel ("Valley Hotel") at about 6 or 7pm. We had dinner at the hotel's restaurant (I had a Southern Fried Chicken Burger, followed by a DIVINE Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake) and we both hit the hay pretty soon after (long day of driving).


11/11/2022 (Remembrance Day) (Friday)

Mid-Way through a dream of me hounding a Caterham around Trac Môn, it was time to wake up and get grooving. Dreams can wait - reality cannot.


After a hearty breakfast of cereal and then Bacon and Sausage (LOTS of protein on this trip!) we headed out to the circuit after a quick fuel stop.


One thing I - along with everyone else notice immediately was the weather - it wasn't bucketing down with rain (which was a pleasant surprise) but it was INCREDIBLY windy - and I'm surprised nobody found a Citroen C1 in their back garden!


Whilst battling the wind, I also noticed another mildly amusing part of the weekend - Free* Practice, which was on the circuit at the time.


Saying that, it wasn't even "free" practice - had you wanted to participate in this "Friday Practice Session" - you'd have to pay a fee - on top of the standard Race Entry Fee and paying for all the cars and parts.


This...oddity was short lived as the session came to a close at 10:50am, and everyone (WITHIN 10 MINUTES!) assembled down the pit-lane, and, after a bugle was played, two minutes silence began.


Two minutes later, The Last Post played and an applause came from the Pit-Lane before we all returned to our separate stands (pit-lane, marshal stand, the commentary box etc.) and "Paid Practice" resumed.


After arriving on Thursday, Friday was the first day of "racing activity" - although this was only a couple of paid practice sessions and qualifying for the following day's race of remembrance.


On Friday, there were two qualifying sessions - one during the day (which decided starting order), and one during the night to "acclimatise" the drivers to night running.


In the dying moments of the night qualifying session, my dad and I headed back to the hotel for a well-earnt meal - I had a half-roasted Chicken (super combo of Chicken leg & breast) - only difficulty was - I didn't know which bits were edible (bones etc.) and which not!


Surprisingly, I saw some team-members of a competing team at the hotel.


12/11/2022

Saturday. The day we had all been waiting for.

After cereal and a cooked breakfast, we headed out to the circuit.


To our surprise, the weather had significantly calmed down - and Wales had it's once annual sunny, mild day of the year.


After arriving less than 5 minutes before the action for the day kicked off, my dad rushed to the commentary box

As the action kicked off, I set off on my first track-walk of the weekend.


Unfortunately, I didn't get very far, as I could only walk as far as turn one (the straight being cordoned off with a "NO SPECTATORS BEYOND THIS POINT" sign up.


From here, I then trudged through the mud to Peel (mid-part of the track)


By this time, the Race Of Remembrance warm-up session (and indeed support event) had been and gone.


Following this, it was Supercar Saturday - which in itself was a VERY interesting as only 3 or so were actual "Supercars" - the remainder being "luxury" or "Performance Vehicles"


My highlights being a VERY loud Nissan GTR, a pair of Ultimas and most excitingly a Lamborghini Huracan GT3/Trofeo - which I ensured to get MANY pictures of.


After lunch at the café, I returned to the commentary box for the start of the Biathlon Of Foolishness - a very unique and special part of the Race Of Remembrance Weekend.

In as few words as possible,

People dress up in "fancy dress" (costumes etc.), run from the pit-lane, around turn one, head down a steep embankment, down into the Irish Sea, turn around and then down the "finish straight" across the track and straight to a hole in the wall leading into pit-lane.


Following the Biathlon of Foolishness, the Race Of Remembrance had a quick lunch-break, before FINALLY, after a year of waiting, the moment finally came for the cars to roll onto the grid: the start was almost upon us - and I'm sure many of the drivers could feel it!


Once all cars were on the grid, the grid was opened up to team members and media - I joined the grid and took a few pictures of cars I liked.


Photography done, I hastily returned to the pit-lane and made my way swiftly to turn one where I'd watch the start along with a very friendly photographer


A little time later, the safety car emerged from behind the pit-building with a train of cars behind it.


3/4 of a lap later, the safety car pulled into the pits - and 24- sorry, 12 hours of racing got under way. I watched the race-start at turn one, before getting pictures of all the cars I wanted to, before nosing around the paddock to see if there was anything interesting (supercars etc.) - after this short adventure, I headed down to the Tom Pryce Straight/the final corner to capture an alternative angle of the cars.


Annoyingly, being winter, it began to get dark pretty quickly, and my little hand-held Sony Camera couldn't cope with the conditions - and refused to focus when I was attempting to take pictures.


Not long after, I returned to the commentary box and tapped away at my laptop - a brief - but thrilling engine fire from a Lotus distracting me for a moment or two before I returned to the laptop screen.


Before I knew it, the first part of the race was over - 7 hours had gone, just 5 remained - as me and my dad retired to our chambers, those with damaged cars worked long through the night to prepare their cars for the long day tomorrow.


It's at this point, opinions are split - do you keep racing overnight or do you stop?

24 Hour racing is gruelling - and you'd need marshals to stay up all night/marshals to take shifts - if this were the case - and as a low-cost charity event, it only makes sense to stop overnight.


The difference in opinion comes in regard to Parc Ferme - a 24 hour race (or indeed any endurance race) - tests how long a car (or team) can last - running flat-out for 12 or 24 hour can run a car down to the ground - but having the ability to repair cars overnight - some believe "ruins" the spirit of a 24 hour race - as someone who's had an entire engine rebuild has a SIGNIFICANT advantage over someone who's engine is just hanging on by a thread.


13/10/2022


I could spend this whole blog discussing the advantages and disadvantages of both - but one thing that can't be disputed is that time stops for nobody - and we (my dad and I) had a race to attend!


After a quick breakfast (cereal), we quickly headed back to the circuit.


As the race got underway, I knew I didn't have time to do a track-walk and get back for the remembrance service - so I just hung tight and stayed in the commentary box for the first hour and a bit.


As per tradition - the red/white checkered flag was waved - which momentarily bought racing to a stop - the race of remembrance being the only series/race in which this flag is used - and it's used to bring a stoppage to the race (hence the red) for a memorial service.


The service is always touching - no matter if you're leading, or have retired because the damage (to your car) is too great, everyone was at the race of remembrance for one shared reason to remember and commemorate those that have fought - and continue to fight in wars across the world for us today.


A saying that I think beautifully summarises this is "For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today".


And on further reflection, if it wasn't for them - I wouldn't be standing, attending a motor-race in a free country, life would be VASTLY different - and I can't begin to imagine how different.


I know I shouldn't be thinking about myself, but it's just crazy how many road-trips I've been to every corner of the country since February - whilst in Ukraine - and elsewhere in the world, regular people like myself don't have that luxury and can't just meet up with friends whenever they liked.


Without gushing up to them - Mission Motorsport is just an amazing charity - which combines two of my favourite things - motorsport and charity/helping people - and after being medically discharged (not all of them were), it almost gives them a meaning to live - something to do - and it's so wholesome to know there's a charity that helps service men and women past and present get into motorsport. I'm not aware of any other charity that does it.


I'm not one to be religious - but for the cause - I sung along to every song and answered the prayers.



After the service - everyone returned to racing, and I began my first FULL track-walk of the weekend.


On my way to Peel, I was distracted by some motor-cross activity which was happening next to the circuit - and I was honestly surprised at how much air-time they were getting - some of the riders must have only been 4 - 6 and they were properly going for it!

After capturing some pretty big "Sends" - I walked up to Peel, before resuming on along the Irish Sea coastline and got some more pictures from around the track.


As I had done for the past iterations of the event, during my track-walk, I made my way down to the beach (used for Biathlon of Foolishness) and thought about life (and how the beach needed a clean) - before being startled by a moving rock...which turned out to be a Seal.

It appeared as though the tide was coming in and the Seal was taking a little nap, although admittedly I was quite worried at first!


By the time I finished my track-walk, it was the final 2 hours or so of the race, so I opened up my laptop - and just stayed in the commentary box for the remainder of the race.


As my dad announced the winners/podium finishers etc, I finished up on my laptop and started clearing up my things - another successful year, and presumably everyone else would be packing up and either finishing up for the winter or returning to their usual race series.


After everything was said and done, I grabbed dinner from the nearest McDonalds, and then we headed back home - or well, to Oxted for a night at a service station Travelodge, before heading back to the Isle Of Wight on Monday.


Thank you for reading - I know it's not exactly been the "Race Report" that was expected, but I enjoyed myself, and had a great deep long chat with my dad on the way home and took some great pictures, so all in all a very successful and enjoyable weekend for all.


- Robin.















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