Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay connected with NAA

Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter

Stay in touch. Get all the latest NAA news and events straight to your email.

Please fill in the email box and click the sign up button

    NAA event review: Business Excellence meeting – Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Friday 13 June 2014

    The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power was the adrenaline-fuelled backdrop for the NAA’s Business Excellence meeting held on Friday 13th June 2014, and there was even the unique opportunity to experience the challenging Pageant circuit

    Although the main focus of the meeting was a series of presentations from North West companies involved in motorsport, there were also added bonuses for some, for example one lucky individual had their name pulled out of a hat to win a drive of the circuit, courtesy of Ford. Matthew Rose, Director at TISS, experienced the 1.2 mile circuit from behind the wheel of both a Ford Fiesta ST and a Ford Focus ST. Matthew had never driven on a racing track before, but emerging with a huge grin after his second Ford lap, you could see why people get the racing bug. “Being able to drive the circuit in two fast Fords was certainly an unexpected benefit from attending an NAA meeting. I’ll definitely be back next year!” said Matthew.

    As well as Matthew’s Ford ST experience, ten other attendees at the meeting won passenger rides of the circuit in the Honda Insight rally car of NAA member Paul Andrews from Oaktec. The Oaktec Honda is famous for winning rallies AND economy marathons, but on this occasion the aim was to give the lucky winners a high speed tour of the Pageant circuit. Paul Andrews is now plotting to return to the Pageant in the future with a specialist vehicle to challenge the fastest lap times.

    Apart from the extensive networking that also took place, there were presentations from Juno Racing, FDM Digital Solutions, BAC and Surface Transforms.

    Ewan Baldry presented about his company, Juno Racing, which designs and manufactures racing cars as well as providing track support for customers all over the world. Juno’s approach covers aero surface design, CFD development and analysis, mechanical and body detailed design, and a mixture of in-house and outsourced manufacture. Ewan also said that the NAA had helped with providing links to the more mainstream automotive industry, as well as providing fantastic networking opportunities and introductions to other support networks.

    FDM Digital Solutions gave a presentation about the company’s pioneering use of 3D printing. FDM has the latest Connex Polyjet printer, which is the only printer of its type in the UK, and which can print plastics and rubber components at the same time. FDM works with industry sectors including Automotive and Formula 1 to help reduce time-to-market, and design and manufacturing costs. The company offers a 3D rapid prototyping and CAD design service, a 3D scanning facility for reverse engineering applications, and the ability to invert 3D CAD data into tooling jigs and fixtures. It can produce concept car/wind tunnel models, helping with a quicker time from concept to final design.

    Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) gave a presentation about the history of its single-seater, road legal Mono. This covered areas ranging from product benchmarking and how the design evolved, to the sensational feedback from the media and how the Mono set the second fastest lap time on Top Gear, only being beaten by the Pagani Huayra (by just 0.5 of a second), which costs almost ten times more than a Mono. BAC is now producing the Mono in a new factory in Liverpool in order to satisfy the global demand for the car.

    Surface Transforms specialises in carbon ceramic brake technology. The company is the UK’s only manufacturer of carbon-ceramic materials, and is one of just a few ceramic brake disc manufacturers in the world. Compared to steel brakes, carbon ceramic brakes are lightweight (with a weight saving of 50-70%); they improve handling (due to reduced unsprung weight); they have improved and consistent performance; and have a high tech appeal. Surface Transforms has carried out a Niche Vehicle Network project with BAC, applying ceramic brake technology to a lightweight niche vehicle for the first time. The company has a target to become an OEM supplier in two years.

    BAC was also competing in the Pageant with its Mono. The Pageant has an incredibly weird and wonderful range of machinery that takes to the track, including pre-war racing cars with huge engines, and even Supermoto bikes with their completely crazy riders, but of most relevance to the majority of drivers is the category of Supercars & Track Day cars. The narrow and twisty Pageant sprint circuit is more technically challenging than the wide and sweeping Goodwood hill, so it’s always interesting to see which production car posts the fastest lap time.

    This year the cars in the Supercars & Track Day class included the Caterham Seven 620R, McLaren 650 S, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Ford GT40, Mercedes SLS AMG, Bentley Continental GT Speed, Ferrari 458 Italia, Lotus Exige S, Nissan GTR and Lamborghini Diablo. So which car had the fastest time when all of its five runs over the weekend were averaged out? Based on this criteria, the winner was the BAC Mono, driven by Duncan Tappy, with an average lap time of 64.18 seconds. The next fastest car was the more powerful Ariel Atom 3.5R, with an average lap time of 66.21 seconds.

    In terms of the individual fastest lap, the BAC Mono was a virtually imperceptible 0.08 of a second behind the Atom – 61.03 seconds compared to 60.95 seconds. This amazing result shows that the Mono is more capable on the Pageant circuit than the long list of supercars that it left trailing in its wake.

    BAC director Neill Briggs commented: “Duncan drove fantastically. He and Niki Faulkner had a great battle, trading fastest times throughout and wowing the crowds. We had a really fun weekend, it’s always nice to see so many enthusiastic faces around the car and showing everyone what the car is capable of.”

    Another company that has recently joined the NAA is Chevron (see separate article). Chevron also enjoyed success at the Pageant, with a B25 driven by Keith Harris winning its Historic F1 & Single Seater class, with a fastest time of 66.62 seconds.

    The NAA meeting had one final surprise up its sleeve – the chance to win a drive of the BAC Mono. Possibly the luckiest person ever on Friday 13th turned out to be Ken Thompson from Hylomar, who will now be driving the Mono at later date. Make sure you keep reading our newsletter over the coming months to see what Ken thought of the car!

    Commenting on the event, NAA Chief Executive Carol Holden OBE said “The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power is the North West’s largest, most dynamic and entertaining automotive event, so it seems natural that the NAA should be involved. The feedback about our meeting has been very positive, and so we plan to attend next year and do something bigger and better. The 50 people that we brought to the event from organisations working in the region’s automotive sector will now have first-hand experience of the Pageant, and many will hopefully also want to return next year to use this unique environment to entertain their own customers.”

    There’s nothing better than to hear directly from attendees about what they think of meetings, and there was no shortage of favourable comments about this event:

    “This is one not to miss next year!” said Paul Darwent, Chairman at Mini Gears. “It was a very successful gathering at the Pageant of Power; the venue could not have been a better location for all things that that are fast and furious – and very loud – both on the track and on water. The guest speakers all did a great job and their stories were all the more interesting as you could witness the cars and environments that these products would be used in after the meeting. I enjoyed the event so much I stayed all day, and even whilst having a drink in the afternoon I was lucky enough to meet one of the new buyers at Bentley Motors who kindly took my business card and hopefully will create an opening for us! To round off the day there must have been over 20,000 people turn up in the early evening to watch Status Quo playing a great gig, finishing around 11pm. There can’t be many business events in the year when you can do all this all in one day! One very satisfied customer!”

    Rob Leatherbarrow from Culimeta Saveguard, who attended an NAA meeting for the first time, commented: “What an interesting event. It’s really motivating to see how many companies are involved in automotive manufacturing and development in the North West. The seminar itself was a good opportunity to see what services these companies offer and we picked some useful contacts from this which we would otherwise not have looked into. The NAA hosted a well structured event made even more special with the opportunity of taking in such a broad range of historic and modern vehicles on show in such splendid surroundings.”

    “Set against the backdrop of Cholmondeley Castle, with perfect weather, the scene was set for a productive NAA Business Excellence meeting. The presentations delivered throughout the morning highlighted a wealth of innovative and creative spirit, supported by sound underlying business models. Briggs Automotive Company epitomises this with the Mono being one of the cars that generated a lot of attention during the CPOP event. The support provided by the NAA was clearly appreciated by all those in attendance with many of the companies acknowledging this throughout their presentations and via the networking opportunity that took place following the meeting.” Lee Farnworth, NGF EUROPE.

    Read more and see further images of the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power 2014 at

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham