Grouptyre Competition Winners Visit Ford Rally Aces
The two-month Pirelli promotion on wholesaler, Grouptyre’s website successfully boosted sales of Pirelli car, van and 4×4 tyres in the independent and garage sector by 10.7 per cent compared with the previous average sales of participating dealers. It was the first in a series of national incentives and exclusive promotions the wholesaler aims to run in conjunction with premium brand tyre manufacturers. In addition, the company – in conjunction with the Italian premium manufacturer – sent an independent retail manager to the World Rally Championship in Spain, allowed an auto-services site owner to send his sons to Oxfordshire for the Pirelli Driving Experience and gave the proprietor of an exhausts and tyre centre a Pirelli track day to enjoy with his son.
Aaron Bothamley, manager of Fairway Tyre and Auto Services in Rickmansworth, was delighted to win an all expenses paid trip to the WRC Rally of Spain in the promotion. Bothamley, accompanied by his brother-in-law Paul, joined a dawn VIP helicopter trip to familiarise themselves with the sweeping asphalt roads of stage one before moving on to the third stage, where they watched defending World Rally Champion and current Championship leader Sebastien Loeb and BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala demonstrate their skills. Then it was on to the service area for lunch with team principal Malcolm Wilson and the drivers.
“The flights, hotel, food and overall organisation were superb, in fact the whole weekend was absolutely fantastic,” said Bothamley, who is supplied by Grouptyre member Broadway Tyres. “Tracking the action along an international rally stage was just the most amazing experience and I can’t stress enough how well we were looked after by Pirelli and Ford.”
Competition runner-up Alan Gadsby, owner of AG Services in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire, donated his prize of a Pirelli Driving Experience at the Prodrive circuit in Oxfordshire to his sons. Richard Gadsby especially enjoyed the adverse handling activity, during which participants drove a Fiesta ST along a one-mile course with just a single straight to get a flavour of what it is like to tackle a rally special stage. For Alan’s elder son Jonathan the highlight of the day was driving a Subaru Impreza STI with paddle gear change around the high speed circuit.
“My sons thoroughly enjoyed themselves and described the activities as a real eye opener. Everything ran like clockwork and they were really well looked after,” said Gadsby, who is supplied by We Sell Tyres (Wholesale) of Nottingham. “I think it’s great when companies like Pirelli and Grouptyre do something like this as a way of giving something back to the retail trade and I’m glad to be part of it.”
Derek Campbell, proprietor of Derek Campbell Exhausts & Tyre Centre in Stockton on Tees, took part in a Pirelli-sponsored track day at the Knockhill Racing Circuit along with his son Dez. They particularly enjoyed the karting and smart pursuit, the Dunfermline circuit’s new high adrenaline activity in which two drivers in roadster-coupes compete against each other on a mirror image track to post the fastest time.
Campbell, who is a customer of NE Wholesale, said: “I’d like to thank Grouptyre and Pirelli for organising such a fantastic day. We were very impressed with the organisation and the instructors, who struck a fine balance by making sure everyone got the most out of the experience without feeling under any pressure to perform.”