The 2012 Annual Dinner certainly lived up to the billing of the “Best event of the year” when it was held at the weekend. The Mere Spa Resort and Golf Hotel played host to the event which grows every year and is now the key social event of the GTROC’s event calendar.
In previous years the Annual Dinner has been held in various counties across the UK but for 2012 it moved to the North West of England and, as a result, attracted people from across the UK, as well as Finland! As with all Annual Awards Dinners the day begins with the Annual General Meeting and a social gathering in a reserved area of the car park. For the majority of people that means travelling up the night before and making a real, long weekend of it. After the business end of the day is dealt with then it’s time to adjourn to the bar then get dressed up before returning to the bar again and then for diner.
This year’s dinner was sponsored by Macklin Motors and Nissan Motor GB. NMGB hosted a pre dinner Champagne reception which gave members, sponsors and guests the chance to meet and talk and to discuss the events of the day and the evening ahead. It is also a chance for sponsors to talk to their customers. As well as Headline Sponsors Macklin Motors the other sponsors for this year’s dinner included Glyn Hopkin, A F Noble, Middlehurst Motorsport and Litchfield Imports.
After canapes it was time for people to take their seats and for a four course meal. The food was superb and the conversation fantastic. A full catalogue of pictures can be found on the GTROC Flickr Wall
As a departure from previous dinners for 2012 we had an after dinner speaker booked. This will be the norm for future such events but for this year it was a first. Simon Hill, ITV commentator and ex professional racing driver began proceedings just as the coffees were being served. True to form Simon was as entertaining in real life as he is to listen to on ITV. Not only did he amuse us with anecdotes of his racing days and commentating faux pas but he also showed he knew a thing or two about GT-Rs – and the GTROC!
Following the after dinner speech it fell to the Club Chairman to celebrate another successful year and to reward those both in the club and from within Nissan sports for all they had achieved. Last on the order, but certainly by no means the least, were the NHPC of the Year and the Master Technician of the Year, but more about those separately.
New for 2012 were two new awards. The GTROC Team of the Year and the GTROC Feature Writer of the Year.
The presentations kicked off with the awards for best car. Sadly none of the Skyline drivers could attend the event so it was left to Jurgen Vallons to pick up his award and take a bow on behalf of Matt Brown, Matthew Jeff and Bobby Proctor.
Below are some of the winners for the evenings awards.
Quarter Miler of the Year: John Hanton
Team of the Year: GTROC TOTB Team
Other award winners not at the event included:
Mark Apsey Trophy: Ed Horner
Chairmans Trophy: Paul Creed
Feature Writer 2012: Aki Itoh who will be presented with his award on the next GTROC Tour to Japan in January 2013
Forum Contributor: Andy Healy collected on his behalf by Dominic
Track Day Warrior: Paul Kenshall
Socialite of the Year: Michael Bush
After the awards it was a time to relax, unwind and drink until the very early hours of the morning. Judging by the grey faces on Sunday morning it was agreed by all that the Annual Awards Dinner 2012 was the biggest and best yet and already everyone is looking forward to 2013 when it promises to be even better again.