Bleary eyed at 4.32am updating the 3D Engineers blog after a fantastic evening and early morning at the inaugural International Motoring Awards event.
The evening started well when on pulling up outside the wonderful architecture that is the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel – the event venue – I was met by the equally superb car architecture of a Mercedes Gullwing and Bugatti Atalante. The combination of classic architecture, classic cars and people milling around in classic evening wear was terrific.
Had a quick look at the new station. Magnificent and combining the old with new perfectly.
Subsequent to taking on board some gratis champagne, the evening began with fine food and wine and I was lucky enough to be on the same table as racing driver Paddy Hopkirk, Mark Dixon Octane deputy editor, Philip Porter the author, Sophie Kochan and a few other exceptionally pleasant and welcoming people.
After dinner the awards ceremony began and 3D Engineers was chosen as the winner for the Innovation of the Year category. The worst part of the evening then ensued when the most rubbish public speaker in the World – being me – had to go up and collect the award from Martin Brundle. As opposed to what I was told might happen being a quick turn around essentially being a handover, thank you and goodbye I was asked a few questions by the exceptionally pleasant and disarming Mr Brundle. Goodness knows if my answers made sense as fear was ever present standing up in front of my peers.
Philip Porter also won an award, so I think I was on the most successful table.
The highlight of the evening was still to come though and it manifested itself in Sir Stirling Moss winning a lifetime achievement award and having a three way conversation with himself, Tony Brooks and Martin Brundle. This culminated in a line that I am bound to get slightly wrong but in essence was this:
Martin Brundle to Sir Stirling: “Do you think motor racing is still fun”?
Sir Stirling “No. When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to speak to Vodafone. When I won a race I spoke to gorgeous ladies”!
There then followed seeing Mark Dixon and Robert Coucher from Octane off in a Bugatti and Mercedes respectively. They were driving them through the night to Geneva. Frankly, the sight and sound of these two cars warming up and then pulling away from the hotel will live with me forever. From the strapping down of the luggage on the bench rear seat of the Mercedes to the warm glow of the Bugatti headlights, the whole scenario was a spine tingling automotive superlative.
I congratulate everyone who organised this superb event and hope it becomes an annual feature.