Former F1 driver is guest speaker at motor club’s anniversary dinner

Club Champion Robert Lowrie receiving his award from Ex Lotus F1 driver Martin Donnelly
Club Champion Robert Lowrie receiving his award from Ex Lotus F1 driver Martin Donnelly

Berwick and District Motor Club celebrated its 75th anniversary on Saturday night, bringing together club members old and new, from the true clubman right up to some of the most successful people in motorsport.

The event should have taken place in November 2010 but had to be cancelled then due to the heavy snow and bad weather.

The rescheduled event was held at the Black and Gold at Shielfield Park when the 150-strong guest list enjoyed listening to guest speaker, former Lotus Formula One driver Martin Donnelly.

Martin told his audience about his rise through motor racing, and about the drivers and personalities he met on the way, including ex-team owner turned BBC TV pundit Eddie Jordan and former world champions Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill.

Martin finished off by explaining in detail about the near-fatal accident which ended his career and displayed his badly damaged crash helmet and steering wheel.

Also on stage on Saturday were club president and World Rally Championship winning team manager Andrew Cowan.

Andrew told of his early days in motorsport with the Berwick and District Club.

He joined the club in 1955 and reminisced about the club nights at Stoddard’s Rum Puncheon and the club events such as road rallies and events at nearby Winfield.

Andrew continued, ably assisted by the club stalwart David Hodges, to praise the club and its members like vice-president and ladies world rally champion Louise Aitken Walker MBE and Ian Scott Watson, for helping to continually raise the profile of the club.

He finished by paying tribute to his personal friend and double Formula One world champion Jim Clark, who was a club member and supported the club throughout his whole career.

The evening also included the annual awards presentation.

The Club Championship trophy was awarded to Robert Lowrie, with John Straughan runner-up. Ladies Champion was Donna Dugdale and Junior Champion Ollie Deans.

Drivers Champion was Archie Simmonds, Champion Navigator was Richard Simmonds and top marshal Darren Smith.

Several members and past club champions - Dom Buckley, William Cowan, Ian Deans, David Hodges and Derek Purdy - were awarded lifetime honorary memberships to celebrate the 75th anniversary.

Special recognition awards were also given to Michael Deans, Colin Pagan, Jacqueline Scott and Graham Walker for their outstanding support.

The event was deemed a great success by members past and present, some of whom had travelled several hundred miles to reminisce and celebrate this memorable occasion.

With 75 years now under the club’s belt, let’s look forward to the next 75 years!