Autotest The Junction named as 2022 Motorsport UK Organising Team of the Year

Tuesday 20 December 2022

The team from Larne Motor Club responsible for putting together Autotest The Junction have been recognised as the 2022 Motorsport UK Organising Team of the Year.

Introduced in 2020, the Organising Team of the Year Award is judged on an ability to work together and engage the local community whilst holding a successful event for all participants and attendees.

As an organising club of the Northern Ireland Autotest Championship, Larne opted to move their round of the series in 2022 to a more public-facing venue in a nearby retail complex’s car park, with the ambition of raising the profile of both the club, and Autotesting as a discipline.

Led by Team Leader Derek Dixon, the organising team – Jonathan Millar, Gillian Magee, Elliot Hayes, Paul Hutchinson, and Alistair Carmichael – successfully negotiated use of the venue, and set about new initiatives to raise the quality of the event to its highest level yet.

This included an expanded promotional plan, including the use of a student videographer to improve the quality and visibility of their social media content. In turn, this also offered increased visibility to local businesses and brought about increased sponsorship. Notable among them was a specialist car company, which provided a display of supercars for the duration of the event.

The team also live streamed some of the event in a bid to reach a wider audience online and provided a commentator to help guide spectators through the action.

Larne Motor Club also actively embraced new technologies to make the event more spectator-friendly, including the provision of QR codes around the spectator areas, complete with links to view a digital programme, event results and profiles for each competitor.

Test diagrams were also revised after consultation with the competitors to make them suitable to a wider range of vehicles, with a surge in entries amongst road vehicles. A new class was organised to allow young drivers to compete and network with experienced competitors, and spectators were actively encouraged to take photos in and around the cars for a family-friendly experience.

The event garnered over 1,000 spectators across the day, in addition to welcoming 20 new members to the club with plans to onboard more in 2023. The event also enabled the club to establish new and strong partnerships with The Junction Retail and Leisure Complex, with an event provisionally booked for 2023.

“We are delighted to have been acknowledged by Motorsport UK as the Organising Team of 2022,” commented the team. “The recognition of our passion for motorsport and desire to bring the grassroots discipline of Autotest closer to the public has the whole club thrilled. However, we could not have organised the event without the support of The Junction Retail & Leisure Complex, McMillan Specialist Cars and other clubs within the local motorsport community.”

Hugh Chambers, CEO of Motorsport UK said: “Autotest The Junction is a great example of bringing grassroots motorsport to the wider public, and I’d like to congratulate the team from Larne Motor Club on delivering a fantastic event.

“To proactively seek out a new venue in such a busy public space, then develop their usual event organisation to make it accessible to new spectators showed great initiative and vision. It’s very encouraging to hear this has translated into plenty of growing interest in their regular activities and events.”