Dear motorsport fan,
With regret, the 2016 Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix will be our last outing as Motorsport in Pubs.
After an extraordinary five years of service to the fans, it’s time to move on. Whilst my enthusiasm for motorsport stays as strong as it ever has, I cannot guarantee the same level of quality control over what we do as I did at the start. This is for a number of reasons; my partner Anna and recently had our second child Xander – who joins his three year old sister Aletheia in our family; in the last year I decided to retrain in mental health care as I have long had a passion to support some of the most vulnerable in our society; I’m also standing for Parliament at the next election (whenever it comes) and with issues such as Brexit dominating our politics I cannot simply take a step back. All of these factors and more mean I can’t give the time I used to growing Motorsport in Pubs.
Starting its life in 2012 as F1 in Pubs (before the name change – buy me a pint some time and I’ll tell you the true story) I honestly felt that it would never become anything more than four or five people getting together occasionally at a pub in London to watch Grands Prix. I never dreamed that there would be such a groundswell of support for the idea, with fans wanting something set up near them in places around the country. One of the greatest moments for me was seeing a pub in London hosting F1 fans on two floors to watch the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix, standing room only for some, and having to switch off the Euro football match that clashed with the race because F1 had more interest. Even greater was hearing that two people who had met a few years ago at one of our events are now getting married – maybe I should set up a motorsport themed dating agency next!
There are so many other great experiences, too many to mention in this text and I’m sorry if you’re reading this and I’ve left you out – there’s just too much to mention. I’ve followed Formula 1 since 1990, so having the chance to get into the paddock at Silverstone, interview and talk to drivers and team bosses was something dreams are made of. I’d like to pay particular tribute to the late John Horton for allowing the experience and I hope his family are well. Thank you also to Codemasters for all the times you gave our events exclusive gameplay of the new F1 games and to Sky Sports F1 for all the TV appearances and mentions – particularly to our patron David Croft for being so supportive (I hope you’re still getting use of your bespoke tankard.)
One person that deserves an enormous amount of thanks and praise is my friend Paul Hadsley, who since it began has been a stakhanovite worker for F1 in Pubs/Motorsport in Pubs. His commitment to keeping our presence strong in Birmingham and running our regular podcast should be commended – I don’t underestimate how hard it is to organise large groups of fans at a pub nearly every Sunday, year in year out, sometimes at stupid hours of the morning. Thank you Paul. Praise must also be given to Jake Sanson and everyone who has ever contributed to Downforce Radio for all the promotion. It’s been a great help and I know that Jake and all the team will continue to go far.
Thank you to all our partner pubs over the last five years. I hope I helped to drive sales up at least a little on a Sunday. To anyone reading this, pubs won’t stop showing motorsport, please continue to support your local. Thank you to our sponsors over the years and the financial and promotional support you have given.
Lastly, thank you to all the hundreds and thousands of fans that made F1 in Pubs/Motorsport in Pubs the experience it was. I’m sad that it’s coming to an end this season but have enjoyed all the relationships and long term friendships I’ve made from it. I hope you have too.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix looks to be a barnstormer. Let me know on Twitter or Facebook who you think will win the title, and share your experiences over the last five years.
For one last time, check here for pubs showing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, or email email@example.com if nothing is near you and I’ll do my hardest to find you one.
My warmest thanks for everything,
Founder, Motorsport in Pubs
PS. Who knows? Maybe we’ll be back again one day!