David Richards Friends’ Evening

What an excellent Friends’ evening on Saturday 10th March, where members had front row seats for the Graham Robson and David Richards interview.

The audience was captivated by Graham drawing out the many interesting stories of how David’s career started.

From his rally partnership with Ari Vatanan, to turning his focus on organising rallies by establishing his own motorsport consultancy. Creating Prodrive, to engineer and run the newly formed Rothmans Porsche Rally Team in the European and Middle East Rally Championships, highlighted his vision with restructuring and design

David’s ability to spot opportunity and talent led to him overseeing the development of the early careers of drivers such as Colin McRae, and later Richard Burns and Petter Solberg, as well as forging various relationships with amongst others; Porsche, BMW, Subaru and very significantly, Aston Martin.

A lot of what David did and said, was very visionary and opened up the various roads he travelled – or should that be rallied? – down, including a brief foray into Formula One.

His awareness to lead from the front, as well as his ability to hand control over to his team is what has made his company grow from strength to strength, and when Graham asked him what has been his most defining moment, he replied “I think the best is yet to come!”

David’s next chapter is Chairman-elect of UK governing body the Motor Sports Association (MSA), and again his vision for the MSA holds much promise. As the next Chairman, he will be responsible for the overall strategy and direction of the organisation, which represents approximately 30,000 competitors, 10,000 volunteer marshals and officials, and 750 clubs.

We wish David every success in his new role!

Don’t forget to join us for another Friends evening on Saturday 28th April to meet two of the original three Speed Queens and hear about how Beaulieu One Hundred member Bron Burrell was reunited with Tina Kerridge and her beloved Austin Maxi Puff the Magic Wagon, after life events drove Bron to seek out some of her rallying past.

Herewith some feedback on David’s talk from member Roger Woodbridge … A big “thank you” to the Beaulieu One Hundred and Friends of Beaulieu for organising another excellent evening.  Last Saturday I spent a thoroughly enjoyable 3 hours listening to” motor racing royalty” David Richards C.B.E. being interviewed by Graham Robson.
It is impossible not to respect him.  His obvious drive, determination and leadership of someone who has positively contributed at the highest levels Motorsport, over the last 40 years.
He started from humble beginnings in Mid Wales becoming co driver with Tony Pond then Ari Vatanan.  After setting up Prodrive he has run rally Teams for Subaru culminating in winning the 1995 World Rally Championship with Colin McRae.  Indeed, the company has even gone on to support Ben Ainslie in his America’s Cup bid. He has been Team Principal of B.A.R. and for the Benetton F1 team.  He organised the purchase Aston Martin and was their Chairman.  Most recently Chairman of the M.S.A.
With the latter, he promises to:- 1/ reduce the bureaucracy, 2/encourage the entertainment value of the sport while 3/ Utilising technology.  Three worthwhile and much needed goals, I would suggest.
In each motor sport disciple, he has stamped his own badge growing businesses. He was very honest listing the tough times he has endured during which support from his charming wife Karen was pivotal. She herself runs two hotels in St Mawes in Cornwall.
Overall, it was a privilege to listen to the “living legend” in British Motorsport.
Roger Woodbridge

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