Now in its fourth year, the Ben Automotive Challenge Cup is one of the highlights of the Lookers calendar, giving us an opportunity to battle it out against other motor industry teams for the accolade of winner of the Ben Automotive Challenge Cup. This year, with the Lookers Electric Charge in full swing, we were even more excited and raring to go to compete for such a brilliant cause.
Sponsored by Sunsail events, for every yacht entered into the Automotive Challenge Cup, £650 is given straight to Ben, the charity which provides support to those working in the automotive industry who experience hardship or distress.
Following the practice day in serene seas, the 12 teams had an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the racing machines and a whole new vocabulary of jibbing, tacking and grinding. The practice day set the teams up for a day bobbing around the sedate Solent.
Teams met as the sun rose, or we think the sun rose, on Port Solent on an uncharacteristically blustery June morning. The 30 knot wind drove down the Solent cutting through our layers of waterproofs and waders. Starkly different to the practice run, it was a day that would challenge even the most experienced sailors. Once participants enjoyed breakfast overlooking the choppy seas, they got down to business and boarded the boats (or yachts as the more refined would say!)
As a member of the support team, along with my colleagues, I followed the Lookers Electric Charge yacht and the fleet in a RIB. Now, if you don’t know what a RIB is, it’s basically just a massive rubber dinghy but (as we were assured by the skipper, Steve) much safer. As we bounced across the waves, my knuckles white from clinging on, I wasn’t so sure, but once we got into the swing of it, we all relaxed and were ready to support our Lookers’ sailors.
Two races took place over the course of a morning, followed by a leisurely lunch on board. But the fun didn’t stop there as two more races took place on the afternoon before a soggy return to shore.
The Lookers spinnaker was flown which helped push us to a seventh finish in the first race and a sixth position in the remaining races.
Once everyone had dried off and warmed up, the day was finished off with Afternoon Tea and prize giving ceremony at Wildwood Port Solent. We came fifth overall but as our teachers always said, it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts! We had loads of fun and raised plenty of money for a great cause.
Founded in 1905, Ben is a charity that has become a lifeline for many people within the motor industry and provides tailored, holistic care and support services focused on four main pillars of health and wellbeing: financial, physical, mental and social.
Last year saw Ben help over 3,000 people from all corners of the automotive industry, including free support services to colleagues and their families, as well as high quality care for those in later life at its care centres or in their own homes.
Lookers Electric Charge
Lookers are also raising money for Ben through the Lookers Electric Charge. The initiative represents this year’s Industry Leader Challenge run by Ben, which is passed on every year by a business or organisation within the automotive industry to raise vital funds for the charity. This year, Lookers CEO, Andy Bruce, has been handed the baton and he’s invited the rest of the Lookers family to help him out. Together, people from Lookers are making their way around and UK and Ireland using only electric vehicles.
You can follow all the action from the Lookers Electric Charge microsite at LOOKERS.CO.UK/EC4BEN, the Lookers YouTube Channel LookersWebTV, and Lookers’ Facebook and Twitter pages @lookersgroup, all of which use the hashtag #LookersEC4Ben.