How to try and match the success of the 2010 CAT Awards? A pretty tough act to follow but our guests at the 2011 bash tell us they had just as good a time.
The venue â€“Â Twickenham Stadium â€“ was fantastic. The Live Room provided a great backdrop for lunch and the awards ceremony and the Members Bar overlooking the pitch was the perfect setting for the after-event celebration.
It was particularly entertaining to see so many guests sneaking down the steps for a pitch close-up and wandering into the tunnel for a sneak around the changing rooms.
And, being a CAT event, it of course ended with Twickenham security politely asking a group of aftermarket heavy-hitters to please vacate the England changing room.
Former publisher Jim Foster has gone on record pointing the finger of blameÂ elsewhere and insisting he was merely following others and was in no way whatsoever, at all the ring-leader in the mischief-making.
Jim did a great job last year as compere, and that was one area I knew he would be too tough an act to follow so I was happy to delegate that task to a professional. Star of Radio Le Mans and Goodwood, Henry Hope-Frost did the honours on stage and conducted a highly entertaining interview with our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, John Haynes OBE.
I took it as a thumbs-up for our choice of winner as guests sat captivated by his account of how the Haynes Publishing empire was founded and the growth it has seen over the last 50 years. Haynes also generously donated copies of their book commemorating the companyâ€™s first half century â€“ and a great many of our guests took the opportunity to get their copy signed by the man himself.
At this point, I need to say a big thank you to the guys from Haynes, not just for providing the books as a gift to our guests but also for managing to persuade John to attend under the pretext of being interviewed on stage in lieu of a speaker.
None of the award winners knew beforehand that they would be successful, and thatâ€™s the way it should be. Iâ€™m also really grateful to the number of finalists who travelled long distances and in some instances, had to close their business for the day in order to attend.
CAT is also indebted to the Awards sponsors: Castrol, Corteco, Denso, Euro Car Parts, Haynes, Motaquip and TRW. Without their support and backing we wouldnâ€™t be able to make the day a fraction of the event it has become.
A big thank you also goes to Silverstone Circuits for generously donating a Silverstone Experience track day as the raffle prize, won by Wyn Jones of GMF (he had quite a successful day!) which helped us to raise Â£770 for BEN.
All the feedback weâ€™ve had from the day was tremendously positive and we look forward to making the CAT Awards 2012 even bigger and better.
You can read about all the winners in the forthcoming Awards issue of CAT Mag, and also here