A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
The Martin Hone Collection Well respected worldwide for his many years of tireless work fund raising for charity, ebullient Birmingham entrepreneur Martin Hone is known by many of us for his deft handling of his beloved Porsche 906 round the circuits of Europe, his amusing and knowledgeable broadcasts on Radio Birmingham, and his uncanny ability to persuade the most talented Jazz musicians in the world to come and play live at his vibrant little Opposite Lock bistro and jazz venue in the heart of Birmingham. However, most people will associate his name with his very public, and ultimately successful twenty-year battle to bring motor racing on a closed circuit to the centre of Birmingham.Martin will modestly claim that he was only part of a team, but in reality, it was his vision, determination, energy and vitality that brushed aside the objections from a number of august bodies and eventually persuaded Parliament that it was a good idea. The fact that nearly every motor racing personality in the world from Juan Manuel Fangio to Carroll Shelby came to Birmingham to support him and over 100,000 people turned up to enjoy a variety of parades and ultimately action packed motor racing in the city, meant that it was, in fact, a very good idea. As if he didn't have enough to do, Martin's incredible organizing abilities were called into play again in January 1981, when on a visit to the Emirate of Dubai the plan was hatched to create the first ever motor racing event in the United Arab Emirates to coincide with their Tenth Anniversary Celebrations. The go-ahead was given by His Highness Shaikh Rashid bin Sa'id Al Maktoum in March 1981 with a date for the Dubai Grand Prix pencilled in for early December of that year !!!. The logistics must have been terrifying. All that had to be done was move twenty million tons of sand, design a Grand Prix circuit, build it, create the pits, paddock and stands, design and build an infrastructure of roads to access the seaside circuit, find somewhere for all those involved in the construction to live, start recruiting marshalls, officials etc., travel worldwide to find a dozen or so international partners and sponsors, negotiate travel, TV rights and legal arrangements, talk Citroen into providing 20 new cars (which they probably wouldn't want back) for a celebrity race, and finally persuade 30 top international racing drivers to come and play for the weekend. Daunting it may have been but it happened, and on the 3rd and 4th of December 1981, nine months after he was given the go ahead, it all culminated in a fabulous weekend of Motor Racing, Sun and Fun. We can only imagine that it was these early seeds of interest that have resulted in the success of modern day Formula One in the Middle East. Martin continued to take part in organising a host of motorsport events, large and small, throughout the Midlands including the Chequer Bitter Classic, Vintage Birmingham, Coventry' s contribution to the World Motoring Centenary, and the legendary Coventry Shakespeare Run which continued for twenty years. More recently he has been heavily involved in promoting, planning and participating in the biennial JNF UK London to Jerusalem Car Rally, which raises money for a number of special charities. Martin has generously decided to sell some of his collection of motoring memorabilia with all the proceeds destined for a couple of his favourite local charities and we are delighted that he has asked Silverstone Auctions to help.