Cirencester’s Roland Jones Looks Back on a Weekend in the Fast Lane
What do you do in your spare time? It’s a fun question that always promises a few surprises. From familiar everyday hobbies to outlandish adrenalin-pumping pursuits, over the years we’ve learned that UBC clients have no shortage of fascinating ways to fill their weekends.
Just ask motorsports enthusiast Roland Jones.
Roland is based at UBC Cirencester, the regional office for Schroders, the UK’s largest asset manager. When he’s not managing investments on behalf of clients, Roland lives for motorsport - participating on both two and four wheels. For most of this year he’s been unable to enjoy his sport owing to coronavirus restrictions. But earlier this month, things took a slightly unexpected turn when Roland received one of those “what are you doing next weekend?” calls from a rallying friend.
One of his rallying contacts had been asked to demonstrate a valuable ex works Lancia Delta Integrale rally car at the Goodwood Speed Week in October - and he needed a co-driver.
Despite being run ‘behind closed doors’, the 2020 Speed Week event - which replaced the world-famous Festival of Speed and Revival meetings owing to the pandemic - offered an opportunity for competitors to run through the gears and put on an interactive, live-streamed spectacle for racing fans.
Goodwood’s spectator areas and access roads, together with the start / finish straight of the circuit were turned into a makeshift rally stage, where rally cars from the infamous 1980s Group B era brought the visceral sights and sounds of that period to the West Sussex venue.
Using his highly detailed pace-notes, Roland’s task was to direct his driver at high speed along the tree and bale lined course without incident... no mean task considering that neither had even sat in the Lancia before the event. Not to mention the spotlights were set too low, which limited visibility, and the car (which had been driven in the era by a world champion or two) was worth as much as driver Tim’s house!
After 6 runs over two days, which included a blast though a narrow vehicle tunnel at 70mph, the team returned the car to the owner unscathed and their run made it onto Speed Weeks’ “Best Group B Rally Runs” clip.
Needless to say, here at UBC we were happy to see Roland safely back in his office on Monday after a weekend in the fast lane!