The father-and-son team behind laundry equipment manufacturers HJ Weir Engineering Co. Ltd. & Weir Laundry Equipment Co. Ltd in Chepstow is taking its love for rally driving to a new level by sponsoring the Chepstow Racecourse-based Wyedean Forest Rally for three years starting in 2014. The event, which takes place on 15th February, will henceforth be known as the Weir Engineering Wyedean Forest Rally.
As one of the world’s largest manufacturers of flatwork finishing equipment, the family firm’s business has no obvious connection with rallying, but Rob and Ross Weir are enthusiastic participants in the sport and are both keen to support the Forest of Dean Motor Club, organisers of the event.
“It’s good to support a local motor club at a local event,” says MD Rob, 60. “It’s a well-organised event, they are all volunteers and they put a lot of work into it.”
The Wyedean Forest Rally holds special significance for both the Weirs. Rob was a keen rally driver in his younger days but gave up when son Ross, now 30 and a director of the firm, was a toddler. The Wyedean Forest Rally was his final event before retiring and it was also the same event that later got him back into driving.
“Two years ago the Forest of Dean Motor Club approached us to see if we had a suitable facility in which carry out scrutineering for the rally,” he says. “We accommodated them and provided warehouse facilities. When we watched the rally that year, Ross said that I should have another go. I got the bug back and decided to do something reckless, just at the age when most people are packing it in.”
The pair bought a Subaru Impreza, built by Rob Smith Rallying Ltd., and started driving as a team, with Rob as driver and Ross as co‐driver, starting with the Wyedean Forest Rally in 2012. They have since enjoyed considerable success, most notably at the Sol Rally in Barbados where, two years in a row, they have been placed second in their M8‐A category in 2012 and International Historic 2013.
HJ Weir is particularly looking forward to being sponsor for the fortieth anniversary celebrations of the Wyedean Forest Rally in 2015 and plans are already afoot to mark the event in style.