Love at First Sight

With the top down, your flat cap on, you are ready for some fun. ‘The Helluvit Sports Car Club’ certainly thinks so. With the wind in your hair, an engine purring, you may venture out over the southern corridor of England with a group of like-minded adventurers.

...your flat cap on...

The members all have sports cars, GTs or convertibles. A non profit group, charging no membership or participation fees, it is free to join: the idea is to meet up for monthly events and road runs, giving members the opportunity to enjoy meeting up with other sports car fans and making the most of driving through Britain’s wonderful countryside – in style! What’s not to like about that? All you need is the ‘right’ car! Of course colour is important and helps to style your ensemble. A hat is essential for protection from the elements and goes further to add a chic look. The shape, the fit and the fabric all support this in so many ways.

...to add a chic look.

The aerodynamics of the brim is important; too much drag and your hat will be lost in the exhaust fumes and vanish over the horizon behind you. A shape offers a silhouette that defines you, your character and who you are from the inside out. The club’s founder, David Jones, certainly uses hats in this way. From a stylish wool flat cap to a branded baseball cap, he wears them all - and well. Furthermore, he likes to ‘push the envelope’ and wear unusual shapes and play with style. A deer stalker defined his late teens while more classic styles have followed.

...he likes to ‘push the envelope’...

Coming back to the Car Club, drivers like to take to the roads and have secure parking when they stop for their obligatory coffee and cake. I understand there is a lot of cake involved. Taking a special car out and meeting members is a joy. There are no rules: members come on some trips and on average about eight cars converge at a designated destination. If the cars are travelling together, and numbers exceed a certain number in convoy, the police are informed. It looks casual but there is plenty of planning in the background.

As well as running the Helluvit sports car club, David is also involved with an off-road rally team: Excite Team GB, which has set its sights on taking part in the Dakar Rally. The terrain, weather and skills involved are unique and very challenging: the Dakar Rally is often categorised as ‘the most difficult event’ in motor sports. The team is currently fielding an all-female team, which will be a first.

...focused on the Dakar Rally...

Working with the team principal, sourcing sponsorship, developing partnerships, working on P.R., handling logistics and team training, there is a lot for the team to think about and David is thrilled to be a part of this. As with the sports car club, hats and helmets feature prominently in the Excite team, with team members wearing baseball caps, beanies and FIA-approved helmets and balaclavas. This headwear has to serve various functions, including broadcasting the sponsorship, keeping heads warm or protected from the elements, keeping people safe – and looking stylish into the bargain…..

All steps are scheduled carefully. Cars and parts sometimes have to be prepared and shipped out 6 months before the race. Of course, along with the race preparations, hats also have to be ordered and helmets designed in every form. Each race is planned in detail to offer spectators and participants some wonderful experiences and provide sponsors with the opportunity to showcase their brand and products or services.

Hats feature prominently...

Starting with fireproof balaclavas, moving on to helmets that offer full-face protection, the team’s safety headwear is designed and constructed to help withstand impacts and decorated in magnificent designs that wrap around the head to offer a colour sensation with a twist, all the while raising the profile of the sponsors.

...designs that wrap around the head...

Both the Helluvit sports car club and the Excite off-road race team have taken part in numerous events over recent years. For example, besides their regular, monthly meets and road runs, Helluvit members completed a 2000 mile, 8-day tour round France, before lockdown and travel restrictions came into force.

The club and the team have also exhibited at events such as Wheels, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Bournemouth’s new ‘Motors by the Sea’ festival. Of course there are always opportunities for team and club members to wear their hats at all of these events and ‘style it out’!

David’s club members and fellow Excite GB Team members are always searching for ‘that perfect hat’! Take a look.

See which car you ‘fall in love with at first sight.’

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