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NEW Leighton Buzzard golf club Captain Simon Rossiter was installed in style on Sunday, driven to the first tee in a classic 60-year old Austin-Healy “frog eyed” Sprite, followed by a cavalcade of other vehicles, their owners and club members.
The drive-in ruse was the work of Vice Captain Graham Freer designed to capture 54-year-old Simon’s passion for acquiring, restoring and rallying classic cars. Winner of the Speedsports Rally championship in 1998, Simon has also won numerous awards in international rallies, including the Monte Carlo, Rallye des Alpes and London-to-Lisbon events.
Born in Cornwall, Simon joined the RAF in 1983 with his sights set on becoming a Tornado pilot – switching to flying Chinooks when told he was too tall for the cockpit of the jet fighter. After completing his service, he joined the Driving Standards Agency and is currently operations director for the organisation responsible for delivering the policies for driving tests, cars, lorries and motorbikes and MoT testing for goods vehicles.
Simon, driven to the first tee by Sprite owner David Hack, 76, who had an identical car as a teenager, joined Leighton golf club in 2010 and for several years, has been a member of the management committee. He is also heading the team planning club centenary celebrations in 2025.
Vice Captain Graham was driven to the tee by County golf secretary David Hawkins in his 50-year-old Triumph TR6, with three other teams in the starting line-up before Ed Stephenson (Junior Captain), Christine Rimmer (Ladies Captain) and Ian Rimmer (Seniors Captain) teed-off.
The traditional two clubs and a putter drive-in competition on the day was won by data engineer Mark Reynolds. whose 16 point haul on the back nine holes earned  him top- spot over Phil Eddy after both tied with 36 points. The chasing pack of Nigel Barnes, Darren Valentine, Brandon Sanders and Andy McDonald all had 34 points.
At Friday’s annual meeting, President Brian Carter said the club was in the process of reviewing its management and operational structure, and anticipated reform proposals from a working group later in the year.
Treasurer Philip Whitecross, named as ‘Clubman of the Year’ by retiring Captain Robbie John, said the club was financially sound  and that work on a new state-of-the-art course irrigation system costing over £500,000 is progressing well.
The club has also restructured its joining fees and subscription rates for new members under the age of 40 in a drive to encourage more people in that age group to take up the sport. Savings of up to £750 are being made available to new members, offering unlimited access to the Plantation Road course, free reciprocal golf with six other clubs and other benefits.
Out-going Captain Robbie reported that £12,500 had been raised during the year for charity, with donations being made shortly to two local organisations.
PIT STOP… Graham Freer and new club Captain Simon Rossiter (right) at Sunday’s drive-in with classic car owner David Hack at the wheel.
CLASSIC LINE-UP… New club Captain Simon Rossiter and his “Vice” Graham Freer with other team members at Sundays drive-in.