Sadly, the all-new Mazda MX-5 so kindly lent to us by Mazda has had to go back, however the journeys undertaken by GForces’ staff are still the subject of conversation around our offices. If you missed the first part of our iconic journey, you can read it here. Below, we document the second half of the trips undertaken to visit places that are iconic to those lucky enough to get the car for a day or two.
Location 16 – Roads around Harrietsham and Lenham. Lander Olabarri, Digital Video Producer: “I took the all-new MX-5 to the country lanes around Harrietsham and Lenham, a few miles away from our head office. It’s here where we undertook a lot of filming for the previous MX-5, so it seemed right to bring the new one here. The car is really fun to drive with every control in the perfect distance place. It is my first experience with a convertible, but it’s not very practical as a family car”
Location 17 – Perry Woods, Selling. Michael Badmin, Software Tester: Perry woods in Selling, Kent, was my childhood playground. Being a Mazda RX8 owner, I have been keen to drive the new MX5- and I was definitely not disappointed! This car really is a joy to drive and handled the country road twists and turns with ease. There is a decent level of grip and the steering is light, giving a confident, sharp turn in. The suspension provides a comfortable ride, but it doesn’t distract from maintaining a connection with the road – I really enjoyed my time with this great little car!
Location 18 – Lakeside. Lauren McLay, Client Services Executive: “When I moved from Scotland to Kent, Lakeside Shopping Centre was one of the places I regularly drove to when I was exploring my new area. It was great to go back and fill the boot of the new MX-5, which swallowed a surprising amount of shopping!”
Location 19 – Gunhill Studios. Martin bean, Senior Multimedia Producer: “Over the past year, Gun Hill Studios has been a cornerstone of the media assets we’ve been creating for Mazda as part of our work with them. We are fortunate that the roads on the way down to Gun Hill, through Sussex suit the MX-5 perfectly.”
Location 20 – Lydden Hill. Dan Rogers, Marketing Account Manager: This is where I did my first track day in my Mk1 Mazda MX-5. We’d bought the car from eBay and took it here straight away to see how it would perform as it’s my local track. We discovered the car needed a lot of work as it had sat unused for a long time. It went down to three cylinders during the first session out and I had to take my road car out for the rest of the day instead! It’s not the best story for Mazda reliability, but it did mark the start of my Mazda racing days!”
Location 21 – Leeds Castle. Barry Last, R&D Engineer: “When I was younger, and my Dad bought home a new car, we’d go for a blast on the single track roads around Leeds Castle. Back then I even got to steer the car. Now 27 years later, I’ve taken my own son back here in the new MX-5 to see what he thinks. In his words, “Speedy” (and no, he didn’t get to steer!).”
Location 22 – Swale Naturist Beach. Ian Hajyzamanali, Senior Marketing Account Manager: “I went to the Swale Naturist Beach because the drive there is quite a nice one, involving lots of narrow country lanes. I’d never been before (honestly) but now had an excuse to visit! The car was great fun; it handled really well around corners and it made me feel like a kid on a computer racing game. I didn’t want to give it back!”
Location 23 – Sandgate. Michael Forsdyke, Senior Marketing Account Manager: “I’ve lived in Kent for most of my life so I have always been a short drive away from the coast. So many summers, particularly when I had my first car, were spent at the beach. Sandgate is a really quaint seaside town and there’s a road which runs along the seafront, so the MX5 is perfect for enjoying the view as well as the sea air. Watching the sun rise here is a truly magnificent sight which is why I got up extra early to capture the moment.”
Location 24 – GForces Head Office. Kara-Lee Ellingham, Head of Marketing: “We had to take a picture of the car at GForces’ offices, and here we have sisters with matching cars! Lauren Ambrose (my sister) first drove the all-new MX-5 when Mazda visited for a meeting at the GForces office soon after the car was launched. She liked it so much, she bought one a few weeks later! Maybe this red one could be mine…”
Location 25 – Local driving test centre. Marlon King (Solutions Architect) and Andrea Reyes (Digital Solutions Executive): “I work directly with Mazda and I am also in the process of learning to drive, so once I pass my test, the MX-5 might be an option for me. Marlon thought the car was really enjoyable to drive. The interior’s very neat, with a sporty feeling yet very comfortable. We liked seeing the front of the car raise as he accelerated. The sound was very good, but it’d definitely sound better with the roof down on a warm day!”
Location 26 – Race car workshop. Dan Rogers, Marketing Account Manager: “Since buying my Mk1 race car, I’ve done as much work on it as possible myself. In the workshop we’ve rebuilt the engine, set up corner weights, wheel alignments, changed the differential… the list goes on! So many late nights have been spent here, but the results we’ve gained has made it all worthwhile. I think the new MX-5 will make a great race car, and I’ve already checked out a few early examples. The focus on weight reduction makes it a fantastic starting point although replacement panels will probably be a lot more expensive than on my Mk1 – there are a lot of curves!”
Location 27 – Mazda Motors UK. Jules Rastelli, Account Director: “After visiting 26 iconic locations around the UK, it seemed only right that I should make the 27th trip in the all-new MX-5 a drive back to where it all began, Mazda head office. It’s motorway all the way from GForces to Dartford, so although it’s not much of a test of handling, the drive did go to show that the MX-5 is also a great cruiser and quite happy to pop along at 70mph (ish!). We arrived mid-afternoon, just as the sun started to set over the QE2 Bridge, via a quick valet from the guys operating from the car park of a nearby supermarket (rhymes with Mazda…).
By 4pm the car was delivered back to head office, clean as a whistle and nearly 4,000 miles older than it had left the month before. Twenty-seven iconic locations later, the GForces team were sorry to see it go, but now we all understand why the MX-5 is the bestselling roadster in the world.