The name’s Martin. Aston...

The name’s Martin. Aston...

Few of us get to drive the car of our dreams, but when we do, will it live up to expectation, will it excite and inspire? Colum Smith of The Entrepreneurs Forum finds out.

ne11 main2Have you ever met one of your sporting, business or celebrity heroes? Did it come up to or even exceed your expectations? There are a few things that currently exceed my expectations; one is my two young children, the other is my motorbike.

One is safer than the other, I’ll let you decide... So imagine the prospect of being asked to take an Aston Martin Rapide for a drive for a few hours and write about the experience. Images immediately sprang to mind of the speed and style portrayed at Le Mans or in a Bond film, so where was I going to go and what was I going to do and would it exceed my preconceived notions? The first thing you notice is the tone of the car; it has that characteristic harnessed power that is determined to escape. Around the streets of Newcastle it’s not out of place, it delighted a couple of workers having a coffee break outside an office while I dropped off a few documents. Then the A1M beckoned, so far all the expectations were being exceeded. The A1M isn’t an interesting road, even in this super car, and there is a speed limit of 70mph.

However, the Bang & Olufson sound system immerses you in the music. I’m not a classic musical buff but played very loud on a quality system, Gustav Holt’s The Planets – the music used in two important events of my life, the Rugby World Cup, and in place of the Wedding March at my wedding – was memorable. I felt having a machine like this, even for a few hours, gives you a responsibility.

The vision of the Entrepreneurs Forum is to help and inspire entrepreneurs in the North East to grow the most successful business possible. I took the opportunity to inspire some of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs by taking the car to Our Lady Queen of Martyrs RC Primary School, Esh Winning. The excitement, enthusiasm and enjoyment was immediate. The children’s knowledge was evident straight away; it’s a V12, it costs £140,000, it has a top speed of 180+ mph.

Isn’t it fantastic what children know that we don’t? The big question the children had was how could they get one; as expected they were creative in answering their own question, everything from a loan from their parents to getting it from a bank, but they all agreed the best way to get one of these was to work hard.

Before I had returned to the office there was an email from one of the children saying "Now that I have seen this beauty of a car I’m determined to work harder than ever to make sure that I can take the wheel... one day" James Alderson Y5.

The car didn’t turn me into James Bond. I don’t blame the car for my being too old, a little overweight and too grey. It also didn’t make me a Le Mans driver but it did match my expectations. However, as I rode my motorbike through the stationary traffic on the A1M at the end of the day I was pleased to be back on two wheels.

The Aston Martin Rapide driven by Colum Smith is priced starting at £129,990 and was provided by Stratstone Aston Martin, Stoneygate, Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne & Wear, DH4 4NJ, tel: 0191 512 3512, email paul.thursby@stratstone.com 2010 pre-registered Aston Martins available from £85,000.