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Business News The Griffin Report


Precision timing is crucial to the essence of motorsport. Tamworth-based Timing Solutions have been integral in ensuring drivers on the world’s biggest race circuits are timed accurately to the very last second. Jon Griffin paid them a visit to find out about their success story.


Time team: General manager Nick Breed with John Ward


considerable debt of gratitude for many years to a small Staffordshire firm. Racing drivers, armies of fans


T


attending events in person or following from afar on mobile devices, sponsors and the media can all count on the expertise and knowledge of Timing Solutions Ltd as they follow the thrills and spills of the world of motorsport. Precision timing is key to the


essence of the sport – and the Tamworth company has quietly become the UK market leader in ensuring that competitors worldwide are timed accurately to the very last second. The decades-long story of the


foundation and growth of Timing Solutions Ltd has almost as many twists and turns as the most exciting motorsport event – and has culminated in a world-beating


18 CHAMBERLINK March 2019


hey may not know it, but millions of motorsport fans worldwide have owed a


£1.6m operation based on an unassuming industrial estate in Wilnecote, Tamworth. And it all began with a group of


six friends from a variety of backgrounds, from the pharmacy sector to transport and accountancy, who shared a passion for motorsport from their teenage and early 20s years. John Ward, now 72, and one of


the original six, has been at the heart of the Timing Solutions saga from its inception – and today still works at least two days a week as finance director at the firm while indulging his lifelong passion for motorsport at weekends. “We were all from different


backgrounds, and the strength was in us coming together. The common thing was that we all had an interest in motorsport. “We all went to race meetings


where we started off timing it manually – this was at places like Silverstone, Donington Park, Brands


‘We all went to race meetings where we started off timing it manually – this was at places like Silverstone, Donington Park, Brands Hatch’


Hatch. We met at weekends at the meetings and the timing then was done with old analogue watches.” John’s working career with the


likes of Oswestry District Council, the CEGB and National Grid had seen him amass a wealth of knowledge of computer systems and software – which he was to use to beneficial effect in the eventual birth and development of what was to become Timing Solutions Ltd. “I ended up as computer auditor


for National Grid while at weekends going to time events at home and abroad. I eventually took early retirement when I saw that there were (business) opportunities out there for the six friends. “We became a limited liability


company based in Malvern. We became known as a group of


colleagues providing professional timing services to events, some of them abroad. We all put money in to start it off – throughout the UK, there were lots of volunteer trained timekeepers, but this has been work for us. We couldn’t just rely on clubs to organise things, particularly if you had an event which required certain knowledge and expertise. “It had previously just been a


totally manual method – you had to introduce systems which reduced the risk error.” The key turning point for the fledgling timing services company came when a leading Formula One executive picked up the phone one day and rang the Malvern firm to hire their services.


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