eibe’s annual Global Conference took place in snowy Röttingen, Germany during January. With attendees from various international offices, the three day seminar focused on new product launches, as well as celebrating key successes from 2015.
New members of staff were taken on a tour of the vast manufacturing plant to get a close up look on exactly how a lot of our indoor and outdoor equipment is made from scratch from raw and sustainable materials.
The days were packed full of inspirational presentations from senior managers and there was plenty to take back home for each delegate. In the evenings, there was plenty of bonding time with overseas colleagues, the highlight of which was the eibe European Karting Grand Prix.
As you’d expect from fierce international rivals, the competition was intense with all nationalities battling for a place in the final. With spectacular crashes, nervy photo finishes and classic motor sport drama throughout the night, nine brave souls took their place on the final’s starting grid. In last place on the grid was Design Director David Hibberd, flying the UK’s flag. Hibberd was standing in for the injured Richard Napier, cruelly robbed of a qualifying birth with a head knock. Unable to compete in the semi-final, eibe’s UK managing director, Paul Redden, had driven Napier’s kart in the semi-final, qualifying with milliseconds to spare. Redden had already earned his own place in the midnight showdown, so it was Hibberd who grabbed the vacant number 8 kart at the eleventh hour. He was joined in the final by UK colleagues Jason Griffiths, Ben Neaves and Ben Smith.
Merging Schumacher-like handling with Senna type bravery, hero Hibberd steered Napier’s kart to victory, weaving skillfully through the field in a quite breathtaking 20-lap master class. Ben Eichinger from Germany and Wim Gee from Holland claimed silver and bronze respectively. But let’s be honest, nobody remembers a runner-up!
Consulting the rule book, Section 24 (b), regulation 45 iv, Napier claimed victory and proudly took his place on the winner’s podium, declaring,
“This is, without doubt, one of my proudest sporting achievements. To have driven for about six and a half minutes in total and then watch Paul and David power to victory is an emotional moment for me and my family. Lewis Hamilton should be very concerned.”