May 282013

As of next month the new venue for club meetings will be:
        The Fox,
        Broad Lane,
        BS37 7LD

The new location is very close to our old meeting place (about 10 seconds by car), but somewhat more comfortable.

Oct 282012

MINI will terminate its works involvement in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) at the end of the 2012 season. The company has made this decision after careful consideration

Dr. Kay Segler, Senior Vice President MINI Business Coordination and Brand Management: “MINI will abandon its works involvement in the WRC at the end of the 2012 season. By the end of the season WRC Team MINI Portugal will have competed in every rally in 2012. As such, in accordance with FIA regulations, we will have achieved the WRC homologation for the MINI John Cooper Works. In doing so, we would have achieved the prerequisites to allow those interested to continue to run the car in the WRC on a customer rallying basis. BMW Motorsport will continue to further develop the 1.6-litre turbo engine in conjunction with Prodrive. In a very difficult commercial environment, MINI has played an active role in ensuring that friends of the MINI brand can continue to participate in motorsport. As such, the MINI family is retaining its presence on various international platforms and getting even closer to its customers. We would like to see the MINI John Cooper Works WRC continue to run competitively in WRC and other championships. We would like to thank Prodrive, WRC Team MINI Portugal and our partners for the good cooperation, and wish all drivers, teams and customers a successful future in rallying.”

MINI Motorsport has secured the future of its customer teams, while Prodrive will still be able to run, optimise and sell vehicles in the future. BMW Motorsport will continue to develop the 1.6-litre turbo engine and provide Prodrive with parts.

From its rallying debut early in 2011, the MINI John Cooper Works WRC turned out to be a successful model: MINI drivers collected three podiums and many top-ten finishes at the wheel of this car. Arguably the biggest success was achieved by Dani Sordo (ES) in January 2012, when he finished second at the comeback of MINI at the legendary Monte Carlo Rally. With three wins in the Principality – back in 1964, 1965 and 1967 – the Mini laid the foundation for the unique reputation of the brand in rallying.


Oct 152012

To give it it’s full title “The West Midlands Mini Show and Oval Experience, 2012” (phew, what a mouthful) was a cracking day out.
Starting on a cold day at 7:45am at Michael Wood Services on the M5, we met up. The fog on the motorway was patchy, quite thick at times, but our four car convoy made good time to Grimley, just outside Worcester, where a field and a small oval race track awaited us.
With only a handful of cars, and about the same number of traders, it looked as though we may have made a wasted journey. Sandra settled down to the task of preparing Milly for the show ‘n’ shine competition, whilst the rest of us unpacked the gazebo and tea & coffee making facilities.
Ash and Amanda turned up after just a few minutes, they having overnighted locally. With Hector, Brian, Norman and Piglet we actually had a club stand – a small one, but a stand nevertheless.
The sun came out, burned away what remained of the mist, and we began to warm up as more Minis arrived. So began a pleasant, relaxing day, taking a look at the autojumble (not more than 2 stalls) and the traders (notably Mini Mine).
Although the turnout was small the quality of the vehicles on the show ‘n’ shine was high, with success not guaranteed for anyone.
After lunch there was some activity on the oval, although I suspect not as much as the organisers had hoped for. This activity consisted of a competition to see who could drive furthest with a ball in an upturned dustbin lid on the bonnet and fast oval driving, prizes to be awarded to the best drivers (not necessarily the fastest). We were treated to the sight of one competitor enthusiastically stuffing his nicely turned out ’67 Mini into the barrier, after having completed his fast laps and deciding to show off on the slow lap.
Finally, the judging, and Milly won “best in class”, then was awarded “best in show”, to our delight. As you can see in the photograph, Colin & Sandra took the opportunity to have their pictures taken with one of the finest Minis on the club scene.
Time for home, with the gazebo stowed we hit the M5. Although busy we made good time home – although piglet was lost on the way, having to exit from the rear of the pack at the penultimate junction before reaching home. Diagnostics showed some severely pitted points, and after judicious filing the pink beastie limped home.

Oct 082012

This year the Mini Action Day was well attended. Nice weather (sunny, if a little breezy) and a nice bustling atmosphere gave a nice finish to the end of the year for Classic Mini enthusiasts at Castle Combe, generally regarded as the last show of the year.

Oct 082012

Unfortunately illness meant that there were no Renegade Minis representatives at Stanford Hall this year. Very unfortunate, as this is one of the better shows in the Mini calendar.

Oct 052012

Yet again the weather became the main topic of conversation for a motoring event. For those camping at Easter Compton the weekend started wonderfully hot and sunny on Friday evening.

There had been plans for Renegade Minis to attend the “Mini In The Bay” event in Cardiff, now in it’s third year, but they were scotched by ill health for some (hope the back’s better now, Sandra) and an attack of apathy by others (me) – to be honest the appeal of a bacon butty crushed the need to prepare the car for a cruise.

The sun shone over a selection of vehicles descending on Washingpool Farm. Both sides of the Atlantic were well represented, with a fair showing of classics from America, Britain and the rest of Europe – although the Japanese market representation was noticeable by it’s absence, I saw a single Nissan Figaro where there were, possibly, a dozen at last year’s outing. The American military fraternity were there in numbers, and there were plenty of Mustangs, Cameros and other muscle cars. On the British front there were plenty of Austin A30s & A35s. Also attending were cars not considered to be classic in any way until very recently – an ‘E’ plate BMW 3 series springs to mind.

I spoke to the owner of a convertible Ford Fiesta who had initially thought that about 250 vehicles of that marque had been produced, whereas upon some detective work he had discovered that the true number was 7.

Saturday night began to cloud over as folks headed for their tents, and the rain began to fall in the early hours of Sunday morning.

As with last year, attendance on Sunday was much better than on Sunday. The weather kept threatening to rain but never followed through. At times it was quite warm and pleasant, although at others blustery. I packed the tent away first thing in the morning, just before a short squall, and felt very pleased with myself.

A nice lay day, looking at a very eclectic set of vehicles representing the best (mostly) of the last sixty years of motoring in the UK and the US.
Some interesting characters made the sport of “people watching” one worth having a go at (see gallery!).

An early finish, due to impending rain, slightly marred the day – but, all-in-all another good day serving only to enhance this young event’s reputation.

Jul 092012

British Mini Day. Himley Hall, 2012 was called off on Thursday 5th July. Too much rain had fallen, leaving the ground waterlogged. With more rain forecast for Friday it was obvious that there simply wasn’t time for the ground to dry out in time for the event on Sunday.
This event had previously been re-scheduled, originally in May, due to the inclement British weather.
As far as British Mini Club events go, we still have Mini Fest 2012 at Uttoxeter to look forward to.

Jul 022012

Hopes were high for nice weather at the Gaydon Mini Festival, as in 2011 the weather had been glorious. The day started grey, with some rain as Colin & Sandra in Milly (MkII saloon), together with Andy & Fiona in Noodle (van) set off.
Quite a pleasant drive to Gaydon, mostly fine and with light traffic – apart from a camper-van pulling out in front and suddenly bringing the traffic almost to a standstill as they plodded along.
The weather brightened, staying bright but cool and breezy. Each car was photographed by an official photographer upon arrival, with a stand set up for owners to purchase framed pictures of their vehicles if they so wished.
Upon arrival we met with Ash & Amanda who’d been camping with the Help-4-Heroes Mini Cruise crew, after parking up.
Colin & Sandra began the usual task of bringing Milly up to glorious condition. The usual suspects were in attendance, although a new class of “Show ‘n’ Shine” had been introduced in addition to the various concours classes – this was done to try to encourage new blood into the events.
Most of the large traders attended, and there was some autojumble, although a lot less than could have been hoped for, especially with the cost of new components. Plus, it’s always nice to get an original part that can be cleaned and fitted rather than having to shell out for new bits.
As the judging progressed it seemed that a section of subframe on Milly had escaped the cleansing process – Sandra began to look somewhat despondent as the competition in the class was particularly good, it seemed that a win had evaded Milly.
Once the juging was complete it was time for some hot food before the awards were announced. Then, back outside to hear the results.
Milly achieved “Best in Class”, by a single point, followed up with “Best in Show” – finally a Smiffy’s Bits Rocker Cover award to sit alongside the rest of the trophies in the Britton cabinet.
After a few photographs, three cars headed home for Bristol, a pleasant end to a very successful day.