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.

Jun 182012

A weekend of camping and cars. This year the event at Bristol encompassed both the Help-4-Heroes Mini Cruise and Bristol Miniday.
As usual for Bristol Miniday the event was held at Washingpool Farm, Easter Compton.
The Help-4-Heroes Mini Cruise also ran from this location as it wasn’t possible to have a separate event from Cirencester unlike previous years.
Ash & Amanda camped, along with Andy & Fiona. The conditions were a little breezy with Ash & Amanda’s tent being blown away after being erected in the middle of the field. The tent was rescued with only minimal damage and the majority moved to a section of the grounds sheltered by a good hedge.
The organisers felt, even at this early stage, that the weather was too unreliable and decided to hold the event indoors, split across three of the large sheds at the farm.

Friday Night
A couple of TVs were set up in one of the sheds to enable those camping to watch the England v Sweden game. Much cheering as England beat Sweden for the first time ever in a competition game. Then we were treated to fine selection of rock anthems, played by the Ray Jones Band. It was all too much for Hannah, who decided that some much-needed shut-eye was in order.

Help-4-Heroes Mini Cruise, 2012
From about 12 o’clock cars started to line up for the 3rd Help-4-Heroes mini cruise. Not as big an event as previous years but this was more than made up for in enthusiasm as we departed for Rich’s Cider Farm. The convoy through Bristol was a great deal of fun, with only one or two cars getting lost. Hector, with Ash at the helm and Amanda in the passenger seat led the event, as Ash had been responsible for plotting the course.
However, as we approached our destination, the police got involved and pulled one of the cars over for a number plate offence (running silver-on-black plates on a 1990 registered vehicle). During the discussion with the police it was determined that the driver had failed to renew his licence (which expires every 10 years for those of you with the new-style photocard). He was immediately barred from driving further, and will be off the road until his licence is renewed – a problem for him as his job as a funeral director requires him to drive. Hopefully the paperwork will be quickly completed and he’ll be back on the road again.
Cars left for home in small groups, some taking the A38 back to Easter Compton, and some taking the M5. During the return trip the weather turned into torrential rain, Hector (Ash & Amanda’s car) suffered from a dislike of the weather and decided that 2 cylinders was plenty, thank you very much. The application of some WD40 was enough to limp home.
Another runner suffered clutch slave cylinder failure and arrived courtesy of a recovery vehicle (actually the vehicle that was the prize in last years Help-4-Heroes event).
Another band in the shed on Saturday night, this time playing some glam-rock favourites, with a quiz during the interval.
Saturday night’s weather continued the theme of wet’n’windy, although nobody was blown away.
Although the weather was a little inclement and only about 60 cars took part, the grand total of £634 was raised for the Help-4-Heroes cause over the weekend.

Bristol Miniday, 2012
Sunday morning brought bright weather, although still somewhat breezy. Over the course of the day the weather continued to brighten and by mid-day it was a nice sunny day. Sandra and Colin arrived, bringing Milly for the show’n’shine and Brian for the barbeque, and Mini push.
Ash & Amanda got into the swing of things entering various competitions on behalf of Renegade Minis, including darts and best-dressed king & queen. Ash’s Mr Blobby outfit was well appreciated by most attendees. This was followed up with a Mini push competition, but the Renegades were unfortunately off form for the event.
Colin cooked burger and onions for attending club members, very tasty and I’m not sure he received thanks enough for the effort.
Other club members attended to the stall from which we were raising money for the Willow Foundation by selling cakes and glassware and a tombola, together with “guess the name of the teddy” and “guess the number of spark plugs in the jar” competitions.
Sandra, of course, was kept busy in show’n’shine making Milly look her best – this paid off with a “Best In Class” followed by “Best In Show”.
After tidying up we finished off with some cake to celebrate Sandra’s forthcoming birthday. Finally homewards, to proper beds with soft sheets.

Sep 052011

It was the first outing for my video camera, so you’ll have to excuse the appalling camera work.
[jwplayer config=”default” file=”http://www.renegademinis.com/wp-content/video/uttoxeter_2011/mov009.flv”]
A good day at Uttoxeter racecourse for the penultimate MiniFest 2011.
The weather was, true to form, appalling as we left Bristol at some ungodly hour. Andy & Fiona were in attendance in their van, Sandra was in Milly and Colin drove his Mondeo with the Neon on a trailer to put up for sale, Chris accompanied Colin. It rained for the majority of the tour up the M5/M6 and across country to Uttoxeter racecourse, although it eased off as we approached our destination.

The Neon was parked up ready for inspection by prospective purchasers, Milly was prepared for the concours competition and the van was parked with the rest of the attending crowds Minis.
The weather continued to improve throughout the day, to the point where sunscreen was required.

Russ Swift performed his first demonstration run, at which point an auction was held to select a lucky participant to sit in the car with Russ while he performed. Colin bid, and won, deciding to donate the purchase to Sandra!

There were a good number of traders in attendance, and some auto jumble, although Chris didn’t manage to get any parts for his van.

The Official Italian Job Minis were in attendance. These being Minis built to the exact specification of the cars used in the film, down to the number plates which were purchased for the vehicles.

At 3:00pm Russ Swift performed his second show of the day. As promised Sandra got to sit with Russ, as you can see in the video above.
Finally it was time for prize-giving. Milly got 2nd in class, another well deserved award. To finish the afternoon a Mini was raffled.

Another nice day out for the Renegades, all that remained was the drive home. As uneventful as the drive up, as we approached Bristol the weather took a turn for the worse and the rain was pouring down as we got home.

Aug 152011

A bit of a change for the weekend of 13th-14th August. We attended the Summer Classics event at Washingpool Farm in Easter Compton. You’ll be aware of the location, it’s where we had our Bristol Mini Swimming Gala earlier in the year. The weather was a little drier this time.
The show, unfortunately, clashed with Minis-in-the-Bay in Cardiff – but it was free for exhibitors and clubs to attend as it was the first time this show has been held. All manner of classic cars and bikes on show.

Amanda and Ash camped there, as did Myself, Fiona & Hannah. Arriving on the Friday evening we managed to get the tent up in dry weather, before it bucketed down on Friday night.
The show was fairly quiet on Saturday, although there was a steady influx of visitors. Sandra brought Milly and Colin drove Chris’s Hillman Imp. Milly, as always, attracting attention from one and all.
The weather remained cloudy, with occasional drizzle, but we had the gazebo with the sides and managed to keep out of the worst of the weather.
We barbecued on Saturday evening and, after Sandra was forced to leave because of work, the remaining Renegades participated in the music quiz, scoring a respectable 26 from a possible 40 points.

Sunday was much nicer weather, still a little blustery, but sunny. Turnout was much up on Saturday with a good number of American vehicles, including a Thunderbird and a huge Cadillac. There were also many European classic vehicles on show, VWs, Cortinas, Zephyrs & Zodiacs to name just a few. In addition to this was a selection of motorcycles.
Once more Renegades were in full swing on the games front. Ash won the Welly Tossing with a truly magnificent effort. Hannah won a prize in the Junior Welly Tossing. This was followed by Horseshoe tossing, which was neck-and-neck between Ash & Amanda until the final round, where Amanda emerged victorious.

Fiona was selling cards & key-rings at the club stand. Hannah also encouraged many to the lucky dip. This raised £20.54 for the Renegade supported charities.

On Sunday visitors were given an accolade card to place on the vehicle they liked best in the show, of which Milly received a couple. There wasn’t any judging, it was just a chance for people with interesting vehicles to bring them out to be seen.

All-in-all a nice relaxing event with no hassles.

Jul 122011

Absolutely brilliant weekend in Cirencester. Fiona & I, with Hannah, camped, along with Ash & Amanda. We took our Cooper and Ash & Amanda were in Hector.

The weather was wet on Friday night, raining heavily from the moment I unrolled the tent onto the ground.
On Friday night was a fancy dress party, which was fairly poorly attended due to the weather and the fact that many people were yet to arrive.

On Saturday morning the weather was dry, although the field was still somewhat muddy. Cars were lined up and shepherded into the Agricultural College car park from 10:30am onwards ready for the cruise start at 2:00pm. Whilst waiting for the cruise to begin, the participants wandered around the car park chatting or visiting the trade stands in the College grounds. It was a great social occasion.
The cruise started pretty much on time, with 425 cars following the route plan which was handed out as part of the run pack (a massive improvement on last year, where it was very much a case of “follow my leader”).
The sight of so many cars in convoy through Wootton Bassett was one to behold, many residents in the area turned out to wave and cheer on the procession.
A slight hiccup in the cruise was caused by Castle Combe being unprepared for the cars to arrive on time, so we all had to stop at a sports centre where refreshments were taken on board. After a brief delay we continued on to Castle Combe where we parked up.
More socialising until 5:00pm where all cars did a parade lap of the Castle Combe circuit before returning to Cirencester. (At this point we returned home and dropped Hannah off before exchanging vehicles and returning in the van).

On Sunday the weather was once again dry and sunny. There was a Show ‘n’ Shine and trade stands with some auto jumble and other fund raising stands. There were only four awards in the show, Best Car, Best Engine Bay, Most Modified Mini and Dirtiest Mini. Sandra brought Milly, but unfortunately failed to win anything this time.

We were given a fine exhibition of parachuting at the end of the afternoon and I was mugged by a three-year old who took all the change I had left in my pocket for her collecting tin, much to the amusement of the onlookers.
Finally, the raffle for a Mini was drawn, the lady who won didn’t already own a Mini and she was overawed by her win.

Although re-patriation of service personnel will now be taking place through RAF Brize Norton rather than RAF Lyneham (and hence Wootton Bassett) a cruise will be taking place next year.
This has become the event in the South-West for Mini owners. A must for next years calendar.