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Safmini show reports 2010

Brooklands Mini Day, March 28th

The spring warm up show that the club has attended for a few years now. Due to being a little late in booking a stand we found ourselves around the back of the museum on the grass. After initially missing Stan at the MacDonalds meeting place, we caught him on the M25 and set up a little stand with Marc and K in 'Nigel', James and Lucy in 'George', David in 'Billy' and Stan in his lovely Sportspack.
It was a mostly dry day but chilly which meant that the test hill was up for usage and we watched a good number of minis blast or splutter their way up.

It's a good day to catch up with mini friends from other clubs after the long winter with no shows, do some shopping for the last few bits needed to finish the winter projects off and check out the museum including the Formula 1 race car simulation.
There is still a section of the original banked race circuit that the officials don't like you to climb on, but we all do! It's really steep, as is the test hill if you climb it. Scary to think that cars used to fly around the track.
After a good run home it was back to the Ickleton Lion for a beverage and chat over the day.

Mini Miglia and Seven Racing - Round 1 , Rockingham April 10th

A day at the races to watch local racers Niven and Nathan Burge start their seasons. Rockingham is a fairly local track and a pleasant day out, not too busy and you are free to walk around the pit areas and watch the racing from most places. As well as the minis racing, there was single seater formula 1 style racers, some saloon racers and also the BMW mini racers all starting their season. There was a food van keeping us going with hot food and drinks.
Nathan achieved a final 5th place from 8th in the 7's while Niven gained an excellent 4th despite a tap from behind but he also got the fastest lap time!

Bury Mini Club - Bury to Aldeburgh Charity Run, April 18th

A very popular run with many clubs, run by the Bury mini club in aid of charity. You have to book your own place on this one but the forms are available on the internet. We had an amazing 8 cars on the run this year and the weather stayed fine for us. Although a little chilly by the sea in April, we all enjoyed some fresh long queued up for fish and chips. The raffle always has a lot of prizes and raised £400 alone. We had one winner on the team; Ken bagged himself a nice piece of mini memorabilia, better than the sponge Karena won some years ago.
All runners get a grille plaque and memento, there are easy to follow run instructions and for the braver and more alert passengers, there is a quiz to fill in on the way round. This year there was a noisy American presence but it's nice to know they have an interest in preserving our little cars too with huge amounts of enthusiasm as well.
BMC put a lot of time and effort into this run and its always very well organised and attended. One for next year again.

Norfolk Mini Owner Club's Fakenham Mini Show, May 30th

This show is a brilliant little local show that seems to be plagued with the bad weather. This year we took a good selection of minis up with Dave, Lucy and James, Alan, Stan, Ken and Karena and Marc. There is always a nice selection of trade stands, some mainstream and others local with lots of garage clearance stuff. The show is held for charity with a raffle, show and shine competition,show games to get the children involved, and the tug-o-war between the mini clubs.

Lucy had brought her auto mini 'Hetty' up with for sale signs, and she was successful in selling her after the viewers took what seemed like hours to check her out and even took her for a test drive leaving the family poodles behind as collateral. There were few purchases for the club members and a carefree first outing for Marc and Karena's cabriolet mini. Sadly the weather did take a dreadful turn for the worst with high winds and driving rain, so a soggy crew packed up and headed home.

Knebworth Mini and VW show, May 31st

Deciding to take advantage of the bank holiday and a new show to try out, James and Lucy, Marc and Karena and Ken, met up with Pete and Cathy at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire. We took along a friend called Ed in his old VW safari window bus, finished in matt black and lowered so it looked very mean running along with us. There is the potential for a really good show here, the grounds are massive and there is the house and grounds to look over as well as Fort Knebworth play area for the children. A few trade stands but not bad for a new show, the turnout was pretty impressive and a showing arena had been set up for the proud owners to display and fight for trophies in.

Karena and Lucy spent some time checking out newer old style camper vans that can be hired out for holidays while Marc spotted his old VW golf GTI cabriolet that he owned some years ago, the owner seemed rather startled to have an overexcited Marc bound up to him and yell, "that's my car!!!!" We will look out for the date to this one next year as it's nice to be in with another iconic make of cars. Pete finally got to see the Mini world article on his mini that was done some 2 years ago, very impressive.

(Thanks to Cathy and Pete for the above report.)

Clubman Estate Register, Thong Run 5th-6th June

The Thong run has in the past been held a little further away than Meldreth, but this year the organisers brought it to the Eternit social club, it seemed silly not to check it out for the first time to see what it was all about. Due to some dodgy brakes on the cabriolet, Marc and Karena decided to take 'Errol' the Bini Clubman down to join the fun. Thongs attached we rolled into a subdued campsite behind the social club, only subdued due to the previous nights fun and games including thong slinging, raffle, fancy dress and auction. The social club had provided BBQ, cheap drinks and disco and campers were able to use the on site showers and toilets. There was still the opportunity to take part in the guess how many balloons in a mini competition, but the main event for Sunday was a very pleasant and stress free road run through some local villages and country roads. The trophies for the winners were made out of Lego, sounds naff but actually really clever, each year they try to make the trophies more unusual. Winners included best glow mini, tattiest mini as well as the usual best of show and spirit of show. The top flung thong went 33 feet!! Nice looking purple van belonging to a girl named Mel took Marcs fancy while Karena just loves the Mystery Machine owned by Bazza. If this one is at Meldreth again, expect a Safmini contingent for the weekend next year.

Beaulieu Cooper day, 13th June

Having been given an invitation to attend this show on the London and Surrey club stand, Marc and Karena chauffeured Dave in 'Errol',for the journey down to Beaulieu for their Cooper day. Fantastic weather and a brilliant venue, after paying the entrance fee you have entry to the grounds, the show, the museum and the house and gardens. So much to do in one day it's pretty impossible to do the lot. Still, once positioned on the stand we all wandered off to find the trade stands doing a roaring trade. The Minis were segregated to the point that the new Minis were at one end of the field and the old ones in the more prominent place. The Coopers were all congregated in one huge section with the club stands around the outside. While some don't agree with the segregation of the new and old, there didn't appear to be any nastiness. We had a good laugh at the Top Gear section of the museum with some of their more unusual vehicles including the hand made Limos and the double stacked Brits verses Germans racers. Although a distance to travel, if you've never done Beaulieu, the Cooper day is a good day to choose to go. Many thanks to the LSMOCs Bazza for inviting us and the members for making us welcome and fed with cookies and cake.

Kimbolton Country Fair and Classic Car Show, 18th July

This day out is a favourite with Safminiers because it's not all about minis. There are classic cars of almost every make plus all the trappings of a country fair with stands to buy home made goods and numerous charities to support with tombolas and games. Another good turnout for the club with James and Lucy, Chris, Lou and little William, Dave, Karena and Marc, Ken, Stan and Andrew, plus Andrew's friend in his Triumph TR7. Space is getting tight at this show as more and more car clubs come although the site is huge. There is plenty to do all day; there is an arena that holds many different displays from goose herding to Majorette dancers. A smaller arena has jazz and Irish dancing, Punch and Judy shows. There is a beer tent, a tea tent, plenty of fresh food stands including fresh pasties, curry and hog roast. In the house there is a huge display of crafts for sale as well as the stands outside. Chris had brought his mini 'Muttley' with for sale signs on, family car needed as William grows up. And he too was successful in getting a buyer. Meanwhile, second hand books, cheese and some gifts were purchased by other show goers. There are other mini clubs at this day but we are all kept spread across the grounds.

Mini in the Park (Pod), 15th August

MITP now held at Santa Pod has learnt its lesson to put the main part of the show on the concrete although the camp site is still on the grass which again this year had got very muddy. However, a nice little group of us went along for a relaxed day without the stand to put up and man. Plenty of stands to check out as befits a major mini show but also the added delights of stunt shows using a Legend race car and TVR, plus a mini that ended up with a dent in the roof, broken hand brake cable and the exhaust hanging off. Well, they weren't built for jay turns, front and reverse donuts and the abuse that the stunt man gave it. Pretty amazing and amusing to watch however and very popular with the crowd. Plus the big wheeled monster Podzilla that runs over scrap cars like they are made of paper! Santa Pod is of course famous for the drag strip and brave mini owners were allowed to chuck their cars up the straight and see what top speed and time they could achieve, we did see at least one new MINI that had some rather expensive engine damaged done to it, so beware!! However the jet car is to be experienced for the noise, smoke and belly rumble as it roars past at stupid speeds. Not a long way to travel for this and although gets some bad press for the high charges, is well attended each year.

Saffron Walden Car Show, Aug 22nd

For a few years now, a local man has held a car show on Saffron Walden common in aid of charity. This year the choice was the Help for Heros charity. The weather has been unkind in the past for this show but for once we were all caught out. The day started out looking quite glum but came out quite warm. We took a small group of cars but had our numbers swelled by some other mini owners who asked to come on our stand. Some more welcome than others but it takes all sorts. The mixture of cars was pretty impressive from some traditional vintage cars to more modern high performance cars. Also included were a number of American motors, need some decent garage space to house one of them as well as a hefty pocket to pay for the fuel! It may be carnival time next year in Saffron Walden and the car show may coincide with it. Be great to have a large and fun club stand to let all the mini owners know that Safmini is alive and kicking despite some rumours.

North Devon Mini Club's Legendary North Devon Grand Tour, Aug 28th-30th

Now well in to its mid teens in years, this event is Safminis annual migration to Devon for a charity weekend of fun, fancy dress and fish and chips. We took three cars this year, James and Lucy, Dave and Mrs Dave and Karena and Marc. This was the event that Marc and K's cabriolet was waiting for and it wasn't without drama!

roadside repairs

Leaving at dawn to make the long journey down isn't a problem as the excitement of such a brilliant weekend carries you there. We make a number of stops to take in breakfast and to stretch the legs so it doesn't feel so far. This year the event organisers had set up an independent campsite after the old place had made too many changes to house the number of people that take part in this event, so on arrival in the area, having reacquainted ourselves with our Bed and Breakfast, we headed to The Big Sheep to sign in, get our plaques, ribbons and tee shirts. Also a good chance to meet up with some friends made on previous years. The atmosphere is so friendly it makes you not want to leave. Saturday evening kicks the event off with a little road run around the local area of Bideford, Appledore and other villages, letting the locals know that the minis are there. Finish on the seafront to eat the best fish and chips and watch the evening draw in across the harbour.

Sunday takes the assembled minis from the start at Bideford Park across the county through some cute villages and lovely roads. Lunch is taken at the very picturesque Hartland quay where there is a grand little pub that does a roaring trade on that day. Close to 300 minis all cram together on the largest flat bit of the cliff before heading back up the steep road and finishing at Dartington Crystal for cream teas and a little retail therapy. The journey home isn't for the fainthearted as you take in the big dippers. Sadly at this point, the cabriolet brakes began to feel distinctly ropey. Later in the evening on investigation, the cabby had thrown a brake shoe leaving us with frantic phone calls to try and locate one, a trip to the fish and chip shop again and some serious language as the poor little mini was put back together. Monday is the biggest and most important day of the event. Fancy dress day!! It is not compulsory but if you are not in fancy dress, you are the odd one out. This year as the show had no theme, it was come as you like so we had kitted ourselves out with inflatable cowboy/girl and horse costumes. Cleverly designed with a battery operated fan to keep the costume up, although we made a good number of people smile and laugh we weren't up to winning any prizes. The standard of fancy dress for cars and people was as high as it ever is with The Stig, teddy bears on picnic and a few wedding couples too.

Starting out from the seafront at Westward Ho we all mince around the lovely back rounds of Devon, taking some breath taking views in as we go. Lunch stop is the religious retreat of Lee Abbey where all the fancy dressed bodies tuck in to picnics. The view is across the hills and valleys near the valley of rocks which is the stomach turning way out. Every town and village the streets are lined with hundreds of members of the public waving flags and clapping hands. The motorbikes collect money all the way round. But the emotional and whole reason for taking part is the drive through the children's hospice. All the children and their families line the drive way and welcome all the minis in and out. Surely the biggest feel good factor to any show. The finale is held in Ilfracombe where the town crier greets us in and the streets are heaving with well wishers all laughing and cheering. Here the prize giving is held for the best fancy dresses, cars and bikes. Then the all important auction. For years Karena has had her eye on the giant grey tatty teddy that is taken around the country, Lands End to John O'groats and other mini events throughout the year. Last year we missed out by a few mere pounds, this year, savings in hand, determination was the order of the day!..now some may say that it was rather extravagant to spend that much on a teddy, but there may never be one that size again and as all the money goes to charity so £350 lighter in the pocket, Big Ted was coming home to Cambridge. Sad that the weekend is over, its time to plan the next years fancy dress. The running total for donations had reached over £22k so far. If anyone fancies trying this one out, apply early.

Stanford Hall, September 12th

Stanford Hall, surely the best way to wrap up the show season? Based just off the end of the A14, it's a close, easily found show and just gets bigger and better each year. Stand space can sometimes be a premium though as so many clubs want to take part. We take a good selection of minis each year and enjoy wandering around the numerous trade stands, there are bargains to be had if you try as its season end, with new stuff, second hand stuff and of course all the tee shirts, stickers and mini toot you can dream of. If you fancy your chances with the fanatical car cleaners there is a classed show and shine, but be warned, it is obsessive with some. Some clubs dress up their club stands with the chance to win some cash for the best ones. For us it's usually a nice chilled out day, the sun normally shines and we just mosey around the show and sit by the river enjoying the company. We caught up with member Imogen who moved to Warwickshire in the summer too. If you manage one show, manage this one.


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