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North Devon Legendary Grand Tour – 27th – Monday 29th August 2016

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North Devon Legendary Grand Tour – 27th – Monday 29th August 2016

As every year, The Six Ex MOC support this annual event which whilst having fun raises much needed money for the Little Big House Charity, the South West’s Hospice for chronically ill children.

August 2016 saw club members heading towards North Devon for this 21st year event which included Steve, Rachel, Dave, Alix, Len, Luke, Dawn, Nick and myself. We camped this year away from the main group of event attendee’s at a quiet farm which offered more in the way of “the comforts of home”.

The Legendary Grand Tour is unlike any other motoring event in the country because it is not confined to a field but let loose on the roads of North Devon. What makes our event so special is that the Mini cars, which are at the heart of this event, do not drive off in groups of 20, or 1 every 3 minutes, but in a convoy one after the other. You could never call the LGT the biggest motoring event in the country, because it is restricted to 250 Minis, but when it is out on the open road in a convoy travelling at 30 mph, it is nearly 10 miles long and can take 15 to 20 minutes to pass, so it must be one of the longest.

The convoy visits many different towns and villages across North Devon, in fact, it joins some of the towns and villages together.  It brings thousands of people out into the streets to watch the mini’s go by invading housing estates where people are sitting on their front lawns drinking tea and sipping glasses of wine and waving flags from behind homemade banners. The spectators will fill lay-bys and they will be standing on bridges laughing and smiling and waving as the convoy goes by. Over the past 20 years, the Minis have been taken into the hearts of the people of North Devon and that’s how the event can do what we does and get away with it. There is an incredible reaction from the children who drag their parents out to watch it year after year. They cheer and dance when they hear the mini’s coming, their Mum’s and Dad’s, Nan’s and Grandad’s smile and wave as they go by. Maybe it brings back a few memories of a time when they had a Mini and how the whole family squeezed into one to go on holiday. It is amazing to think some of those children who originally waved at the convoy all those years ago now have children of their own who come out and watch as it goes by.

This year the Six Ex Members raised £400.00 towards the charity whilst dressing up at “Cardinals” in their minis. Some of the reactions we got was amazing including one group of ladies coming up to Steve’s Car, just as if it had two “Popes” inside, out in the his open top car!

We all had a great weekend and look forward to attending the event next year on the Summer Bank Holiday in August. We look forward to seeing you there!

Rich Clark.

Mini in the Park, Santa Pod Raceway – Sunday 14th August 2016

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Mini in the Park, Santa Pod Raceway – Sunday 14th August 2016

Where to start. Myself, Rachel and David were the only members to attend this event.  The weather was ok, dry and perfect for camping overnight.

The entertainment for the Saturday evening was good although after several beers to celebrate just being at this event we can’t remember what it was, a tribute band of some description was the best guess. There was also some fun fair rides to go on, which David and Alex decided to do after a few drinks on the way back from the bar, I tried to take a photo but my fingers wouldn’t work the camera!!!

When I say ‘celebrate just being there’ that probably needs explaining, the problem was that we felt like frauds, I was unable to take my mini as had been in hospital a few days before and restricted from driving, never mind we can take Rachel’s Mini thought I, no such luck, her car was being bodged by a garage in Wootton Bassett so we ended up arriving in a loan focus, oh joy.

The show on the Sunday was the normal traders and club stands. A slow wander around and bought a few things, well mainly Rachel did, she had luckily looked on the websites before the show but thought she would wait until the show to see if she could get a discount but oh no, the price on the stand was actually more for one of the things she bought so it was challenge time and an even bigger discount for the mistake!!!  Then we headed to the stands to watch the mini’s going up Santa Pod’s drag strip.  As normal some of the more highly tuned Mini’s were doing the ¼ mile in around ten seconds.  David did take his car up the strip after doing some performance mods to his engine, wow did he take it serious, car unloaded and all his bits put in our tent and even worked it out to have minimal fuel in his car, he didn’t say no to a couple of bacon butties though.  Three runs up the strip and bettering his time every run, the best being 17 seconds although I think we all agreed that his best run was when he beat a new BMW Bini over ¼ mile.  Well done Dave a moral victory for all real mini owners.

The weekend finished with a steady run home and lots of mini fun to talk about. We’re all looking forward to doing it again in 2017 and hope that this time we’re in minis and the weather is good.  Oh yeah and we’ll try and remember what band are playing but I’m not making any promises.

Steve

Gloucestershire Steam and Vintage Extravaganza, South Cerney – 5th – 7th August 2016

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Gloucestershire Steam and Vintage Extravaganza, South Cerney – 5th – 7th August 2016

Myself and Steve arrived about 5.30pm on the Friday evening and began setting up camp, soon after Nick arrived and set up camp and then called to get a taxi home to pick up another car only to be told by the taxi firm it would cost him £50.00, so he called Kev to come and give him a lift. Finally about 8pm Steve and I fired up the BBQ to have something to eat just as David arrived, we were going to wait for Nick to return but it was a good job we didn’t as he didn’t arrive back until about 10pm.  After a few drinks we retired for an early (ish) start on Saturday to set up the gazeebo and the display boards.  Nick had gone down to the bar and had an extensive tour of the camp site on his way back, allegedly he walked out of the main gate 3 times!!!

Saturday morning we took the cars up to the club stand to see that Dawn and Rich Clark had already arrived. After setting up the stand the stove was on for the well needed cuppa and the BBQ fired up once more and Steve and myself had a full breakfast whilst everyone else had settled for butties of some description.

After breakfast it was time for a wander to see what the show had to offer. A lot of traders, club stands of classic cars, motorbikes, tractors, military vehicles and steam engines, with the small steam engines running to show their capabilities, craft tent and lots lots more.

Steve’s youngest arrived with his girlfriend and the dog around lunch time, Rich Clarke was having his lunch, he took his eyes off his plate for one second and the dog nicked his sausage, a very funny moment for everybody but Rich.

Another mosey around and then back to the camp site for a BBQ and more drinks and a trip to the bar. We retired a bit weary and light headed so to speak.

After a very windy night we arrived on the club stand to find that the gazebo had received a battering. Stove on for a cuppa and BBQ fired up for butties.  A wander around the show and watch some of the vehicles going around the arena and the air display.  Due to the sheer size of the show we could not do it all justice.  Back to the stand for lunch and a rest and a chat.  A sunny but very windy day which saw the end of the gazebos life as the wind was too strong and it began ripping at the seams in a number of places leaving it unrepairable!!!  Around 3.30pm it was time to pack up the boards and the gazeebo and venture home.