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IMM, Westport, Ireland – Thursday 25th to Monday 29th May 2017

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IMM, Westport, Ireland – Thursday 25th to Monday 29th May 2017

The Irish Mini Owners Club had won the bid to host the event in 2017 which would mark 20 years since the IMM was first held in Ireland at Bandon, Co. Cork.

The venue for 2017 was Westport House, Co. Mayo, this was a fairly late change of venue due to the planned site in Piltown being sold forcing the hosts to seek an alternative venue.  Although the new site would mean a much longer drive for participants Westport proved to be an excellent choice of venue.

Dawn and Nick along with IMM friends Stephen, Jackie and Robert attended making a 2 week break of the event had booked a cottage in Connemara the week running up to the IMM weekend took in road runs up to Belfast to see the Titanic exhibition and down to Bunratty Castle near Limerick.

Thursday saw the five minis reloaded for the convoy up to Westport, tents were pitched in front of the main house before a run into town for supplies, the rest of the day and evening was spent checking out the site and a Guinness or 2 at the bar.

Friday morning saw minis head off on a treasure hunt in the local area, this meant an early start and after a long evening in the bar the night before and having already done a lot of driving the previous week we decided to sit this one out and spend the day around the trade village before the opening ceremony and party that went on well in to the early hours of the morning and resulted in sections of the hall floor having to be rebuilt as it had collapsed under the weight of the crowd.

On Saturday rocker cover racing got underway and there was also a reunion at the house for those of us who had been in Bandon back in ’97, a great display of items about the event back then was put on and the videos brought back memories of what had been one of the great IMMs.  The evening was spent off site with a visit to local pubs where we were joined by Stephen, Jackie and Roberts German friends.

Sunday was spent on site with tickets being booked for next year’s event in Portugal and a go on the swan boats on the river in front of the Westport house.  The evening saw the closing ceremony with Paddy Hopkirk getting the evening underway before the traditional handover of the key to the Portuguese ready for next year.

London to Brighton – Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st May 2017

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London to Brighton – Saturday 20th – Sunday 21st May 2017

The weekend started early Saturday morning with a smooth cruise down the M4 in Elsie and Blossom – or so I thought. Behind me a calamity was starting to unfold; horrific engine knocking and clutch failure. We stopped in Slough for a spot of breakfast and a decision was made to lumber me with both tents and for Steve and Rachel to head back and pick up Rachel’s Mini. Me and Alix continued the interesting drive through London over Battersea Bridge alone making it to Crystal Palace Park in time for opening; getting mine and Alix’s tent up, along with Steve and Rachel’s.

After a few rain showers and some hiding in our tent Steve and Rachel brought the good weather with them; and with their tent already up the party started almost immediately. A pub crawl in Crystal Palace watching all the Mini’s arrive at the event; with the distinctive Mini sound injecting some fun into the streets of Crystal Palace. After several local brews and a take away later we headed back to the comfort of our tents for the night.

Sunday usually comes with its own alarm clock; the sound of Mini’s rumbling over the park from around 4:30am is enough to get anybody out of bed. With the tents down and packed in the cars a proper wake up was required in the form of Bacon ready for the day ahead. After checking in; attaching runs plaques and filling up on Oil and Water everybody was ready for the trip ahead. Years gone by we have followed the official routes; both the traditional A23 route and more modern M23 route. This year though we wanted to make good time to Brighton so we made our own; avoiding the usual traffic blackspots via the A22 rejoining at the M23. This was a success and we managed to get a parking space on Maderia Drive very close to the action; being directly opposite the traders.

At Maderia Dirve is the most Mini’s you will ever see in one location; with one and a half miles of seafront lined with Mini’s – quite a sight if you have never seen it before. Me and Alix had the almost mandatory Ice Cream and Fish and Chips on the Pier overlooking the pebble beach and all the action along the seafront. After a walk around the traders and fabulous Mini’s on show we headed off on a short drive to Arundel where we had a hotel for night. All in all; a great weekend despite the early issues and highly recommended if you have never done it before. From start to finish the event is a spectacle; however it isn’t for the faint hearted with a late night and early start with a lot of driving.

Riviera Run – Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th May 2017

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Riviera Run – Saturday 13th – Sunday 14th May 2017

This year saw both a change of venue and date for this long running event organized by the Cornish Mini Owners Club.#

Although the plan had been not to attend this year as the date re-schedule away from the bank holiday weekend meant the show would be held the weekend prior to Nick and Dawn going to the IMM in Ireland.  However due to gaining a few extra days off work and able to get down to the show.

The new location at Pentewan Sands Holiday Park between St Austell and Mevagissey proved to be a much improved show location than the previous site with more traders in attendance and more events being organised over the weekend by the host club, a couple of road runs were also organised for the following week for those who were staying on.

Next years show dates are confirmed for the weekend of 12th and 13th May, unfortunately those of us going to the IMM 2018 wont be able to go to Cornwall as IMM starts in Portugal 17th May.

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