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.