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Castle Combe Action Day – 26th September 2015

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Castle Combe Action Day – 26th September 2015

Saturday September 26th saw Castle Combe race circuit go Mini mad once again.

With an early start to the day and the usual set up of the club stand as quickly as possible to get a brew on and then not shortly followed by bacon butties the sun was soon out.

This year we had a total of 11 cars on the club stand which was great to see, as it gave us all a chance to catch up after a busy year of everything Mini.

2015 saw the first year that Mini World didn’t run the action day for over 20 years, but instead the day was in conjunction with Mini Sport.

The action was as good as ever with plenty of club stands and traders stalls to walk around. As always the auto jumble was busy with some good bargains to be had.

Sitting in the sun on quarry corner whilst enjoying an ice cream from one of the many food stands gave people the chance to watch their favourite little car blast round the circuit or the slightly more relaxed parade lap.

This year we also got to enjoy the drift cars showing off what they can do, whilst burning out their tyres and creating lots of smoke and noise.

All in all another great family fun day out.

Simon and family.

Jurassic Coast Minis – Mouth to Mouth – 6th September 2015

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Jurassic Coast Minis – Mouth to Mouth – 6th September 2015

This is an annual run organised by the Jurassic Coast Mini Club from Weymouth to Exmouth in aid of R.N.L.I.

This was the second year we have attended the event and it was a very early leave from home, meeting up with Dawn on route in Melksham at 6.30am (we had planned to stay in Weymouth on the Saturday but with all focus being on North Devon the weekend before accommodation bookings had been forgotten about and all hotels were fully booked).  We arrived in Weymouth for breakfast on the seafront at 8.30am.

Then a short trip over to Bowleaze Cove for the event start in front of the Riviera Hotel where around 80 minis were assembled on the hotel lawn and Len had already arrived.

At 10.00am the run set off for a tour around Weymouth and Portland and then out along the Dorset coast to the runs mid-way break at the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary (unfortunately Len and Dawn missed this stop due to a delay on route caused by a large camper van blocking the route).

After a short stop at Sidmouth the run moved on to its final destination at the Exmouth Life Boat Station for a BBQ and a charity raffle (no prizes for Six-Ex members this year).

Again this was a really well organised event and hopefully we can get a bit more organised next year and have a few more members attending too.

An amazing £1134.40 was raised for the R.N.L.I.


Legendary Grand Tour, North Devon 29th – 31st August 2015

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Legendary Grand Tour, North Devon 29th – 31st August 2015

Well it was back for its 20th year, ‘250 minis, 30 bikes and one big reason’, raising money for The Children’s Hospice South West.

The weather prior to the weekend was not good; Steve received a phone call from the lady at the campsite to say that the field was a bit of a mess therefore she was moving us to another field as to not get the minis caked in mud.

We arrived on Friday to a beautiful view of the sea and on the horizon Lundy Island.

As you can imagine, being on a cliff top it was a bit breezy which made putting up the tents and the gazebo an interesting task but with all hands on deck eventually we were all set up. It was then nice to sit back and watch several members of Mendip Minis and 3 IMM friends of Nicks who were camping with us.  It was then time for the first shopping trip of the weekend (I left Nick trying to fix the engine mount on my mini).  The evening consisted of food and lots of drink and silly activities involving our costumes for the Monday.

Saturday morning saw a number of jaded people (no names mentioned but it wasn’t me, eventually after a number of cups of coffee and a bacon butty we were ok to venture out, we all went off and did our own things with myself and Steve going off to Morrison’s to get food for the BBQ for 15 people!!!

Early Saturday evening we ventured our way to Northam Burrows for the ‘Saturday night cruise’ with Nick in front taking us the scenic route (or just the wrong way); it was a good job we left early!!!  After the cruise it was back to the campsite for a group BBQ (and more drink) and silly antics.

Luckily enough not too much was drank Friday night so the early morning rise was not too bad (but bad enough).  Coffees, bacon butties and at 9.15am we were good to go and head our way down to Westward Ho!  Silly hat day was still very much alive with the added in of onesies.

Unfortunately the weather was a bit wet but it didn’t stop people mingling around and having ice creams.  Eventually the brass band arrived and we were off to the large crowd lining the streets waving and cheering.  The route took us through a number of small villages along the way with a stop at Hartland Quay for a comfort break and a burger.

As it had been raining I had discovered  the new blades on my windscreen wipers were rubbish leaving the windscreen very smeary and sometimes they did not actually want to stop, Nick tried to fix it to no avail, also Len announced he had used ¾ of a tank of fuel just that morning.  Eventually we finished at Dartington Crystal where we did not stop but ventured our way back to the campsite.  A number of the group went out for a pub meal which was not a bad thing as it was very, very wet.  When they arrived back it was definitely a beeline for the gazebo to take shelter, a number of drinks (well it is nice to be sociable) and some reminiscing and then off to bed for another early rise on Monday for the ‘big day’.

Coffee, bacon butties and into our onsies.

Some people had to pack up as they had to be back in work on the Tuesday, 9.15am came but some people were nowhere near ready so unfortunately we had to leave without them.  We headed our way to Victoria Park, Bideford where it was drizzling a bit but we headed down to get a coffee and a wander around, you could say looking silly but we were not alone with some people in some fantastic costumes.  In come the brass band and off we went, a little late as there seemed to be a medical emergency somewhere on the site.  The crowds were definitely pleased to see us back as they lined the park entrance and the streets all along the route showing their support.  Through the villages and towns, through the hospice where the children were there waving homemade flags and holding banners which always draws a lump in the throat.  Then it was a re-group and off to Lee Abbey where there was a bit of a problem.  Due to the weather we could not group in the field at Lee Abbey so we stopped on the side of the road leading into the valley of the rocks where by the time the last mini joined the queue we were blocking the members of the public so we had to move to the road leading into Lee Abbey.

The morning had been a challenge for both me and Dawn as her windscreen wipers decided not to turn off too and mine got worse so it was going to be a night of fixing minis for Nick (well he did have a night off Sunday!!).  Eventually after all the messing around we were off again and on our way to Ilfracombe.  Eventually we arrived in to the park at 5pm, a drink (and an ice cream for Nick) and then back to the campsite with a stop off at the chip shop.  Exhausted and cold as the wind had picked up again (all in time for us to pack up in the morning) we had our fish and chips and a few drinks whilst Nick messed around on mine and Dawns minis and Steve and Rich finished up the wood from the fire pits from the weekend and then we retired.

Tuesday morning was a slow start, coffees and bacon butties before starting to pack up and get the tents down and cram it all back into the minis.  On route home Nick’s windscreen wipers packed up.

A very enjoyable weekend where our cars behaved apart from the windscreen wipers!!!

Over the weekend £21079 was raised with £3804 collected by the bikers street collection. After the event, sponsorships were to be collected and paid directly to the hospice.  Over the 20 years of the Grand Tour us mini-ites have raised nearly £500,000.

The tour began in 1994 and the club started doing this event in 1998 and we started donating in 2001, over this time (13 years), we have donated £13187.23.


Gloucestershire Steam and Vintage Extravaganza, South Cerney – 31st July – 2nd August 2015

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Gloucestershire Steam and Vintage Extravaganza, South Cerney – 31st July – 2nd August 2015

This is a show for everyone.  There were a large number of sections to the show: classic cars through the years; steam engines; commercial vehicles; buses; coaches; motorcycles; bicycles; tractors; military vehicles; emergency vehicles and historic caravans to name but a few.  There was also an area for animal and countryside where there was pony rides and a number of displays such as birds and dogs, etc.  A fair ground also made an appearance on the vast field along with, stalls, trade stands, auto jumble, craft tent, etc.

In attendance both days was myself, Rachel, Ollie and Nick with other members coming along during either days.

Rachel, Ollie and Nick camped over the Saturday night and enjoyed sampling the cider and beer on offer in the beer tent.  There was also a band playing which was good but as that drew to a close the stagger back to the tent began and directions were slightly hazy.

We also took the opportunity to celebrate our Chairman’s big birthday, Rachel’s mum made a splendid cake and some alcohol was partaken of!!!

There was also an air show with acrobatics in the air and a number of skydivers landing in the arena with a multitude of coloured parachutes.

As usual the BBQ was well used, breakfasts, lunches and dinner (although the bacon was left in Wootton Bassett and I had to go back and fetch it, well it got me out of setting up!!)

The weather was kind to us on both days so an enjoyable weekend was had.

Dawn (with a bit of input from Rachel)


Lydiard Park Auto and Retro Festival – 25th July 2015

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Lydiard Park Auto and Retro Festival – 25th July 2015

This was the second year Swindon Borough Council has run this event at Lydiard House.  Following the success of last year’s car display this year’s event was much larger with more car clubs attending, trade stands, music and a very good beer tent.

Despite some confusions on the part of the organisers on our arrival and them not realising the Riley was part of the mini family and sending me one way and Dawn and Len in their minis another, things were soon sorted and the gazebo and the club display boards were set up, the boards attracted a lot of interest during the day from visitors to the show.

Hopefully this show will continue to grow and develop over the coming years and we can have more cars on the club stand next year.  Although the Council are currently reviewing the future running of the park so we will have to await further news and developments.


Atwell Wilson Motor Museum Classic Vehicle Show – Calne – 12th July 2015

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The Atwell Wilson Motor Museum is situated in the heart of Wiltshire. The majority of the exhibits are cars from the 1920’s onwards. There is a collection of motorcycles, mopeds and push bikes as well as interesting motoring memorabilia and a reconstructed 1930’s style garage complete with cars.

Nick, Dawn, and myself turned up first thing and put up the 'Show Gazebo and Stand' ready for the busy day ahead. The forecast was for rain so we came prepared.

Richard and Seb Bolwell arrived with their young son Ruben during the morning, together with a visit from a member I haven't seen for a long time, Chris Cole. He remembered everyone but me until I said who I was. Have I changed that much? It was lovely to see them all.

There was a real array of cars, tractors and even the Wiltshire Air Ambulance were there, raising money for their very worthy cause. The Calne Silver Band were also in attendance giving a real 'village fete' feeling to the day.

This year's theme was a celebration of Mk1 and Mk2 Jaguars. There were over 200 classics on display. Prizes on the day were awarded to: 

Best Theme Vehicle - Mr Don Westcott, 1956 Jaguar XK 140.

Best Car in Show - Mr Tony Green 1953 Aston DB 2/4 DHC.

Best Motor Cycle - Mr Jon Goodchild, 1924 Douglas 2 3/4 hp.

Atwell Wilson Memorial Trophy for Best Restoration - Mr Terry Connor BLMC 1100.

Best Commercial - Mr Michael Goddard, 1936 Leyland Beaver.

Best Tractor - Mr Graham Knight, Oliver 80 Standard.

The museum itself  has a variety of contents, from a number of everyday classics, to rare cars and lorries. Amongst these are a 1934 Alvis Speed 20, 1938 Daimler EL24, 1936 Rover 14hp Sports/Saloon and a 1951 Dennis Fire Engine. Richard Atwell who founded the museum with his wife Hazel, had always had a strong interest in North American cars, so there was an interesting array of Ford, GM, and Chrysler products from across 'The Pond'.

There is also a good variety of rare motorcycles on display, carrying the legendary names of Brough, BSA, Clyno, Matchless, Triumph, Norton, Velocette and Indian, to name but a few.

The rain came in towards the end of the day but it was thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to attending next year.

Richard Clark.

Purton Carnival and Fete – 4th July 2015

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Purton Carnival and Fete – 4th July 2015

A group of us met in the car park of The Prince of Wales pub in Wootton Basset and set off in convoy to this Purton event. It wasn't too hard to find and I spotted a farm shop next to it.

We pitched up the gazebo and the weather was quite good. I walked to the village where everyone was lining the streets waiting for the carnival procession to come by. There were a couple of floats and groups of school children in various forms of fancy dress.

There was a central ring with various acts - dancing, dog shows, etc. There was also a very impressive music school for young people playing a variety of guitars and drums - in some cases the instrument was larger than the musician!

There was an interesting collection of vehicles and I think we had the most vehicles in a club and certainly the largest collection of minis!

The weather was good enough to get the shorts on and sun-tan lotion out.


Club Social BBQ – 28th June 2015

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Club Social BBQ – 28th June 2015

Celebrating 20 years of the club

This year’s BBQ was held at Rich and Seb Bolwell's house in Westbury.

We had warm fine weather and congregated in a very pleasant garden.

There was a good turn out even though there were a few people that unfortunately had to cry off at the last minute.

Seb laid on lots of lovely food, there was even a separate BBQ for vegetarians and vegetarian snacks.

Rich made a good chef as Seb ensured that our glasses remained full.

One of the Six-Ex founder members, Andy Down, graced us with his presence with his family.  He confirmed that the club was formed 20 years ago so next year we will 21.

Many thanks to Rich and Seb for being our host and hostess for this year’s celebration.

National Mini Cooper Day – Beaulieu – 14th June 2015

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National Mini Cooper Day – Beaulieu – 14th June 2015

I awoke to a technology disaster, my phone had a moment, I did what the usual IT response is ‘switch it off and on again’, when I switched it back on I was unable to unlock my sim card.  After a number of calls to Vodafone with no luck unlocking the sim card and I was told it was corrupt and I needed a new one (either have one posted out or visit a Vodafone store).

Now running late I visited the club website to enable me to get Nicks phone number to tell him I was running late.  Nick had slept through two alarms and two calls from me and was also running late.  Finally I arrived at the meeting point where Nick and Dawn were waiting, we made a plan to stop in Salisbury to try and find a Vodafone store and we set off.

We arrived in Salisbury, Nick managed to locate 2 stores, one opening at 10am, result.  When they finally opened in I went and less than 10 minutes later I had a new sim card and my phone back in working order.  It is terrible how much we rely on them these days; it’s like having a limb removed!!!

We departed Salisbury and trundled our way to Beaulieu losing Dawn twice on route.  On route I received a phone call from an ex club member who was on the Mendip Minis club stand for the day asking us if we would like to join them, as we did not have a club stand booked, which was very kind of them and we were very grateful.

We pitched up much later than expecting, the sun was shining and it was very warm.  So it was first things first, out came the BBQ and stove, followed by the bacon, rolls, tea and coffee and within 15 minutes we were fed and watered (so to speak).

Then off to look around the show and the museum.  I have not been to this show for a few years and it was noticeable that there were not as many traders as I have seen in previous years but beside that Nick did manage to spend some money and get the few bits that he needed.  There were a number of club stands and plenty of minis in the ‘mini only’ parking area as well as the Show ‘N’ Shiners displaying their cars in the main arena.

The museum had changed a bit since my last visit, a slightly new layout, a few new cars, an additional wing to the Top Gear tent featuring more of their weird and wonderful inventions from their challenges and different cars in the ‘On Screen Cars’ display with the infamous flying car from Harry Potter, the anti-pesto van from Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit and of course the Mr Bean mini to name but a few.

Then back to the tent to find Nick scoffing more bacon butties!!  So I gave him a list of jobs that needed doing on my car and off he went to carry out the mission!! I did help him out where I could and I made him his fix of coffee.  But these little jobs became more of a hassle, as we have all experienced, and it created more of a shopping list.

Once the jobs were completed we sat down and chatted for a bit and chilled enjoying the sunshine.  Then Mendip Minis packed up and went on their onward journey home and Nick and I went for another wander around the show to see if we could find the bits for my car that had been added to the shopping list

By now a lot of people and traders had left, we fired up the BBQ and had homemade burgers which were lovely but I think just as much went into the BBQ than went in to the rolls. Then we packed up and headed our way home.  It was a good day and much better that the sun was shining as opposed to the forecasted rain.


Cherished Vehicle and Farm Fun Day – Lions Club – Allington Farm, Chippenham – 7th June 2015

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Cherished Vehicle and Farm Fun Day – Lions Club – Allington Farm, Chippenham – 7th June 2015

As this show was the following day to the Rowdeford School event the number of club members in attendance was down due to other commitments.  Dawn and I had our cars on the club stand and we were visited by other club members during the day with Karen, Richard, Seb and Reuben in attendance.

This was the fourth year that Chippenham Lions have staged this event at Allington Farm and this year well over 200 classic vehicles were in attendance as well as a good variety of trade and charity stalls, a fair ground and arena displays owning the day.