An advert in the magazine of my local motorclub caught my eye a while back. It was for a gymkhana and BBQ. With nothing planned on the first sunday in August we decided to give it a go so bright and early in driving rain we loaded the Camper and Beetle up and headed for Foxhanger House in deepest Hampshire. With the gazebo up it wasn't looking promising.
Once the 30+ crowd of drivers and marshals had assembled we walked the courses of the five test areas, the rain got a lot heavier and we abandoned that to shelter. Suddenly a break in the clouds lead to a scurry of activity as a motley crew of automobiles amassed. Everything from our Beetle, through a TR3 and several MX5s as well as family estates and hatchbacks. Anything goes. We lined up for the first test, parallel parking. Most of the tests were similarly scored, perform the manoeuvre without hitting cones and get marks for distance in inches, closest wins. With Lily in the co-pilots seat holding scorecards we were away.
All around competitors were running the other tests and escaping the damp.
Kim was taking part as well and by the end of the morning session she had just pipped me to the post by four points!
The other tests included parking in a garage as close to the front as possible and in a garage so the passenger door could be opened fully. Both tricky to get right. Knowing the length and width of your mount is essential.
And still the rain came down, but it was easing a bit by now.
The last two tests were difficult in their own ways. Firstly driving round a course flinging hoops over stakes from the seat and then the dizzy inducing four garage shuffle. Every garage had to be parked in forwards and backwards. This actually turned out to be the easiest but longest test.
With the sun beaming down and all tests run once we stopped for the BBQ and a rest. Lily had a chance to run around with her ball and we had a natter to a few other club members.
With lunch over we set to the same tests in the afternoon, hoping to improve on my average 69 points and 17th place out of about 30. With my co-pilot in place we were away to a flying start, shaving inches off the nose in garage park.
My passenger door opened with three inches to spare. Before an impromptu stop for ice cream.
A clear run on the hoops set me up nicely for the parallel parking. Which I managed with a stunning one inch gap at the front!
The other drivers were also improving on their various scores. It was tight at the top.
With all the tests complete we waited for the final scores. I managed a 15 in the afternoon whcih combined with me poor morning saw me somewhere around 10th-12th. Kim had a right mare with the parallel parking, getting a taxi to the kerb and dropping to almost last. But we both had a great laugh doing the tests and Lily was so well behaved in the passenger seat all day. Looking forward to the next event now.
P.S, the winning score was an unbelievable -3. You got points back for not using all the hoops and he was regularly parking an inch or less off the cones! There are loads more photos from a brilliant day here
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