Friday, 31 May 2013

Sunny night of Classics

Its been on the calendar for months now and the weather had brightened up the weekend before, signs we're all looking good for a nice evening at the Longbridge Mill for the Hants & Berks MC Classic car night. The next four days consisted of downpours and long hours at work, come friday evening I'd forgotten about the meet, but the blue sky and sight of our Camper on the drive triggered a quick tea and change of clothes for a trip out in the Camper. The small matter of a backache wasn't going to stop me (in hindsight, the lack of PAS in a heavy van probably didn't help what turned out to be a trapped nerve!) Taking the back roads to the A33 I followed a fellow H&B member in his Rover 2000 to the carpark where a good turnout awaited.

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I was waved into a space along side a 911 and Rolls Royce with an Austin A35 sized gap next to me.

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After a quick chat it was time to get snapping, the sun was starting to set and I wanted to capture the cars in the light. The variety as ever was varied. Loads of regulars mixed in with some new comers. One of the highlights for me was this sublime Bentley in green, its swooping lines and wheel spats marking it out as rather special.

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The owners of this Healey were soon to embark on a trip to Europe for a touring holiday. What a way to travel.

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Our convoy companion on the drive down to the meet.

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The White family arrived in a rather modern pickup complete with a college project off-road buggy. Far too clean and in need of a thrashing across some dirt, it was staying high and dry until it after its display and marking at the college.

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The Coventry corner as Alvis owner Rob called it. His nicely patina'd saloon stood alongside a pair of Truimphs.

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It wouldn't be a classic car night without some synchronised bonnet popping!

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Across the hedge there was a rawer element in the form of a brace of Caterhams and a Westfield, finished off by a former racing driver Robs new trackday toy, his Lotus 2-11. It certainly turned heads as he arrived complete with Stig style helmet on.

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With a pint in hand (cheers Rob) we nattered until it got dark and the cars dispersed into the night.

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The drive back was perfect, empty roads and the flat four in the back bumbling along nicely. I always look forward to the Longbridge nights, roll on 2014! The rest of the photos can be found here


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Dubs back at Easthampstead Park

Last year was a washout, the heavy rain rendered the fields at Easthampstead Park swamp like and Dubs at the Park was cancelled. We had no where near as much rain as last year so it was looking positive. But the forecast in the week leading up to the show was worrying. Come Sunday morning and the sun was peeking through and it shone all day. Since stepping away from the club team we no longer sport orange on the day and can have a lazy wake up, trundling along the A329(M) at just after 11am there were no Dubs to be seen, nothing on the country lane up to the gate and nothing along the driveway, it didn't look promising, but as we flashed our complimentary tickets at the gate were told to take the last spot on the side field, the place was heaving.

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With Lily fast asleep in the buggy we headed off to catch up with Katherine, Rich, Doug and William, who we'd arranged to meet up with. We scooted through the camper field of the back lawn. Stopping to listen for  a few minutes at the new acoustic stage.

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We abandoned the packed lunch we brought along in favour of the BBQ and a couple of pints! Chatting away and catching up with some old friends we'd not seen in a while. Then it was time for some Dub spotting. With Lily and Doug leading the way onto the back field. It was a water-cooled white wash, with very few Beetles compared to previous years. Its always good to see what the Golf brigade are up to though.

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Kim was again in full on Instagram mode and getting some arty angles on the day.

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Our friend Daz brought out his bonkers mini Beetle, towing it behind his Formula Vee Beetle.

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Moving back up to the terrace, we wandered over to the MTB display area, despite a tiny space, the bikers lept and flew across the scene and produced some amazing jumps, 4ft high from a standing start!

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While back on the field the T25 fire truck was helping in the worst wet t-shirt competition I've ever seen!

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Round at the front of the house we bumped into a lot of friends and Lily got to explore a bit more.

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With the day getting on we said goodbye to Katherine & Co and wandered round the Camper field at the side. T4/5s seem to be on the increase, but there were some lovely Splits and Bay and T25s too.

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With a final sweep round and a chat to a few more people, Lily decided she had had enough of the day so we clambered back aboard the Camper for the drive home as the awards were being presented.

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The show was rammed, I've no idea what the numbers were this year, but in the past its been well over a thousand Dubs. It was good to see last year didn't dent the enthusiasm too much and it kept its chilled and laid back style. Well done to Stu and his merry band of orange t-shirters. There are a few more photos here


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Popping up the road to Bearwood

We are really spoilt for choice when car shows are concerned, within 20 miles of us each year there are dozens of little meets and big shows. Bearwood now seems to be a regular on our schedule. With the weather undecided we held out till the last minute, then jumped in the Camper for the two minute ride to the College and the car show. Normally we get waved round the back, but this was set aside for pre-booked cars, so we were told to join the line on the driveway "can you just back in between that Porsche and the other Camper and the post!"

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First stop was the food stalls for lunch, tempura prawns & chips, wasn't cheap, but very tasty. We sat and listened to the jazz band playing and chatted to a group at our table who'd come up in a Rolls Royce and an Aston Martin. Fed and ready to go we set off round the gravel past rows of Jaguars, TVRs and Astons and a very orange BMW!

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Not wanting to miss out, the Italians were out in force too, with several gleaming Ferraris and a Lamboghini that made a lot of noise.

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Heading down the steps from the terrace we stopped for frozen yoghurt before more cars.

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As we got to a little VW corner we had one of those 10 minutes, the sort where you bump into everyone you know. First up and old VW friend who has defected to the convertible Morris Minor world, Roy the owner of the Purple Split, Darren who sold us our first Beetle and some old friends of my brother. We then stood and watched the College's hovercraft spin round the field while Kim and Lily went for a nature walk!

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Each year, the show has a celebrity car on display. Previous vehicles have included some of Classic Team Lotus stable. This time it was a genuine Alan Mann Mk1 Escort from the 1968 British Saloon Championship and Uri Gellers "spooned" car.

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We headed back round to the courtyard to see the cars there, the queue for sitting in the emergency vehicles was fairly small so we took advantage with Lily clambering into a massive Mercedes lorry and Fire Engine.

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The courtyard contained a wild mix of cars from the cleanest Transit vans I've ever seen this side of a showroom, through the Monkimobile and a Bond Bug.

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Out on the drive we past the Camper and looked along the last few cars as others left.

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It was a sad end for one Beetle owner, the 5spd Berg gearbox in the back of his bug was locked in gear, meaning a long wait for a trailer to get him home, they were still in good spirits as we left.

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And with that we clambered back aboard and headed the two minutes back home. The Bearwood show just keeps delivering. Lots of the same vehicles, but also plenty of new ones to boot. Its a lovely afternoon in brilliant surroundings. The rest of the photos can be found here