Saturday, 21 September 2013

Overcast Kop Hill

Last year was my first visit to Kop Hill near High Wycombe for the hill climb. Unlike the glorious sunshine and blueskies the whole weekend was looking like a washout, so when it dawned dry this morning and showed no rain till the afternoon I thought it best to get a move on. Bumping across the field once more I opted for "cherished parking" meaning a shorter walk to the spectator areas. My parking buddies for the day a WWII Jeep and a custom van.

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With a dreary sky I headed for the paddock and show ground, the hill action was still an hour away so I wanted to get round the displays and back to the covered wagons by 10am. As I walked in two glorious engines were running. Both Jaguars, one in the front of an ETCC XJS, the other in the back of the legendary XJ13.

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The cars were being moved into position on one of the stands. Behind them some of the amazing Dick Skipworth Ecurie Ecossecollection. Up for auction so possible the last time it will be seen togeather.

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Another star of the weekend was the Napier Railton LSR car. 24lts of aero engine hauling the shiny beast to several records in the early 1900s.

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Several local race teams and restoration workshops were exhibiting cars including an Aston Martin GT rebuild, a race against time to send the car up the hill, once they've rebuilt it from a pile of pats.

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As 10am loomed I headed back across the road to the spectator areas, not wishing to pay £5 for sitting in a drafty roofless grandstand, I found a gap on one of the free covered farm wagons to watch. The perfect spot to watch the cars and bike leave the line and meander up the hill, some faster than others.

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With some of the early entrants over 100 years old, it was slow going to start with, but the pace soon picked up.

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Having watched a pair of Blower Bentleys whine past I decided to have another walk round. It would give me a chance to grab a coat and warm up. The wind whipping across the valley meant it was chilly standing still.

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One of the most modern cars of the day was the 50th anniversary McLaren MP-4

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Warmed up and with some faster machinery coming along I headed back to the wagons and bagged a space once more. The drizzle starting to fall again.

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Just as the Napier was being readied for its run my camera batteries went flat, nabbing the second battery that too was flat. So my mobile was pressed into service for the remainder of the day. With the morning sessions over I took advantage of the lunch break to check out a few of the cars up close and grab some food.

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I followed this wicker wonder into the village first thing this morning.

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With my walk round complete and the drizzle getting harder I decided to call it a day, the afternoon runs are the same as the morning so I wouldn't miss anything. I walked back to the Camper and bumped across the field and home. Its such a nice informal event with so many amazing cars on display. Lets hope the weather plays ball next year.

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More photos can be found here.


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bug Boogie is back

For a few years in the mid 2000s, Ultra VW magazine held its picnic in the park, Bug Boogie, local to us at Wellington Country Park. A lush green field, surrounded by trees and with deer on the fringes it was a lovely location for a show. The facilities were lacking and the traders thin on the ground, but it was a nice end to the show season. Then they upped and moved the event to Windsor race course. We couldn't make that first event there, but the reviews were not good, not helped by bad weather it got labelled by some as bland and lacking atmosphere. For the next few years we didn't bother with it and this year would have been the same until it was announced that the event was coming back to Wellington once again. The forecast this week hasn't been good. 70mph winds and driving rain predicted, so blue skies and sunshine this morning were a surprise. With such good weather and the rain not due to late afternoon we decided to double Dub the day. After an expensive (£105!) trip to the petrol station for the Beetle and the Camper we set off on the 15 minute cruise down the country lanes near us to the park.

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Rolling in to the field it was clear that the weather had put many off. It also showed that little had changed from the last time. There were a couple of traders and three portaloos....and that was it. But it was still sunny and Lily had somewhere to run around. We soon started bumping into friends, so with Neil and Alan in tow we set off, heading for the Porsche side of the field. Passing the cleanest Golf ever, one owner from new in 1979 it was proper time warp stuff with the receipt stuck inside.

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The event is shared between the two German marques, as the publishers own magazines for each. 911 as far as the eye could see as well as 924s, 914s and some 928s.

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At the end of the row, Lily found something far more exciting that cars, a baby toad which she scooped up to safety.

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Heading along the next row I spied probably the car of the day for me. A incredibly clean 356 in brown.

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Back into the VWs we had a chat to Darren, the previous owner of our Beetle before heading to the Camper for lunch.

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With tummys full once more we decided to scoot round the show once more as the weather was on the turn. Spits of rain and dark clouds were driving people away. This Spilt looked very tidy and original until you glanced round the back and spied the Subaru engine tucked away.

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With nothing to buy (well there was only one trader with a stand!) we headed past the Porsches and back to the Camper once more.

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With Lily and Kim heading off in the Beetle, I lined up a photo with a fellow baby blue paintjob. This 911 arrived with a thunderous sound and spitting the odd flame. With tennis balls and shower caps to stop the rain falling in the trumpets it was a sight. All I would need is a tow hitch and trailer to make the perfect combo!

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With the photo done, I saddled up and head back home. A game of musical cars saw everything back in the right place on the drive and another show season almost over. Bug Boogie wasn't the biggest show, it could do with some traders and more toilets (if it had sunny and busy it would have been a nightmare) But its good to have it back where it belongs.