Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Retro Rides Gathering does Shelsley Walsh

Another year, another RetroRides Gathering. But a new venue. After three years at the pretty Prescott Hillclimb in Gloucestershire, the show has moved to a bigger venue to accommodate the vast numbers of cars that turn up on the Sunday. Rolling into the Worcestershire countryside on Friday lunchtime, I was venturing into unknown territory. Adding a new track to my ever growing list is always good though, I pulled into the race paddock as one of the first and was greeted by the amazing Time Attack Lancia, the owner had brought it over from Europe and had built it himself, learning to weld along the way.

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With the campsite open(ish) I ventured in and parked up by the start of campTAB, the traditional gazebo village growing as more people joined us.

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After a bite to eat and a rest, the remaining regulars and a few new faces had turned up and the sea of tents around the Camper were set. We fired up the BBQ and scoffed meat, drank cider and talked utter twaddle until the wee small hours. I popped over to see Fergus and Andrea in Bob, there US camper they bought and drove across the Stated. A beer and a chat ended the evening nicely and at around 1am I crawled into the R'n'R bed.

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After showers during Friday and overnight, saturday dawned dry but overcast. Following a brisk hike up the hill to look over the campsite, it was time to rustle up some breakfast. Bacon and black pudding with coffee an orange juice was the order of the day. Enough was made to keep ill Will and chilly Vanessa feed and watered.

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With full stomachs and everyone else up, we went for the usual campsite walk, bumping into everyone we knew and seeing some interesting motors.

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With the others heading off to the shops, I grabbed a pasty and decided for some stupid reason it would be fun to walk the track to the top. 1000yds and 1:6 gradient are the keys points here. Fast cars get up in a little over 22 seconds. I'd like to say I was close, but it was a steep climb.

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The view from the top was pretty good and the walk down far easier.

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After a brief rest by the Camper I went for another wander to the paddock, just in time to see the Benetton B190 being unloaded. Raced by Piquet in 1990 and running nearly 700hp from its Cosworth V8. It was one of my cars of the show.

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After helping to build the gazebo to cover the car and watching it be tucked into its PJs I joined John, the driver and his mechanic along with Ian, one of the hillclimb organisers on a  track walk back to the top of the hill. As he walked and spotted drain covers and bumps we talked about the car and problems running such a highly tuned and rare machine. It was tiring, but so worth it.

Back at the campsite I tucked into a chilli before joining everyone else at the charity tat auction. Last year money was raised from drunken fools buying car tat and donated to a couple of forum regulars who lost everything in a workshop fire. This year over £1200 was raised in the same way and will be donated to some cancer charities. The forum having lost a couple of good members recently to the disease.

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Once again, KevfromWales stirred the crowd up into a frenzy and cleared the pile of junk as cash rained down. I came away with a Starsky & Hutch album from 1978, a BP ice scraper (I'll be the envy of the road this winter) and a headrest for the Beetle. The crowd dispersed back to the various gazebos and drank and chatted the night away. I took the opportunity to take my camera and tripod for a walk and got a couple of stunning shots for my troubles.

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Soon it was time to crawl back to bed and get some sleep before the big day. Sunday was sunny and with a snack inside and everything packed away I joined the queue to get into club parking. I was added as an honorary  TAB member and joined the lines of Vauxhalls, Opels and Micras that frequent the South coast workshop.

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After a brief trip back to the 1980s. I headed up to the hill for the 10am start.

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Seeing the size of the show field and the steepness of the hill. I decided to do one walk up the hill and then move back down to the show. The guest cars were away promptly and I got to see the B190 and TA Lancia in anger followed by the RWYB cars.

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After the first runs I moved further up to get a change of scenery.

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Higher and higher I walked until I reached the S bends near the top.

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Feeling hot and hungry I decided to halt my climb and head for lower ground and food. A burger and loads of water later and it was time for a whirlwind tour of the paddock and showfield.

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With tired legs and a three hour drive home I decided to throw the towel in just after 3pm and head off. A few goodbyes and I was away. A monster weekend of amazing friends, cool cars and a very steep hill. Bring on 2015. There is only one photo that can finish this blog. A full set.

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