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With the weekend approaching of our first planned breakfast trip, the weather forecast for the Saturday was bitterly cold and the Sunday to be sunny and feeling warm. Was the forecast going to be correct?
Waking up on Sunday (22nd) the sun was already bright and cheery and I was hoping that the day would continue in that way.
Two other kit cars met at our house and off we set. Meeting up with three other Tigers in Wisbech, we all set off in convoy to Downham Market. Arriving at Arbuckles, we met up with Dave & Jane Sams, according to Jane, they have been there for ages as Dave had got the meeting time wrong - men hey!!!
Soon the carpark, had 11 cars in total from EATOC, Tigers, Locost and an Astra. It was good to see many faces at our first planned trip of the year. After much chattering outside, introducing members to each other, we soon were inside consuming a fab breakfast. Once the plates were empty, another chat took place, and a drive out was agreed, with me navigating, heading towards Swaffham and returning to Sandringham for coffee and cake.
To me, it was a lovely day out, great to be back on the road again and hopefully the new members enjoyed the day too.
This year we decided that we would go on the Breakfast Drive out being held at The Sharnbrook Hotel (19 April), who had kindly invited our club to attend.
Last year, we had attended their car show and despite the damp weather, there was a good turnout. The Sharnbrook Hotel car park was buzzing with cars (100 approx) when we arrived, in all shapes and sizes. Three Tigers made the journey myself, Giles and Dave Mallett. From kits to vintage, conventional to unconventional but each and everyone was made welcome.
Breakfast was excellent, however we decided not to follow all the cars on 70 mile drive out. I made a recording of the cars leaving the car park (which is posted on facebook, for those of you that follow our page) it was a lovely sight and sound !!
The pub meetings generally don't get a write up in the newsletter as not much news worthy happens at them.
However this one was slightly different in that we had a total of 8 cars turning up including one that hadn't been seen for about 8 years.
That you might guess from the pictures below is a blue Porsche 550 replica. It used to be owned by David Turner who passed away some years ago. It has spent the last 8 years in storage until his son Niall Turner decided to pull it out of storage and get it running again. I think it will be at Stoneleigh if you are going.
The pictures below are just a selection from the event (actually the ones that came out best as I didn't take my normal camera)
With the weather being forecast as rain for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, what consequences would this have on our trip to Stoneleigh Kit car show? As usual Griff & I set off on the Saturday as we camp there for the weekend, the forecast for that day was showers. A few spots of rain fell, when we were at the pub for lunch. I could not see any difference to the road improvements on the Tollbar roundabout (A45/A46) , a year on, still a nightmare. Have checked and it is not scheduled to be completed till Autumn 2016. Something to look forward to next year!
However, the rain started to fall late Saturday evening and continued through the night. Sunday morning was grey, wet and miserable and by 10 o clock, there was hardly any movement on the site by any kit cars. There were the odd brave souls. Sadly the weather deterred people from attending the show in their kits, however people did venture in their tin tops, who had tales to tell about the sheer volume of water on the roads.
The Tiger pitch could not even muster up cars to double figures parked there on the Sunday. Monday was a brighter day and there was 20 Tigers parked there. Even though there were not so many kit cars parked up around the various pitches, there were some great kits to look at and admire, plus some great trade stands. Have to say that the entertainment on Sunday evening was an improvement on the previous years!
The return leg was interesting to say the least, the Tollbar junction/roundabout was congested and queuing but once through that, the roads were not too bad. Griff had told me the route home (in case we got split up) but at Weldon, Corby he signalled right, which was not the way he had told me. Just off the roundabout, he pulled over, I thought that he had got cramp but in fact the clutch cable had snapped and he was lucky to get the car off the main road. Bonnet off, Griff confirmed that it was that, much to the amusement of the local residents who were all twitching their net curtains, a very sweet mature gentleman, complete with a walking stick, hobbled up with his dogs and offered his assistance. He gave us the full postal address for the RAC. With it being a Bank Holiday, we resigned outselves to a very long wait but no, a very nice RAC patrolman turned up within 10 minutes and replaced the cable all within 45 minutes. Thank you RAC - will give credit to them for their excellent service.
Once again, thanks to camping crowd for their company over the weekend and all the other fellow club members for popping along and saying hello.
Well the day dawned bright and sunny - we were very lucky judging by the weather for the rest of the month. The initial journey to Tiger was a nice gentle trip with no hold ups - this was good as the A47 is notorious for getting snarled up. At Tiger I met up with the other cars. There were quite a few of them as can be seen from the photos. We were going to start the run with 15 cars, unfortunately John Aylward's Aviator had a very serious problem and couldn't leave the factory.
The first stretch was easy, a quick drive through the centre of Wisbech and we headed out via the A1101 towards Sutton bridge, over the bridge (fortunately it wasn't scheduled to open) and the down the A17 to Kings Lynn. At Lynn we took the A47 to cross the Hardwick roundabout. This was achieved although I did notice some cars almost heading down the left lane and having to move over just before the slip road.
At East Winch we met up with Richard Gaze and Ian Stevenson, to do this we needed to get off the road and so had ended up diverting into the Carpenters Arms car park and formed a long queue of 16 cars which then had to get out and back onto the main road. Certainly got some interest from the pub staff....
The back roads to Sandringham where passed almost without incident. The only thing of note was Dave Mallet's front wheelarch came loose and he stopped to remove it before it could do some serious damage.
Apart from that we all arrived together and then met the last car, Carl Lumley's R6. We also met a retired couple who were very interested in the cars - so interested that two weeks later they have bought a Tiger and have joined the club. After a good lunch (in all the years I have been going to Sandringham it is the first time I have eaten there...) we them set off for the second half.
A few miles out of Dersingham we had a problem, with Ian Stevenson's car. He suddenly came to a halt as the front suspension broke. I stopped and asked it it was anything I could help with. He said no as it appeared the hub carrier had broken and he was going to get the AA out. It turned out after a bit of investigation that the previous owner had reused a nyloc on a suspension joint. A bit of careful spanner work and he managed to limp the car back home. Since then he has told us that every nyloc on the suspension has been checked or replaced.
When we then got to Great Bircham we were down to 6 cars. It transpired that the rest of them had missed the turning and headed off towards Docking. After a few minutes discussion it was decided to continue to the fuel stop at Burnham Deepdale and hope they had done the same. We arrived at the petrol station to find the others had already made it there.
Now the fun started. After a refuel we all set off again, at this point I was the third car from the back, so only two vehicles behind me (Simon Noble and Steve Tuck). At the Water Mill we encountered a very slow moving Ford Fiesta - now I have occasionally joked about rural Norfolk drivers, 45mph between villages and 45mph in the villages. This one was far worse - 30mph everywhere... It took about 5 miles to get by him and I think we scared him by overtaking as viewed from behind he was very twitchy as the Tigers went past.
Up ahead Allan Griffin had decided to change the route and go through Wells instead of round it. He thought everyone had gone through not realising that 3 of us were way behind. Needless to say I didn't know this and just took the main road - a couple of miles further on and I glanced in the mirrors and instead of two cars behind me there was a queue that went out of sight!
It took a while but Griff got ahead of everyone and then pulled in to the petrol station at Sheringham to force a regroup. If he had mentioned at Burnham that he planned to do this we wouldn't have got so separated. For the last section back to Fakenham I ended up taking the lead constantly checking the mirrors to ensure nobody got left behind, due to this I don't think I got above 50 all the run.
Finally without any more road based incidents (and not losing anyone) we made it to the Fakenham Garden Centre. After a break at the Garden Centre we each made our own way home.
The weather had stayed fair all day and for a lot of the day the sun also came out. Not sure how we managed to pick such good weather.
We all met up at the Little Chef on the A16/A17 junction. This was after finally getting an agreement on the start location. After some suitably large breakfasts (for some of us) the cars headed off. Now we ended up split in two groups one led by Griff seemed to go the long way round, the other smaller group was led by Rachel which left last. However the smaller group managed to get there first...
Once parked up we spent some time getting photos of the cars and talking to people on the adjacent campsite who wandered over to see what the cars were, and then we set off to explore the museum.
As you can guess from the name it is a small car museum (in both senses of the word) well when the exhibits are only typically 8' long you don't need that much space. However some of them are interesting. The ground floor is devoted to the more mainstream cars, your Reliants, Bonds, Trojans etc. The first floor is for some of the more unusual exhibits. These included quite a few French vehicles (due to their system where a 14 year old can drive a quadricycle without a license) and some very odd looking mopeds - including for those old enough to remember one that used to be sold via the mail order catalogues back in the 80s.
A good day and again the turnout goes to prove that the breakfast meetings seem to be popular events.
Click on any of the event pictures to view a full size version
Well it happened again, for some reason the second weekend in July is very rarely dry. And after a few dry years we got another sharp shower.
The day started off well, having Griff, Malcolm Smith, and Richard Gaze meeting up at my house before heading off. This time no large stones jumped out in front of cars (see last years report for that reference) so all of us left without issues. We met up with more members at Brampton hut services (Simon Noble, Peter Hinton, John Aylward, and Steve Tuck) and continued to the show.
More cars joined at the show and we ended up with 14 cars one of the best showings for a while. As usual there were a varied selection of cars, bikes and others.
The morning was spent wandering round, and viewing everything. Then about 1:15 it started to rain, a proper Kimbolton rain where for some reason the owners of tin tops started to go home. Why is it when it starts raining those people in cars best suited to the conditions go home?
Anyway for those who stuck out the weather, after an hour it stopped raining and the sun came out, so we all came out from where we had found some sort of protection. The show ring had continued throughout the rain, and later in the afternoon we got a Spitfire flyby and a motorcycle stunt show.
Despite the best efforts of the weather it was a really good show.
This was quite a memorable event for one of the club members.
After a very easy drive down (A1, A14, M11, Duxford) it was simple to find the parking area allocated to the club and get parked up. A few people had already arrived and so I spent some time chatting to them whilst putting the flag up.
Then a group of Tigers who had come the scenic route (Huntingdon, Camborne, Royston, Duxford) arrived. However the group had lost one of the cars as they came in - Allan Griffin's clutch cable had decided to part company with the pedal...
A few of us got down to the stranded car (fortunately on the right side of the pay barriers) and after a bit of trouble got the car started and driven into the museum. Now the real fun started - the clutch cable had obviously been rubbing on the casing and only had three strands left to operate it. Not really a problem we have got cars working in worse cases than this before.
It took about ten minutes to get the inner cable out of the car, followed by the outer. At this point we could see the damaged section and start fixing it. The damaged end was cut off, and the cable rethreaded through the casing (not as easy as it sounds). Then we could reattach the end of the cable. This was one piece of good luck as the cable had previously been repaired and had a bolt on end where most cables have a soldered end. Not so good is the fact that the cable was now 2" shorter.
More adjustment to the far end of the cable got enough slack to allow reconnection to the pedal. Then a further problem as we had to dismantle the pedal box to get the cable to attach back to the pedals and finally it was working.
Roughly 90 minutes to get the car back in one piece and it did make it home without a problem but the owner has now bought a brand new clutch cable.
The rest of the day was a clear, dry and very warm day. I spent most of the day looking for suitable photographic opportunities for a competition I wanted to enter, having a good nose around the aircraft exhibits and the cars on display.
There was a good variety of cars ranging from everyday stuff to 4 Delorian DMC-2s on display, a very small Scootacar, De Tomaso and a Sherpley Speed 6. The pictures should tell you more.
All in all a great day and one that may be more memorable than other shows…
Whilst we were camped at Stoneleigh in 2013 when the public left for the day the EATOC crew were joined by a solitary camper who turned out to be Trevor Harmer who ran the NWATOC (North West Area Tiger Owners Club). During my conversations with Trevor I said wouldn't it be good if a few of us came over to his neck of the woods for a road trip in our Tigers, to which Trevor said yeah go for it.
Nothing else came of the idea until I bumped into Trevor on the Derbyshire Run that year and he mentioned it again. The idea was running riot in my mind but if it was to materialize I needed to keep in touch with Trevor, so this was when I set up the EATOC Facebook page, problem solved.
Fast forward to the January planning meeting at the Ferryboat in 2015. I put forward a proposal for a Wales Road Trip and asked who would be interested and a positive response was shown. Bearing in mind Trevor and Myself had already been discussing this , I thought ok it's now or never.
I contacted Trevor and told him it was on, would he help with the hotel and routes for the trip. In total I think Trevor and Paul Hale visited four hotels to have a look and came back to me with the details for the Whitewater Hotel Llangollen as best suited for our needs. I contacted the hotel and provisionally booked nine rooms.
Now the work started and one Saturday early February I was perched in front of the PC, phone contacting people and e-mailing members the details and didn't move for about six hours. Now to be honest when I said that will be £ 50 per head deposit non refundable I expected maybe three or four people to commit. By the end of the day I had all nine rooms filled, deposits paid and was on the phone to book more rooms the next day. In total when I decided to take no more requests as I didn't want the event turning into a monster I had 13 cars and 23 people on the trip.
The day of the road trip was eventful to say the least. After leaving early Friday morning on a damp overcast day things only turned for the worse as the rain set in on the way to the first meeting point at Corby. Whilst congregated at the filling station a customer came over and informed us that a car like ours was in the ditch just over the roundabout. Over most of us go and in the ditch is Peter Coe who was on his way to a track day and lost the car as he left the roundabout and miraculously missed two previously knocked down lampposts when he came off the road. After helping him out of the dyke, the car was fine and so was Peter.
The rain continued as we carried on to our lunch meeting point at Hinkley where we met with more of the group. After lunch we set off again along the A5 which was chocker block as the M1 was closed nearby, the rain still pouring down. We continued along the A5 all the way to Shrewsbury for a coffee and toilet break loosing Niall Turner along the way, who soon rejoined the group. Coffee over, on the way again, only for Niall's starter to give up the ghost, push starts now ensued for most of the weekend.
Good news now the rain stopped and the roads dried as we made our way into sunny Wales. Finally we arrived at the Whitewater Hotel Llangollen at about 6.30 ish. All checked in and bags in rooms most of us headed for the bar for a well deserved drink. Whilst outside with my pint admiring the view a wasp flew down the back of my shirt and stung me on the back resulting in me throwing most of my pint all over the floor. For the rest of the evening, I stank of Sarsons vinegar. Dinner was served and Trevor and Paul addressed us all and told us what we were in for whilst driving on the (I must say) superb Welsh country roads. Dinner over another drink and off to bed ready for a 9.00 am start.
What followed was two of the best driving days I have ever had. The Welsh weather was fantastic sunshine and blue skies all weekend, most of the driving done in short sleeve shirts. We visited numerous fantastic places such as Bala Lake, Colwyn Bay, Great Orme, Horseshoe Pass, Llanberis Pass, the toll bridge at Dolgellau, Barmouth and a highlight for me a visit and drive through at Portmeirion. Over the weekend if we all had a penny for every photo and video taken of us we would all be rich. All credit must go to Trevor and His crew for planning the routes and leading us around Wales, checking out the hotel and eateries we stopped at.
Over the weekend we had a few mechanical mishaps but all were resolved and no one missed any of the road trip, a credit to the Dudley family and their fantastic sports cars. A special mention must go to Alan and Eve Whale who after damaging their Tiger recently had to come in their Fiesta 1.4, still nursing injuries from their accident. Eve was concerned on day one that we would leave them behind, however all were made aware they were part of our group and they tucked in the middle of our convoys and all fears were lost. We tried to lose them all weekend BUT Alan can make that Fiesta sing and was named driver of the trip.
On the Monday we decided to leave at 11.00 am and set off for the long journey home. Some went their different ways but the main group headed off together with myself leading the way. The journey home was incident free and after a stop for a coffee we made our way to Hinkley for a bite to eat. Leaving Hinkley back to Corby and home.
Over the course of the weekend I covered 768 miles averaging 29mpg not too bad for the boat-anchor if you ask me, well pleased. To say it was a brilliant four days is an understatement. Thanks to everyone who came along and supported the event.
Now begins the planning for next year that is if people want to do it all again.