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First off a quick summary - it was one of the coldest events we have attended as a club.
Now back to the normal program. The Friday before the event had been a lovely spring day with temperatures over 10C, this boded well for the weekend. On the Saturday I went to a photography show at the NEC, again not too bad on the weather until we got to coventry where there were drifts of powdery snow in the morning and then it was clear in the afternoon.
However all changed on Saturday night, depending on who you trusted for the weather (the BBC app has gone hopelessly inaccurate now they have changed from using the Met Office, the Met Office app is a lot more reliable) it was either light snow showers or constant snow all night.
Upon waking up I was greeted with a car covered in snow, very grey skies and the prospect of more snow the Tiger was left at home and I took the tintop. The roads through Peterborough were still fairly slippery and it was better to be safe than in a ditch!
I arrived first at Brampton Hut, followed a few minutes later by Peter and Jenny (in a white Audi rather than an Avon), then came Griff and Rachel (Blue Mocha not an Avon), followed by John and Gail TVR not an Aviator), and Dave and Lorraine (4x4 not an R6). As we stood chatting we heard a familiar exhaust note, Steve and Paula arrived in their Tiger (well they only live 2 miles from Brampton).
Both the Simons (Noble and Light) had dropped out and Neil Anderson living in Bedford wasn't going to make a start point further than his journey to the venue so we started off.
For some reason my Satnav took us via Easton so it was an interesting drive down some icy single track lanes - sorry, but we all arrived at the hotel in one piece which was the most important thing.
We arrived just before 8:30 - now the venue tickets stated a start time of 9AM but the breakfast wasn't open until 9:30 so we spent a rather cold hour waiting around - if the weather had been more seasonable then this wouldn't have been an issue but with temperatures around -1C and a bitingly cold wind it was raw out there. Neil Anderson arrived a bit later in his Tiger but as he only had a 15 mile round trip it was a bit easier for him.
Still there were a few cars to look around then more arrived as it got closer to 9:30 when we got into the breakfast room for some reason everyone headed for the full English (probably just to warm up).
Whilst having breakfast the hotel went through some of the events they have planned for this year - 3 night trip to Ireland £3000, 5 night trip to Italy £5995 (all per person!). Slightly out of my price bracket.
Finally it was time for everyone to leave - most of them were heading for Sywell as part of the drive out whereas the EATOC members were heading home. However before we left we made sure to get loads of photos and Griff shot a video (using my new tripod so it should be very stable..)
Finally we all left for home.
It wasn't a bad day - just wish it had been warmer so the Tiger could have got a run out.
A selection of pictures are below - I took almost 200 as everyone left but haven't really go the room to put them here
Yet again, the Kit Car world had been kindly invited by Adam, Complete Car Magazine to attend his premises at Grantham for Coffee & Cake, on 31 March (Easter Saturday).
The weekend prior to the event had been sunny, dry and mild. Yet the forecast for Easter was a typical Bank Holiday one, wet and gloomy! On Good Friday, the weather deteriorated and a decision was that we would make the decision on Saturday morning.
Arising Saturday morning, it was not raining, woo hoo but the weather app said that it would rain heavier after dinner. Ady & Mandy, were soon round ours for coffee, before we all set off to meet up with David & Lorraine at Market Deeping, to be honest, we travelled to Grantham with hardly any rain falling down but loads of moisture coming up from road spray and puddles.
Arriving at Grantham, we found parking space with ease, as I believe the weather deterred people from arriving in their kits, there was a fair selection of people having coffee, who arrived in their tin tops. Shortly after, our friends from EAKCC arrived, these guys had stopped for a Full English Breakfast. Grabbing a coffee and delicious slice or slices of cake, soon everyone was chatting away all huddled together in Adam's unit as heavy showers fell.
Yet, again, many thanks to Adam for the invitation, we headed to the pub for a wonderful carvery, where yet again, people stared at us, arriving in open top cars on a wet and chilly day. The Gap pub yet again, provided us all with warmth and hearty food. The journey home, was not so kind as it did rain but it felt good to be back on the road again.
The tulip map run was scheduled for Sunday 29th April, spring appeared to be in the air and we were looking forward to a child free morning. That was until the day before when we had a full day of heavy rain and my enthusiasm was starting to wane. I was promised that should the rain not stop we would be taking part in the tin top and much of the day was spent comparing weather forecasts from different sources. Despite these promises and waking up to rain I found myself on the way to Werrington in the Marlin in the drizzle with as much of my winter clothing on as I could find.
We arrived at the meeting place and met Giles, Kev and Rachel (Kev's rendezvous with a young lady in a lay-by having been a sucess). We waited for everyone else to arrive, with the main topic of conversation being the weather, before piling into the At Last Tea Rooms for a good breakfast served with very good tea (so I am told by Liz and Angus). Fueled up (both us and the car) we were ready for a quick briefing from Giles, where I learnt that a tulip map is a thing and we were not orienteering around the bulb growing regions of the fens. After some adjusting of roofs and the braver amongst us getting into their wet weather gear, we were off.
Missing the first turn off to the Paul Pry was a strategic move to catch the others out, and it was only marginally longer and gave us the opportunity to wave to Kev and Rachel and Mandy and Ady as we approached a roundabout and passed from a different direction. We were in front at this point but we knew it would not be for long! The route took us from Peterborough through Marholm, Ufford and Barnack to Stamford, where Giles was waiting with his camera. Rachel and Kev had already passed us and we also caught a glimpse of Tony and Liz ahead in their Morgan.
Coming out of Stamford we soon entered the countryside and open roads again, we lost and caught up with Kev and Rachel several times. There was a lot of late indicating going on, with many debates in our car at least about whether or not they were going to turn at the same point we decided to. Turning off at Rhyall we followed the road through to Corby Glen, which is not a road we have ever driven before and will definitely do so again - just not when it has been raining, some of the puddles were so big they nearly met in the middle of the road. There was also a stretch where a thoughtful farmer had spread the road with mud, to make it just that bit more interesting for us.
From Corby Glen, the turning towards Grantham caused some controversy, some turning too early, some too late and some taking the correct turning but just not being believed, so we had to pull over to discuss it and then watched the others shoot past us! On the outskirts of Grantham we took the A52 to A15 towards Bourne, we did seem to be travelling in convoy at this point, with Tony and Liz in front, followed by the red Skoda of Paul Lilley, then Kev and Rachel and Angus and myself. we commented several times about how funny the people in the red skoda must be finding it to be surrounded by kit cars - not realising until the end they were part of the run!
Through Bourne and on towards Deeping we still followed Kev and Rachel but we had lost the red Skoda and Tony and Liz at the traffic lights in Bourne. Looking ahead at the route on the map we realised where the route was taking us and we discussed alternative routes through Deeping which might have given us the edge over the others and allow us to cross the Deeping St James bridge ahead. However, as we all know cheats never prosper and we became stuck behind a Sunday driver. It also meant that we missed Giles with his camera who was waiting in the centre of Market Deeping. Unaware of this though we did think it had worked as we headed through Peakirk to Newborough and there was no sign of Kev's orange car. That was until we pulled up next to them at the Van Hage car park.
Everybody did make it to the final destination and I don't think anybody got too lost. We all had a great time and much thanks must go to Giles for organising the event, especially for laminating the maps, so no-one was lost in the Lincolnshire countryside with a soggy ball of paper.
I am actually suprised how well this event ran. A few days before I had to change the start location due to being let down by the Paul Pry, just after all the maps were printed and laminated - hence an extra page tacked on.
The most remarkable thing was that we didn't lose anyone (well not too much) on the entire route.
A big thanks must go to the At Last Tearooms for accommodating us. It was also good to see a few new faces doing the run (Paul Lilley and Paul Seaton).
Would I organise another one, yes - but I need a rest first.
When the Tulip Run was announced at the planning meeting, I knew that we (Adrian & I) would what to do it but decided it would be best for me to drive. As previous experiences of map reading have not been good - don't chat to Griff about this!
We arrived At-Last Tearooms and consumed a fantastic breakfast. Most of us put our waterproofs on before we left. We had a fabulous time and the route was too, some roads we had never been on before. We were sure (well I was) that the end point would be the At-Last Tearooms - I had eyed up a piece of lovely looking cake before leaving.
Then thought Crowland but no, it was Van Hage. We all enjoyed lovely coffee and some sweet treats, When we come to set off, I realised that I had not got my handbag, Adrian went to check the car, others checked the floor and with some thought, I remembered I had left it on the toilet door. David Sneesby persuaded me to check the toilet but I was not surprised that it was not there.
Went to customers services, with a very heavy heart to ask, if a hand bag had been handed in. To my surprise, the Customer Service Lady (turned out to be Paul Dudley's wife Sarah) asked my name and out came my handbag, with all its contents - phone, purse (money and cards). Moments, like this restore your faith in human nature. Great to think that there are some honest people about. !!
A select band of EATOC members joined up with our friends from the North West Kit Car Owners Group (NWKCOG) for a long weekend road trip to the Netherlands. The purpose of the trip, aside from the driving and socialising, was to see a kit car collection and the famous Dutch tulip fields.
Day One involved all the drivers heading to the port of Hull from various parts of the country. Myself and Andy Dunn met up at Allan Griffin's (Griff) house in Wisbech for a leisurely drive to David McKenna's (DavidM) house in North Lincolnshire. The A16 was, as usual, boring because of the lorries and farm vehicles, but we made good progress in surprisingly good weather and arrived at DavidM's house for lunch. We were treated like visiting royalty by DavidM and his lovely wife Heather and we tucked into rolls and cakes while waiting for our fifth EATOC musketeer David Thomas (DavidT) to join us. Cue the first issue of the trip. DavidT had already called DavidM to say that he had a problem. Only 200 yards after leaving his house, DavidT ground to a halt with a decidedly worse for wear fan belt. It seemed that DavidT would have to do the trip in his tin top. But wait, what is this, a hero in the form of Tiger's Jim Dudley rides into view. After DavidT's call, Jim immediately drove over and fitted a new fan belt so our fifth musketeer was back on track and arrived for a (late) lunch with us at DavidM's house.
Suitably replete, and having recovered Andy's car cover which made a bid for freedom down the street in the strong wind, the five set off for our next destination, a pub near the Humber Bridge where we were due to meet up with the NWKCOG contingent. Again we made good progress in decent weather and arrived early enough at the pub to have a relaxed cup of coffee. Too good to be true? Yes. A message arrived from Trevor Harmer - esteemed leader of the NWKCOG crew - that they were stuck in a jam on the M62 and would be arriving at the pub 15 minutes after the time we had planned to leave for the ferry. Not wanting to miss the ferry(!), the EATOC boys said they would be leaving at the time planned come hell or high water. Five minutes before pub departure time there was no sign of the NWKCOG guys but, wait, what is this? DavidT cannot get his removable steering wheel back on. Much head scratching, pushing and clicking failed to solve the issue. The rest of the EATOC crew contemplated doing a "Top Gear" and leaving their stricken colleague behind. But then DavidT actually followed some advice and changed the orientation of the steering wheel and, lo and behold, it went back on. Hooray! So we climbed in our cars and ... trumpets sounded - the NWKCOG guys arrived at the pub. The whole team now together we set off to the ferry in Hull and, after a slight kerfuffle paying the toll to cross the Humber Bridge, arrived safely in the queue to board in plenty of time.
Getting on board the ferry "Pride of Hull" went without incident and we all set off on a wild goose chase to find our cabins. The cabin numbering seemed baffling but we all found our gaffes for the night. The evening weather was glorious, although a bit windy, and we all decamped to the Irish Bar for a Guinness or two - as you do! Trevor handed out pre ordered tour t shirts which sparked a debate about who had ordered what! Then Griff handed out a key ring to each driver which had been inscribed specially for the event. A really nice touch Griff - many thanks. After liquid refreshment we headed to the restaurant where we enjoyed a pretty decent, all you can eat, evening meal. A couple of bedtime snifters later, we headed off the the land of Bedfordshire. Sleep, however, was elusive! The cabins were comfortable enough but consistent vibrations through the bed meant some bleary eyes in the morning when we were called to breakfast at 6.00am!
Day two started with a large breakfast duly dispatched. We returned to our steeds and, eventually disembarked. But this was not before Pete Jacklin got a jump start because he had left his engine fan on all night! First stop on the trip? A petrol station inevitably! The plan was to follow a route recced by Griff which was due to wind a circuitous route from Rotterdam to our hotel in Sneek to the north of Amsterdam. All started well. There were some great tunnels going past the Hague and we, of course, made best use of them to deafen the local drivers. Griff took us to the seaside but we couldn't park because it was King's Day in Holland, a public holiday.
Then came issue 3 of the trip. A set of traffic lights broke the group of 8 cars up, and the 5 strong EATOC team lost touch with the 3 NWKCOG cars. We pulled into a service station for fuel and coffee. The coffee machine was not very welcoming - see photo! We also discovered that you have to pay to go to the loo wherever you go in Holland! I called Trevor to see where the NWKCOG group had got to. His reply was almost unintelligible - we discovered why later - but managed to work out that we were required to meet at 'The Monument' further along the route. As I put the phone down, the three cars blasted past us in the service station!
We got going again and the gang was reunited at the aforementioned Monument on the Afsluitdijk. The Afsluitdijk is 32 kilometers long and on average 90 meters wide. It connects the Province of North Holland and the Province of Friesland. The dam was built to separate the IJselmeer from the Wadden Sea and to protect the land from flooding during storms or bad weather. The Afsluitdijk is also an important road for traffic and transportation. Every day thousands of cars use this road - including Tigers. After lunch at the Monument's Lunch Room - yes it is called that - we returned to our cars for the onward journey to the Hotel Sneek. A dribble of oil under Adrian Jarvis' (AJ) car was noted but dismissed by AJ. He wouldn't be able to do this later! Oh and we found out why Trevor's phone message was so garbled earlier. The specially made ear defenders with bluetooth and radio plumbed in that he had brought with him had taken off and flown down the motorway to be run over by a following Pete in his Cobra!
Due to a misunderstanding involving pointed fingers by Trevor, several of us missed the turning off the roundabout to the hotel right next to us, and we ended up doing a further 10 kms up and down the dual carriageway to get back to the right turning! Finally, we all arrived the hotel, checked into our impressive hotel rooms - the bathrooms were bigger than most hotel bedrooms! - and retired to the bar. As you do. Because it was King's Day there were a lot of people dining in the hotel restaurant, but DavidT bravely went and asked if they had a spare table for 8! As it happens, they did, so we all enjoyed a very nice meal, before having some more pre bedtime drinkies and then sloping off to bed.
Day Three began with a hangover. Well, it did for some of us anyway! Breakfast was taken including some bespoke omelettes and cold toast - Trevor couldn't find the on switch for the toaster! Duly refuelled we all wiped down our cars - it had rained during the night - and set off for our visit to the Netherlands Kit Car Collection. Issue 4 didn't take long in coming. It turned out our navigators had the wrong postcode so we ended up in a tourist resort amusing the visitors. Eventually we got the right postcode and set off again. Then issue 5 occurred. Trevor's Tiger was sparking underneath and making a hell of a racket as it went down the road. We stopped and inspected the underside of his car and discovered that his tea tray, sorry diffuser, had come adrift of its mountings. As we were so close to our destination we all limped behind Trevor for the remaining few miles. Then we arrived at the Kitcar Collection and wow! we weren't disappointed. While the proprietor, Bas Ki, helped Trev get his car on the ramp to fix his diffuser - supervised by DavidT with a pop rivetter - the rest of us tucked into coffee and delicious biscuits, ignored Trevor and went off to look at the amazing collection of cars that Bas has. The collection is very eclectic including many kit car marques and it was all we could do to keep our wallets in our pockets. A bright orange GTM Spyder drew a lot of attention, as did a couple of very nice Marlins. We were joined at the Collection by a very enthusiastic Dutch Westfield owner, Erwin Kuipers and his lovely partner, Meriem. After a discussion with Erwin, and Trevor's diffuser being reattached, we set off to find some tulip fields.
Several kilometers into the drive and after seeing banks of tulips from a distance, we suddenly pulled up outside a random person's house. Erwin jumped out and spoke to the owner, who he didn't know, but who happened to be a farmer with some tulip fields and we were all invited to drive our cars onto his property to see his tulips. The farmer's kindness did not stop there, he even got out one of his machines and swept the roadway so we wouldn't get our cars dirty! We drove in and parked up right in the middle of the tulip fields and allowed our budding David Bailey's to take some terrific snaps of the cars and the flowers. As a reward, AJ took the farmer's young daughter for a ride around the fields and then the farmer himself. It was a lovely afternoon and so nice to meet such welcoming friendly people.
As we got ready to leave the farm issue 6 occurred. There was a distinctly unpleasant metallic sound coming from under the bonnet of ... Trevor's car. Yep, our leader was in trouble again. The crowd's opinion was that his alternator was f*****/broken. It was determined that the best option was for all of us to go back to Bas, see his collection again and drink tea and eat biscuits .... Oh, and fix Trev's car. Turns out it was the alternator which had random pieces of metal swishing around inside it. Fortunately, Bas had a selection of alternators which enabled Trevor and Pete (rubber gloves) Jacklin to get on with a fix. This did take some time, however, and Erwin and Meriem offered to get us some Dutch fast food. We accepted! They soon came back with meatball thingies and spring roll type thingies with a selection of dips. The assembled crew set about demolishing the food as quickly as possible while also partaking in a few beers also supplied. The fix dragged on even longer so Erwin and Meriem went out again and got us some more Dutch fast food including the biggest bag of fries you have ever seen. They also had a Dutch delicacy of mayonnaise mixed with sweet curry sauce - I wasn't convinced! Of course we soon demolished all this food as well! Erwin and Meriem would not accept any payment for the feast they put on no matter how hard we tried. A nicer couple you could not wish to meet.
Eventually a new alternator was installed in Trevor's car and he was, once again, operational. After thanking profusely our new Dutch friends, we all set off for the return drive to the hotel where we arrived safely, tired but happy. A shower was followed by another trip to the bar and another fab meal before bedtime.
Day four promised to be wet according to the weather forecast. To be fair, we had been lucky that we had not yet seen any real rain and it was also not too cold. So, after breakfast, checking out and loading up the wagons we rolled out on the trip back to catch the ferry at Rotterdam. We stopped at the Monument's Lunch Room again for comestibles and a chin wag before setting off for the beach! The promised rain soon started and we arrived in the seaside resort of Scheveningen in The Hague very wet! We all cheered up with an ice cream and had a good laugh at DavidT who hadn't realised he had had his fog light on for nearly 2 days. While most of us decamped to a very nice cafe on the beach for coffee and to dry out, issue seven of the trip was dealt with. AJ had been losing oil during the trip and did not have a lot left in his engine so he went for a top up. We told you AJ!
The rain had not stopped when we got back into our cars and the drive to Rotterdam was quite hairy as the rain got heavier and the Dutch tried to kill us by swapping lanes randomly in front of us. Fortunately we all got safely to the ferry and got even more wet waiting in the queue to get on board. When we did finally board, we sluiced out the very wet cars and set off to find our cabins. DavidT and DavidM took one look at their assigned cabin and dashed off to get an upgrade of a cabin with a double bed(!), TV and mini bar. How the other half live! Standing out on deck was not an option because it was still raining and there was a howling gale. Messages from home suggested that we were in for a rough trip home and there were some glum faces. However, the Captain came on the tannoy and said that they were expecting an uneventful trip across the channel so that made drinks in the Irish Bar go down better! After another all you can eat buffet dinner we all retired to our cabins where we did sleep well because the crossing was reasonably smooth and we were all cream crackered!
Day five dawned to a very grey looking River Humber, but it was not raining (hooray!) and we enjoyed a quick breakfast despite the crew chasing us around the ship claiming that we hadn't paid for all our meals the night before - we had! Getting off the ship didn't go smoothly. The high winds meant that they couldn't use the normal gangway so we had to wait for everyone to work their way down to the freight exit. Then we had to queue for another 45 minutes to show our passports which led to issue 8 of the trip. I was on empty as we left the ship and leaving the engine running for 45 minutes brought on the red light and that sinking feeling that I wouldn't get to a fuel station! We all got through and said our goodbyes and I went in convoy behind Griff and Andy. Sadly, less than a mile out of the port, my engine coughed and signalled that it was on vapours. A second cough had me looking urgently for a safe spot the side of the road. Not surprisingly Griff and Andy ahead of me didn't see my frantic waving, but I was saved by the NWKCOG crew who had left after us. They graciously went and got fuel for me and spotted the David's also frantically searching for a petrol station! Anyway, we got going again and went our separate ways after crossing the Humber Bridge. Personally I got home 3 hours' later with a very sore neck because I was driving at 70 mph (ahem!) into a 30 mph headwind. At least it didn't rain.
In conclusion, what a great trip! Everyone enjoyed the driving, the socialising, the laughs and the new friends we made. The cars performed (almost) faultlessly. Roll on the next European road trip!
Counting down to Stoneleigh, the weather app on my phone, suggested sunny, dry weather, the media, saying it would be record breaking temperatures. Was I to believe that this was to going to be true. With me being a lady! I packed all sorts of clothing from thermals, winter parka, gloves, woolly hat, welly boots, dress and shorts. Wow, they were right. The weather was superb.
As usual, arriving on the Saturday to camp for the weekend, it was good to meet up with friends made over the years from various parts of the UK. During Sunday at one point we had 35 cars parked on the Tiger Owners pitch, a great sight. Monday as usual was down to 15. Overall I believe the attendance in Kit Cars was great as always on the Sunday but somewhat disappointing on the Monday. Especially if you were a member of the public turning up to look at Kit Cars and there were lots of empty spaces amongst the owner pitches.
The halls where exhibitors were, ranging from Kit Car suppliers, Insurance Companies, Spares etc had taken a downturn in attendance and often smaller pitches, in some places looking very sparse. Are the Exhibitors being charged too much?
Since arriving home, I have emailed Stoneleigh Park to complain about the condition of the toilet/shower facilities and asked if they were being included in the building work that was taking place on site. I have received an email back from 1 department, stating “that this facility was managed by Events Business”, to which I am still awaiting an answer.
Also noted on Facebook, a discussion took place asking for suggestions on how, the show could be improved. Various people from different walks of life wrote their views, including me, to which, I stated that the format was tired and maybe overpriced for the suppliers etc to attend. The show does not include anything new yearly to attract people. But saying that, there are a lot of people happy with the format who turn up with their kits, socialise and mooch around. I am led to believe that originator of the discussion is to meet up with Grosvenor Shows and show them the discussion. Keep watching this space and I will keep you informed.
The Norfolk run started out for me with a journey in my dad's BMW, this was due to the fact my Tiger was in Wisbech after being repaired.
Once I had arrived at Tiger I found the car sitting freshly fixed and ready to go, unfortunately stuck behind several other cars in the garage so getting it out would be an issue.
The Norfolk run is usually very popular and this year was to be no exception, so in no particular order we had the following people arrive at Tiger.
Ade and Mandy Spriggs
Allan Griffin and Rachel
Dave and Jane Sams
Dave and Lorraine Sneesby
Martin and Debbie Pidd
Paul Lilley and Sue
Peter and Jenny Hinton
Simon and Ali Noble
Steve and Paula Tuck
Richard and Meghan Gaze
Tony and Liz Haggie
The most important member of the Tiger staff (a tan and black spaniel called Arthur) thought that all the people were there to make sure his ears were scratched enough.
So after getting everyone together and finally getting my car out of the workshop then filling it with fuel I joined the back of the run as we left Wisbech.
The first part of the run was a simple drive out to Downham Market, off to Mundford, and then onto the lunch stop. This is a route we have used many times previously and so wasn't expected to cause a problem. There were a couple of holdups for some reason the police had blocked one of the roads and were only letting traffic through slowly, and then some roadworks also slowed us down. In front of me were Tony and Liz and we had got left behind due to the traffic - didn't really matter as both of us had the route on the sat-nav and I had driven it only a couple of weeks before. At some point on the route (it was ahead of me) we picked up Dom Eaves as well.
We picked up one straggler David Fiske and then went to the pub stop. Now bear the following in mind - I was running last on the road, we got to the turn off for the pub and both Tony and Dave drove on ignoring the satnav telling them to turn right, I did - so now I would expect to be 3rd from the end. Nope I got to the pub and parked up (made harder due to a village fair being in the field next door), after I arrived about 10 cars turned up, for some reason they had gone a different route to the rest of us. This was strange as we deliberately checked the route using a mixture of TomTom and Garmin sat nav units to ensure they both routed the same way - which they did. No idea how that happened.
After a good lunch and a brief hunt for a certain Miss Gaze (who had gone off to make a daisy chain) we set out for the fuel stop - now at this point it was drizzling a bit. After we got to the fuel stop (using some very narrow lanes - I really felt sorry for people encountering us as there were now 21 cars they had to let through) we all made it to the fuel stop. At this point David Fiske's dodgy starter motor (it has been like this for a few years) gave up and we had to bump start him.
It was now raining steadily, so rain suit out and it was more comfortable to drive. After the fuel stop it was back to Fakenham for afternoon tea. This was nice easy driving straight down the A1065 with low levels of traffic we made good time.
When we got to Fakenham it had changed to proper rain, there are some interesting ways of keeping Tigers dry when parked and some of the more unusual are in the pictures.
Originally we had planned to stop again at the Sandboy in Gayton, but due to the weather this was ignored and everyone made their own way home. I stayed with Neil and Angus and at Kings Lynn we had the first mechanical failure of the trip - a mudguard stay on Neil's car broke which was repaired with the old standby of duct tape.
The rain slowly eased off and by the time I was home in Peterborough it was just a light drizzle. It would have been better had the rain stayed off all day, but nobody had any serious problems and the everyone made it home without the use of recovery services.
This event had a huge turnout and this caused a few problems with it.
For a minor run out we started off with some problems with the route for the run. There were a few mistakes with slightly misallocated markers on the route. We fixed all that we thought were wrong and then it took a few hours for Richard Gaze to spot another mistake, at the end we had people with 3 or 4 different versions of the route - not really ideal. The last version was emailed out around 7PM on the Friday evening before the route started on Saturday morning.
So this would be a fairly low key event? - not a chance! I arrived at the Tiger factory around 9:45 there were already 5 other cars there, and they started arriving at the rate of one every couple of minutes by 10:15 we had around 18 cars and at the start time we had 25!
We also had the situation where only a few of us had a copy of the route (any version - not just the latest).
We started off as one group, 25 cars so it was a minimum of 1/2 mile long convoy, keeping this lot together was impossible. Griff was out front and I was at the back, whether anyone in the middle had the route was anyone's guess. So we got split up before the first stop, with Paul Ashby and Paul Lilley missing the turning into Swaffham. At the fuel stop we lost Tony Haggie and Jeff McCall who missed the petrol station completely and sailed on by.
Leaving Swaffham, I was running last and watched about 10 cars going down what was effectively a dirt track whereas I continued and took the main road about 100 yards further up. I then caught the others up and ended with 10 cars behind me. All went to plan until driving through the centre of Holt I missed a turning and we went out the town looped round and picked the route up again. We will change the route archive to avoid Holt town centre as it doesn't really add anything to the route unless you have a built in homing instinct for Fat-face branches.
We all finally made it to Cromer, all the cars got there, and we were parked in one location. After stopping for lunch and having a wander round the town we could then head home, the next part of the route hadn't been formally planned, but as it was a straightforward run to Burnham Deepdale it wasn't that hard. I ended up waiting for Simon to get the remaining tickets for Kimbolton, and then we left last of all. A quick blast along the coast road and we soon arrived at Burnham, where for some reason a number of club members had found a Fat Face branch. After a bit of a break I headed home after a long day. Apart from a load of loose chippings around Hunstanton the run back was nice and quiet.
So the previous run had been a bit of a logistical disaster. This was mainly due to the number of people and a lack of those who had the route available to use. So behind the scenes the committee did their best duck pond act (on the surface serene and calm - underneath loads of extremely busy people trying to ensure it runs smoothly).
This resulted in new instructions to get routes out to people and a changed method of running the route. But did it work....
Well for a start we had only 11 cars start out from Griff's house instead of 25 and most if not all had the route in some form or other. We also split into two groups, Griff took the first group and I led out a second group a couple of minutes later, deliberately slowing them through Leverington to increase the gap. This worked perfectly with only a small number of cars behind each group leader we all stayed together and got to the fuel station meeting point without losing anyone. Griff had picked up a few strays along the route (Mike Ramsdale, Ade and Mandy, and at the meeting point we picked up Angus Grooby, Martin Hospole (not a member - yet). A bit more work with the routes gave Angus access to the route so he had a way of navigating and we were off again. Or were we first Neil Whitehead hadn't appeared (he was at a different petrol station although we weren't to know that), then just as we were about to leave Tony disappeared to the toilet and we had to wait 5 minutes.
Getting out of the petrol station and back onto the A17 was fun, with the roads a lot busier it was impossible to keep everyone together so driving slower than normal I kept the speed down until we had crossed the railway junction at Swineshead and turned off. At this point I stopped and waited until everyone was behind me or so I thought. It turned out Angus was a few cars further back and I hadn't realised this but he soon caught up. The rest of the journey to the fuel stop was without incident - apart from the bracket for one of my cycle wings breaking due to fatigue and ending up flying off the car, it landed on the road behind me and fortunately nobody ran it over - as it contained a large steel bracket that was probably very lucky. Angus who was at the back of the group stopped and rescued it so it got stuffed in the passenger footwell for the rest of the journey. We then made it to the fuel stop and then the lunch stop without further incidents.
At the lunch stop we met up with Neil Whitehead and the newest club member Oliver Rising, we then had lunch and set off for the afternoon session. Off to Mablethorpe we go, now we triple checked the waypoints on this section to ensure we wouldn't go wrong. Nope a few of them missed the turning into the town (I had set the marker 200 yds off the junction so I don't know how that occurred) then a few drove into the wrong car park. But eventually all of us did get to the right location just some were a lot later than the others.
Anyway after consuming ice creams we went to leave. Due to a problem with the route map the car park in Mablethorpe was missed off, it must have been deleted due to a mistake. So due to this we ended up going a slightly different route which meant we had to jump past a route point. I somehow told the satnav to jump too many points and ended up missing a section out which meant as I drove through Boston I ended up with everyone else behind me. Still we all made it to the final stop and after a break headed home. Fortunately I don't have to plan any more routes for a few weeks... but I do have to repair a cycle wing stay or two...
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