Sunny Sunday… at Goodwood of course!

The sun generally seems to shine at Goodwood and after a few rather horrible weeks weather wise, last Sunday proved to be no exception. We set off fairly early for us but not for most Breakfast Club participants – Brunch Club would be much more our thing! It was a lovely morning and the great thing about driving Mario is the open road in front, just don’t look behind, especially when going up Goodwood Hill…We had a pass for circuit access and were soon parked up with the usual crowd gathered around. The theme was Classic Sunday and is our favourite Breakfast Club of the year. It was very busy with a good and varied collection of vehicles.This Opel had been opened since new. James was pleased to see this what appeared to be an Original Jaguar C-type, he was pleasantly surprised about the lack of ‘Kit Cars’ in attendance, far less than other breakfast clubs.Mario found a distant cousin in this rather lovely Fiat 500 Giardiniera, hopefully we’ll be seeing it again in the Fiat 500 Parade at the Revival. Having restored a Mini Moke for a client a few years ago, James was very interested in this prototype Moke, very rare and unusual in makes the production More look positively luxurious!We loved this cute Fiat 850 Coupe which brought back ‘happy’ memories of the standard 850 that Jane learnt to drive in – called ‘Tetley’ as it had 1000 little perforations, you need to be a certain age to understand that or a connoisseur of TV adverts! The picture is on the morning of Jane’s 17th birthday and the start of her first driving lesson. A rather colourful section of the displayAfter Breakfast Club we drove up to Goodwood House for the GRRC Open Day. This great ‘action’ shot of Mario was taken by fellow member Helen Sanders.
The open day consists of a friendly, public judged Concours. It was won, slightly surprisingly by a 2017 Aston Martin which to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to and didn’t take any photos off. My choice of the day was between two entries…

A 1955 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, a very early example from a pre-series production. It ws originally sold to Swedish GP Driver Joakim Bonnier. A ten year restoration has led to the beautiful car on display.
My other choice was a close relation of Mario – a gorgeous 1959 Fiat Abarth 750GT. Using a 600 floorpan and with Zagato’s lightweight aluminium Coachwork and Abarths’s modified engine and exhaust. The type won its class at Le Mans and the last Mille Miglia in 1957.
James was nostalgic, seeing an Austin Westminster Rally Car – he rallied many times in his (Police) Westminster many years ago, until he overtook a snowplough and crashed into a gate post. The awards were made by Lord March.

So a lovely relaxing day in the sunshine, chatting to old friends and looking at old cars – couldn’t ask for much else, other than a great drive home in Mario.

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Have a ‘rally’ good time…

Mario’s human (and chief medic!) James has set off to take part in the 2014 Winter Challenge which starts on Sunday from Troyes, South East of Paris and meanders it’s way through the mountainous areas of France to finish in Monte Carlo next Thursday having hopefully completed some of the most famous Cols in rallying history.

James is navigating for Dutchman Herman Mass in a 1967 Volvo 122S. They have been a successful team for a number of years taking part in various Winter Events. Previous years have seen them on the Winter Trial which takes place in January with routes all over Europe from Eastern Holland, through Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Austria and Italy, meaning they’ve often found themselves in very snowy and icy conditions. photo-5 photo-19 photo-22 photo-33 photo-34

It’s not looking like they are going to get such harsh winter conditions on this years Winter Challenge route through France and so James’ position as navigator will be much more important, one wrong slot could make all the difference on the road. James has spent the last couple of weeks busily plotting the route onto his maps, it looks like there will be some rather tricky navigational sections, hopefully they will do well – always a bit of a dilemma, I want them to succeed but you should see some of the trophies they bring home!

You can follow their progress on the official site or James will be writing his own blog – ‘Dickingaroundwitholdcars‘ – where possible.

James started off taking part in classic rallies more than 25 years ago initially as a driver, in an Austin A35, Mini, Hillman Minx and a pre-war Riley. Lots of fun and lots of adventures were to be had including breaking down in the Riley and being looked after by a family in a very remote part of France, apparently it was like a scene from ‘Ello, Ello’ when the poor husband came home to find two english ‘airmen’ in flying hats and goggles sitting in his kitchen!
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He progressed on to an Austin Westminster Police car with navigator Keith Webster in full period police uniform, which became very well known on the classic circuit or you could say notorious – especially for being given a tour of Aix le Bain police station by the local Chief of Police who thought they were real policeman, amazingly they didn’t get arrested although they had rather naughtily had their picture taken in the cells! Unfortunately after a number of years the well performing Westminster met a rather sticky end, embedded in a gatepost in very icy conditions, luckily James and Keith were both unhurt, other than their pride, although James will never be able to forget the words of advise – ‘Don’t overtake the snow plough!’old-scans176DSCN1587 DSCN1627

After success driving in the early days, once James started his restoration business he started being asked by clients to navigate for them and so he began a second ‘career’ on the maps, which he now prefers to driving. As his interest in vintage cars grew, he started navigating in pre-war open top beasts, generally during the winter, the more inclement the weather the better. Several Le Jogs were undertaken in various pre-war cars plus several more visits to the North on the Flying Scotsman._mg_0116 _mg_0270 _mg_0596 DSCN0306 DSCN0316 DSCN5423 DSCN5426

Now Mario has no intention of becoming a rally car in winter or summer but we have taken his ‘little brother’ Nippy the Subaru 360 on two microcar rallies across Europe. With James driving and Jane as a rather novice navigator we all had a big adventure but that’ll have to wait for the next blog…MM_0226