The busiest day of the year…

May is always a very busy time for us as we organise the Haslemere Classic Car Show and tour in our town. 2016 was the eighth year we have run the show although it has grown considerably over the years. We launch the event in late Jan/early Feb depending how good we have been about getting our annual business accounts done! Luckily as the day is so popular we don’t have to do too much to promote it. We are limited in space by the size of the Green and this year for the first time we were full with advance bookings and even had a waiting list for the morning tour.

There is a lot of organising to do in 4 months, booking in all the cars, sorting the stalls and food, producing a lucky programme, advertising, posters etc plus a FaceBook campaign and local press to let the public know about the event. People come from all around the area and this year we had several entries from further afield.

After a busy week of final preparations we spent the Saturday morning, marking out the Green with a cricket pitch marker to a very detailed plan we had drawn to scale. This was important as we had limited space and we needed to use it effectively. A friend of ours used a drone before and after the show so we could see how well our plan worked. It would have been very successful apart from the St. Johns Ambulance parking in the wrong place and blocking the carefully planned access road, which we didn’t notice until it was too late!IMG_1181DCIM100MEDIADJI_0073.JPGHomemade bunting using previous years rally platesK_100218After years of going to car shows ourselves, we have tried to make the HCCS the show we would like to go to. We like to drive our cars and so in the morning we organise a ‘tour’. Nearly 100 cars met on the Green for breakfast before departing on a 60 mile round trip through the beautiful local countryside of the South Downs National Park with a refreshment stop at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. We still managed to find some new roads that even the ‘locals’ hadn’t been down before.

DSC09189DSC09198IMG_0696IMG_0739K_100140K_100092K_100072K_100067IMG_0817IMG_0750The cars arrived back to meet up with the show cars and all parked up on the green to make a great display. The show is just an afternoon rather than an whole day and so people don’t get bored and the majority of the entrants stay for the duration.

Around the Green we have 50 or so quality stalls, selling crafts, local produce, vintage and classic car related products, together with a varied selection of hot and cold food, bar, cream teas, charities and local organisations. The Georges Regis Jazz Band entertains the crowds and there are amusements for the kids.

We hold a couple of competitions, the People’s Choice where the public vote for the car they would most like to take home and the Best Dressed Car and Driver, judged by James and show supporter Adrian from Keats Estate Agents. We also organise a ‘Bake-off’ competition for cakes that look good and taste good for adults and kids.

Yet again we were lucky and it was a glorious sunny day, the Green was bursting with fabulous cars, both the immaculate and the well loved. Mario was obviously on display. The whole day seemed to go very well with everybody enjoying themselves and we had lots of lovely comments. It’s just a shame that the day goes so quickly and we don’t really have the time to see everything and talk to everybody properly.

Organising the day just take a lot of hard work and effort which is all done voluntarily and in our ‘spare’ time but it is nice to give something back to your community and although we always go through a few moments of ‘I’m never doing this again’ we are already talking about how to improve things on 2017!

Mario chills in the sunshine with his friend BellaDSC_0005Three stunning cars from a local private collection caused great excitement. Lamborghini Miura, Lagonda Le Mans and Gullwing Mercedes.DSC_0007 Best dressed Car and Driver Winner Lisa Costello. Lisa only finished restoring this lovely Isetta 2 weeks before the show and a day before she used it to drive to her wedding!DSC_0012DSC09336DSC09340 Runner-up, Best Dressed – Richard Bourne from London in his immaculate 1965 Jaguar E-type Series 1 RoadsterDSC09393 This immaculate 1972 Ford Capri (my Dad had one just like it) owned by Gary Bartlett from Winchester won the People’s ChoiceDSC09426 Runners-up – Dean Lucas from Haslemere in his 1965 MGB and Bob Marchant from Brighton in his 1967 Austin A35 Police Van DSC09325 DSC09423IMG_3922 Busy stallsDSC09223 DSC09229 DSC09239 Town Crier Christian Ashdown was a Bake-off JudgeDSC09244 DSC09284 DSC09212DSC09288 Winners of the Bake-off, Mother and Daughter effort from Debbie and Kate ValentineDSC09298 Best dressed car and driver entrantsDSC09317 DSC09322DSC09344 DSC09348DSC09354 DSC09359 DSC09365 DSC09368 DSC09370 DSC09374 DSC09381 DSC09384DSC09406 Bright and colourful showDSC09351 DSC09195 IMG_3917 IMG_3919IMG_3938Time to go home…DSC09429

 

Historic Rallying, go, go, go…

Mario and his female human are quite happy just bobbling along the country roads but this isn’t quite enough for the male human of the family… James likes to indulge in a little more adventurous pursuit – historic rallying.

The sort of historic or classic rallying he does isn’t the pace note, balls out, off road type, even he considers that a little mad (although he did once compete in and got a class win on the classic RAC stage rally) but endurance events for classic cars that require skill and judgement to navigate a complicated route keeping to very specific speeds on regularity sections to arrive exactly or as near as on time at checkpoints. He mainly takes this a stage further and prefers to do the winter events which involve inclement weather and long and difficult night sections.

The reason for writing this post now is that James is currently in Norway having started the Winter Trial today – six days of tough navigation and driving on snow and ice in Norway. He is navigating for Dutchman Herman Maas in a Volvo Amazon 122s. You can follow their progress on his own blog dickingaroundwitholdcars

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James first started Historic rallying as a driver back at the beginning of the 90’s, his first event sharing the driving on the 1991 Monte Carlo Challenge in an A35 with Terry Langridge which started from Edinburgh, it snowed so much in this country that they didn’t think they’d even get to Dover. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find any pictures of this car or their subsequent vehicle in 1993 – a Triumph 2000, maybe I will be able to add them later.

By now James had the ‘bug’ and progressed to a 1958 Hillman Minx series 3 with friend Dominic West. Again the event of choice was the Monte Carlo Challenge which had various starts over the years but always finished on the harbour in Monte Carlo after several tortuous days crossing the snowy alpine passes, the ability to fit snow chains quickly in difficult conditions and not getting stuck being a big part of a successful run. 
old-scans177 scan083old-scans181The Mini was followed by a Mini 850 MK1.MiniJames and Dom then decided to get ‘tough’ and built a Riley special. This was a major project with a pre-war car and was quite a different challenge being exposed to the elements. The build of the car encountered a few problems and they were still finishing it off the day before the Monte start at nearby Brooklands. As Dom was working I went with James to scrutineering, the car hadn’t been driven with a passenger and as we drove up the A3 towards Brooklands sparks started coming out of the floor between my legs! The drive shaft was catching on the floor with the weight of a passenger and so the boys had to modify the car that night before departure, of course they had to break off to have a goodbye pint with our mates.

The car was good but the lack of time for preparation was their downfall and they suffered several problems culminating in a wheel falling off. This finished their rally and as they were stuck in a very rural part of France with poor communications they were lucky to be taken in by some friendly locals who put them up for a couple of days – apparently it was like the episode of Ello Ello when two ‘airmen’ appeared in the kitchen. We are still in touch with these kind people to this day.old-scans175 old-scans183 old-scans211 old-scans212 scan082By the end of the 90’s James had a new partnership with Keith Webster and they competed in several Monte Carlo Challenges firstly in a grey Westminster and then in the Wolsey ‘4001BB’ which was fitted up to look like a period Police Car and they competed in full period Police uniforms.This was nearly to get them into trouble, when the local Police in Aix le Bains thought they were real policemen and invited them for a tour of the local police station, including the cells! James and Keith had great success in 4001BB and in 2003 were holding a top ten place until they made the fatal error of ‘overtaking the snowplough’, a little further down the slippery road the car slid into a rather substantial gate post – something they have never been allowed to forget!old-scans179133966_10150111135556800_7521332_o old-scans176
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Booking Sir Sirling Moss in Monte Carlo

DSCN1587 Dom navigated the 2003 Monte for another friend of ours Peter Rowley in his Mark 2 Jag.DSCN1606 DSCN1616 DSCN1627
DSCN1636 DSCN1640132186_10150111135756800_959460_oSo for 2004 the duo swopped to Keiths TR.
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DSCN2816 DSCN2819Several years before this in the Summer of 1999, James had his first go at navigating a full rally – the Summer Classic Marathon to Biarritz for George Melvile in his Alvis. He was rather surprised that he enjoyed the challenge of ‘the maps’ more than driving and it was to be the start of several successful partnerships, he is now lucky enough as part of his job to be asked to navigate on various events and now rarely drives. He is in the very rare position of having class wins as both driver and navigator on the Monte Carlo Challenge.Alvis

Over the years James has navigated on many varied events – Classic Marathon, The Winter Challenge, The Classic Malts, The Emerald Isle, The Meachem, The Flying Scotsman and with Herman on many Winter Trials, all over the Uk and both West and Eastern Europe.DSCN0306 DSCN0308 DSCN0316DSCN5347 DSCN5348 DSCN5356 DSCN5394 DSCN5397 DSCN5418 DSCN5423DSCN3296DSCN2597 DSCN5287DSCN2864 scan081

One of the more demanding events is Le Jog a four day event in December from Lands End to John O’Groats with very little sleep and often very inclement British Weather. Many of these have been navigating for Roy Williams in the Bigley Special, a Riley 12/4. One year they managed to roll the car, were back on the road in under half an hour and still won the class.54150_10150100639416800_7577383_o 57142_10150100639371800_141769_o 78190_10150100639541800_4524060_o 132687_10150100639491800_5716112_oHe has been involved in several rolls and incidents over the years, luckily with only damaged pride and most often with the car being able to carry on with the event. 54017_10150100623736800_6351442_o PorscheThis post is getting rather long now and I’ve realised how many ‘holidays’ (he calls it networking’) James has been on over the years! I hope he has a good, safe and successful week in Norway, do look at his blog to see how they are getting on. Hopefully they will do well, the only downside is the rather lovely trophies he gets to bring home!171066_10150135614026800_999594_o