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Car Events 2014 – Mega MINI Meet Lytham June

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We had stayed overnight at my Mum’s  in Buckley to be nearer to this event as it was a long way from home. We had gone to this last year and enjoyed the venue although the weather had not been too kind to us, and we were promised a fine day this time.

So an early start, although not quite as early as we had intended as my phone had run out of juice, the alarm had not gone off and we were still sleepy from our sunrise adventure the day before. But we were away by 7.30 and arrived at Lytham Hall at about 9.00am. We parked up on the Total Mini stand and soon met up with RVW and Storm who we hadn’t seen for ages. A brew and a bacon bap was in order so we made our way to the little café at the back of the Hall, and took time to catch up.

We were greeted by some Star Wars characters as we came out and and i was really impressed with the uniforms. The helmets had a built in voice changer which sounded really cool. I asked but Peanut said no to me getting an outfit. We then took some time to prowl around the trade stalls. Me and Mrs P were both drawn to The Speed Factory stand where there were some white alloys for sale at a very reasonable price. We wanted our new Paceman to have white wheels from new but they are no longer an option, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to fix this. Sadly he had none in the size we needed, so we shall have to search harder.

As we walked down the driveway of the Hall and admired the cars, we realised an old friend from our European MINI jaunts was coming towards us in his new coupé. It was Spaci from Switzerland who was visiting friends in Birmingham and thought he would drive up for the day and It was a lovely surprise to see him after such a long time. Storm, RVW, Spaci, Peanut and myself Beastmaster – all legends in the MINI community and we knew so few of the other people at the event!

After lunch we browsed a bit more and got chatting to some Paceman owners and the afternoon became very warm and sunny, so we had an ice cream and then a rest in our new padded chairs. A few more photos, this time Peanut’s thoughts turned to more artistic creations, although some of us took the whole thing more seriously than others, as you can see below!

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We had a long journey home and so we bid farewell to Lytham Hall, said goodbye to the legends and with our MINI love satiated for the time being, set off on our way home, just noticing in the nick of time that we were about to drive off leaving our new chairs on the grass behind us! To have lost them only a day after buying them would have been a sad end to a lovely day. This is a lovely venue for a MINI Meet and we really hope it establishes itself as a regular feature on the MINI calendar.
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Car Events 2014 – Shelsley Walsh June Breakfast Club

I Am That Boy!

I Am That Boy!

This weekend just gone saw us revisit the Shelsley Walsh Breakfast Club, held monthly at the world famous Hill Climb centre. In a nutshell we really enjoy these events, they are just so jolly well civilised and a marvelous variety of old and exotic automoblie machinery turns up. It was very hard for us to choose a favourite from the cars on show. There was a glorious classic Maserati to ogle, Ferraris in abundance, E Type Jaguars and oh well, it was hard to choose the favourite. Until… The Willys Jeep turned up, well actually it was the machine gun mounted on the back that did it. We snapped a boy looking at the Jeep and he loved it and I though, that boy could be me, because I loved it just like he did.

If the cars on their own aren’t good enough, then there is a fantastic breakfast on offer in the clubhouse and I enjoyed a very tasty full English at a very reasonable price. The other thing that Shelsley Walsh offers us is a glorious drive there and back from our home in Malvern. The run is through some of the finest countryside England has to offer, and with the Opel GT with the roof down and the scarves on, then the fun begins from the minute we set off!

Where Did I Put My Driving Gloves?

Where Did I Put My Driving Gloves?

Finally we always bump into old pals here. This time we had breakfast with old MINI friends Chris, Christine and Ava and it was fun catching up with the news and stuff. Later we bumped into Libby and Lucky Dave and got the inside story on Lucky Dave’s latest car projects. This man always has his finger in a pie, he is always up to mischief and nothing has changed – can’t wait to see his latest project completed. Then at the last knockings we had a chat with a cool guy called Trigger and that just about completed a wonderful morning at Shelsley. It really was another great day there looking at some very special cars.


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The Opel GT Dolomite Adventure

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May 2014 saw us undertake a rather special road trip in our 2008 Opel GT. Our trip consisted of 5 nights in the South of France at Port Cogolin, 4 nights in Brescia, 3 nights in Venice and 4 nights in the Dolomites in the South Tyrol region. On this trip we were watching the Monaco Grand Prix Historique and the famous Mille Miglia race from Brescia to Rome and back. Finally we were meeting 9 other car enthusiasts in the Dolomites who also had Opel GTs to do some driving and exploring of some passes in the Dolomites. It proved to be a simply marvellous holiday and you can read the full holiday diary on our sister site PhotoBeast here. Here though are some photographs and recollection from our time in The Dolomites with our Opel GT friends from Germany. The pictures tell the story of a fantastic few days in The Dolomites exploring the roads and passes in our Opel GTs.  Days we will never forget, stunning scenery, unbelievably fun and exciting driving and great company. A massive thank you to our good friend Norbert for inviting us along on this adventure, one we are so glad not to have missed.


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The Mille Miglia 2014 – Sunday And The Racers Return

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May 2014 saw us undertake a rather special road trip in our 2008 Opel GT. Our trip consisted of 5 nights in the South of France at Port Cogolin, 4 nights in Brescia, 3 nights in Venice and 4 nights in the Dolomites in the South Tyrol region. On this trip we were watching the Monaco Grand Prix Historique and the famous Mille Miglia race from Brescia to Rome and back. Finally we were meeting 9 other car enthusiasts in the Dolomites who also had Opel GTs to do some driving and exploring of some passes in the Dolomites. It proved to be a simply marvellous holiday and you can read the full holiday diary on our sister site PhotoBeast here. Here though are some photographs and recollection from our time in Brescia watching The Mille Miglia. This set of photographs are some from our fourth day there, when the racers returned to Brescia after their epic 1000 mile drive.

Sunday May 18th 2014 – The Mille Miglia Racers Return To Brescia

After a lazy morning we opened our blinds to another beautiful day and today we wanted to get back into town for 11.45 for when the Mille Miglia Piloti returned. As we got into Piazza Duomo the tables we had seen last night were now all laid out for lunch and the tented kitchens were busy cooking. We were trying to make out from which direction they would come back in but as all the stewards were wandering about in vague Italian style it was almost impossible to guess.

A visit to the Chopard stand, with a few overt checks of the time on my Chopard watch blagged me a Chopard cap, but the aftershave I really wanted was reserved for race participants and they just would not sell them at any price. I think Chopard missed an opportunity there as I think they would have sold loads of them.

Eventually, we decided the race drivers couldn’t come through this piazza as it was full of tents and with nowhere to go, they couldn’t parade through the town like they did when they began the race, as that bit was all set out with tables and chairs again just as it usually is. So the only place left was Piazza Vittorio and there did seem to be a few more stewards there than anywhere else. It was strangely quiet for quite a while after 11.45 but eventually we heard that familiar rumble of vintage cars through old narrow streets and the first drivers arrived to a cheer.

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We found out later when we followed their trail, that of course the finishing line was on the same raised plinth they had set off from, right on the other side of town, and then when they had finished they stopped all over the place to meet friends and relatives, drink champagne, phone their mates and do all the other essentials of life. We mixed in amongst them as we did at the start of the race and let the jolly atmosphere rub off on us. It really was fun and hopefully when we get back home we will have snapped one or two good photographs to remember this by. When they had calmed down the drivers jumped back in their cars and paraded through the town again, often with mates perched in odd places on the backs of cars all waving wildly as they were cheered past every bar and restaurant. We also had lunch in a restaurant by the roadside and joined in the cheering as the cars tooted and roared by, in between mouthfuls of pizza! Finally the cars ended up back in said Piazza where in the end they were all parked up. It made me smile that they were all given a metre square piece of card to catch the oil leaks so the Piazza didn’t get spoilt and indeed there were many leaks in many places, and the Piazza will still need cleaning!

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We picked up a few more souvenirs including a MM race book which would be fantastic if we understood Italian, maps, t-shirts and scarves but stopped short of nicking the MM banner that was attached all round the barriers, although many richer than us didn’t demonstrate such scruples.

As the afternoon passed the cars and drivers slowly disappeared and by 7pm Brescia was back to it’s normal self, it’s four days of glory over for another year. After changing and freshening up at our hotel we had a meal in town and it seemed impossible that only the night before the town was heaving with people, bustling with an atmosphere the like of which I don’t think I have seen before, with all the restaurants full to busting, and tonight it was deadly quiet.

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So that was it, the wonderful spectacle that is The Mille Miglia was over for another year. If you ever get the opportunity go and watch it, it really does amaze you. We were sad that it was over but luckily we had a cunning plan to cheer us up – tomorrow we were heading off for Venice for three days of relaxing in that beautiful city. Hate me don’t ya just!


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MINI Paceman SD – PaceBeast Has Arrived

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We collected our MINI Paceman SD from the dealer on Friday after a longish wait, whilst it was built. Both of us are really pleased with him, as he gives a different dimension to our cars. The Opel GT and the MINI Coupé are fast sports cars. The MINI Clubman S that this replaces was a fairly fast car but  in truth a poor relation to the Coupé. Similar in many ways but just not as quick. The Paceman is not tryng to be quick like the Coupé, but does what it does very well. It is a very comfortable 4 wheel drive 4 seater with an excellent semi command driving position and fantastic handling and performance for a car of this type. The above picture  shows the realistic offroading it will do, but it is great at this, while the rear wheel Opel soon skids away like a good un on the same terrain. Plus it is so low slung that we just don’t entertain it really.

It’s odd, but not only have we instantly fallen in love with this car, but it makes driving the other two even better somehow. Ok so the Paceman is a diesel and yes the engine can sound a bit harsh here and there, but it sounds kind of tough. Strong and reliable and as such it suits the bulk of this MINI. So there you have it PaceBeast, we love him.

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