This weekend saw us catch up with some of our old MINI friends at Santa Pod Raceway, particularly Aston and Debbie and RVW and Storm. We have been to this event a few times and always enjoyed it, even last year’s when it rained for much of the time. This year we were on the MINIAC’s Only stand (and a big thank you to Dawn for her hard work in organising all the events the Miniacs do), while in the past we have gone with the MINI Clubman group.
The event is called Mini In The Park and some consider it “The UK’s Top Mini Show” for owners of Classic Minis and New MINIS, plus Mini Clubs and a Mini show for car fans of all ages.
Mini In The Park (‘mitp’ for short) is the only British Mini show that features Mini Concours, Mini Run-What-Ya-Brung (RWYB) racing, Mini Club car displays, a Win-A-Mini competition, Mini Trade Stands and Autojumble, plus lots of great action and entertainment, and a great Mini festival atmosphere.
Santa Pod Raceway near Wellingborough in Northamptonshire is the home of European FiA drag racing, and host to a variety of leading national events as well as Mini In The Park. The day is also beefed up by a healthy array of trade stands many of whom cater for the new MINIs that are our personal passion.
The weekend began at 2pm on Saturday when Aston and Debs turned up at our house en-route to Santa Pod. After a quick pizza we all headed off to our hotel the Holiday Inn Express in Northampton. We elected to go cross country and enjoyed a fun drive with our Coupe JCW convoying with Aston’s very sexy looking GP2. After checking in and unpacking in the perfectly fine but very corporate looking hotel, we regrouped downstairs in reception and had a leisurely drink before going across the car park to The Harvester for dinner. My eyes were bigger than my belly and while I enjoyed my meal I had too much. After dinner we were back at the hotel and joined the rest of the Miniacs who were enjoying a boisterous evening in the bar. Our old ears were finally defeated by the din and we retired to bed ready for an early start in the morning.
Last year Mini in the Park at Santapod was a washout with the rain but this year the weather looked promising. The keen Miniacs had already gone ahead of us but we needed breakfast before we could do anything! In truth it has to be said that it was the most underwhelming hotel breakfast I have ever had. Sausage, scrambled egg and beans instead of a full English isn’t good enough, especially when I doubt if either the sausages or the eggs are real!
Batteries charged we headed off and coincidentally arrived at the same time as our old friends RVW and Storm. We all got parked on the Miniac’s stand and the day began.
Unfortunately we soon got split up from Aston and Debs and that was the last we saw of them, which was a shame as this guy has really been helping to re-kindle our MINI love. We scoured all the trade stands and bought some Autoglym leather cleaner and nourisher and then admired all the MINI stands. A few MINIs caught our eye. Another Miniac has a lovely Coupe Works in a unique mid blue colour which looks stunning and both me and Mrs P liked it a lot.
On another stand there was a stunning Paceman Works which we liked too. It had been lowered and put on some very sexy polished alloys and the effect really worked for us. Then of course there was the GP stand! I say this on every blog in which we see a GP and that is the GP is the car we should have had and never got and Mrs P has now said she will buy one! So watch this space.
There was a MINI dealer stand and Peanut fell in love with the JCW interior, all bright and shiny. Fortunately, when an F56 Works lined up side by side with a GP2 on the drag strip, she noticed that the GP2 looked planted and purposeful while the F56 works front looked very high from the ground. The F56 Works is brilliant to drive ( see my drive of it here) and Peanut has now endorsed the interior. Fortunately the exterior has not wooed us. In truth nothing wrong with it, but not an instant love affair. Respect the car then but do not feel the burning need to have one in our life. The GP first generation though is a different story!
In the afternoon we enjoyed some of the drag racing including old favourites such as The Terminator a jet powered classic Mini and a jet powered go kart. Then we saw a deafening and quick car which flew down the drag. Very impressive.
Then we watched the Run What Ya Brung, when cars brought along on the day were blasted down the track by their owners. £25 a run and I must admit I rather fancied it, though maybe not in an F56 as their clutches are not the strongest!
All in all a great weekend though for all the fun at Santa Pod, the cars and the ideas they gave us, the best bit was catching up with old pals from the MINI scene and especially Aston and Debbie, and RVW and Storm.