International Mini Meeting '99 / Mini 40th
'Become, Be or Acquire'

Tuesday 17th
Two events were planned for that day. First was a racing school, organized by Mini Magazine; 20 laps round the Thruxton BTCC track with expert in-car tuition. The other was the start of the Test'n'Time rally, a rally organized by Robin Barclay IL and Gary in support of the Italian Job.
After getting up (another reoccurring theme here; don't remember what time it was), which takes my brain about an hour, and doing the breakfast thing we set off for Thruxton circuit, just 30km up the road. Unfortunately for those who enrolled in this event it had started to rain again. This meant they couldn't go for it full blown, or maybe the instructors wouldn't let them :) They did get a good instruction on how/where/when to brake and how to take a corner though. Nerds like me use ToCa2 for that :) We watched all this from the grandstands for a while and then went back into the restaurant for some lunch and hot... whatever.
Met up with a bunch of the DL-ers I had driven up with, as well some mates of Jukka.

Line-up Article in MM
C00l ? Instructing Leaving Following Cruising Chasing Braking
Flying Swimming Viewing Losing Stopping Black Flag ?! Stopped

Since it didn't look like the weather would clear up any time soon John, Yvonne, Carl and I decided to go and have a look at Stonehenge.
Now for those who have no idea what Stonehenge is (are there people who don't ?), it's basically a bunch of big stones stacked together.
There are a bunch of these sites all over England, AAMOF; we even got some here in the Netherlands. The rarity being that these things have been there long BC.
These days Stonehenge is well protected by large fences and your are not allowed to walk up close and touch them anymore. You can buy a ticket to get into the main fence, but we decided just to visit the souvenir-shop and take pictures from the outside. I must admit that they have some nice stuff in the shop there and I, being the tourist-trap and specially their souvenir-shop avoider that I am, even ended up buying a small souvenir.

Stone- Henge

On our way back out we met a couple of Swedes in their Mini's, trailing some very small caravans. They apparently weren't listers, since they weren't aware of the Test'n'Time event taking place that evening. After explaining to them where to go and having another look at their Mini's ('How many gauges are in there ?!'), we went back to Thruxton to meet up with Robin for the start of the Test'n'Time rally. By the time we came to Thruxton we were an hour late for the meet, so we drove straight through back to the camp-site where the rally would start.

The rally hadn't started yet, which gave us a chance to meet some old and some new faces.
A quick stop at the local gas-station was made with Carl doing his first driving in a Mini that week; up in the Mini 40th of John & Yvonne, and back in my Van. (Ok, so it wasn't insured for that, what harm could he do on that small stretch ? :)
Carmen chose to ride with Andy as his navigator. Now for those who've never been a navigator in Andy's car when he's doing a rally; it's really something else :)
I'm not saying you should fear for your life; Andy is a very good driver who always keeps the car under control and his eyes peeked at any mishap that may come down the road (well, when he's not reading the pace-notes or looking at other things that is :), but... he does tend to drive rather... ehhhh... fast on these kinds of rally's and you do need a good set of nerves. In hindsight there was nothing wrong with Carmen's nerves; she had a blast (literally I'm sure :), Andy's nerves OTOH... But more about that later...

Being the sworn blood-brothers that we had become (or was that close room-mates ? :) Carl came along with me as my navigator, to read out the 'pace-notes' to me and make sure we stopped to answer the questions. With the English driving on the wrong side of the road, he sort of was in the 'drivers-seat' too; just not able to control the car :) The rally took us on the back-roads, some of them paved, others a bit less paved. On the way we met Loonybin who was heading back because he was getting close to running out of gas. Unfortunately for him, not the kind I always have a spare canister of with me.
We also enjoyed the local 'scenery' and even made sure to invite a couple for the BBQ back at camp that night :) This first part of the rally was loads of fun and we were only a tad late getting back; not many points lost there, hey, we even might win !

Backroad Church Carl & my Van Loonybin Romsey Campsite

As said, the evening was concluded with a BBQ back at the pub where we had set up camp.
This gave us Miniacs a chance to talk some more Mini-talk and look at each-others cars, while eating and drinking and enjoying the finer things in life.
The whole event was organized to raise money for charity and so were the raffles that were held that evening. I'm not sure who actually won it, but part of MTB wore a nice thick 'Italian Job' woolen cap the rest of the trip.

BBQ 1 Trace & Carl BBQ 2

Although I missed them, a couple we had invited did indeed turn up to join the fun that evening, as had the Swedes with their Mini-trailers.
The later it got, the more profound the conversations became, you could even say that at one point we had abandoned the Mini-subject altogether and were getting deep into philosophy. The bar had been closed for long by the time we crawled into our tents; again a brilliant day, not in the least because of the efforts of Robin & Gary and their team.



Monday 16th IMM'99/
Mini 40th
Wednesday 18th