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

Wednesday 18th
Had again two events planned; the 2nd part of the Test'n'Time rally, as well as a scheduled visit to the (new) John Cooper Mini garages.

I woke up around 8:30am and did my getting up routine again; put on the sunglasses against the bright light (nope, not because I had a hangover :), walk around like a zombie for about an hour, wash-up and have some breakfast.

Being Team #1 Carl and I were supposed to have left at 9am sharp, but as you might have gathered by now, I don't do mornings well. Nor does Carl for that matter :) ('I didn't know there _was_ a 5:30 in the am !') So by the time we were ready to set off on the second part of the rally, we already had 2400 extra penalty points on our hands. Hmmm, so winning might be a bit harder, better relax and enjoy it even more then. The rally took us through New Forest this time, sort of a natural park where the animals (cows, horses, sheep etc) can roam freely; great setting and even the weather was good.
A couple of miles into the rally we got a flat and thus again lost some time. By then we were about last, with only MTB behind us.
That's what we thought.... Till at the next point where we had to answer a question Andy & Carmen drove up after us. They had left about an hour before we had and apparently had gotten lost a bit. We followed them and after (yet another ?) they'd made a wrong turn they followed us for while.

New Forest Rally Animals CheckPoint !

As said; the weather was great, but it had been raining, judging by some big pools of water on the roads. Driving through them only added to the fun though.
As we passed a H*nd*-dealership we made a stop enabling Carl to take some pictures of some other European/Japanse machinery. Andy & Carmen passed us, never to been seen again... After the visit to the H*nd* dealer, which didn't help our overall time, we set off again, only to find that Andy & Carmen hadn't reached the next checkpoint yet, which was only just down the road from our stop.... Hmmmm.... AAMOF; nor had MTB passed that checkpoint. Maybe they had taken the Bermuda-triangle with them on the way and now all had disappeared in it ?

We made some good time on the next stretch and didn't arrive but 1 hour late at the finish back at camp. Maybe we would win the DLF award ? :)
Lunch was awaiting us there and while we dug in we all waited for a sign of life of Andy & Carmen and MTB; neither had been seen by the last checkpoint.
Just before the prize-giving started Andy & Carmen arrived. They'd had their own fun that day, with Carmen driving on the right side of the road for a bit, straight towards a mobile-home, parking 'Stimpy' on a slope without using the handbrake or putting it in gear (see, I said Andy needed the better nerves, and a good condition running after it downhill   :) and stopping for tea (yeah sure :) when Carl and I had stopped at the dealer.
Because of the 2h40m they lost and Andy's driving-style the day before (someone had complained about a Mini that in fact was being overtaken by Andy :), he won the 'most irritating contender and DFL' award; a gold-plated dip-stick. Trace turned out to be a real pro and won !

And what about MTB ? They didn't arrive until the prize-giving was long over. I never did get to hear what they had done that day, but rallying was probably not one of them...

Dipped Censored ? Kuomo's ?

Not being very keen on driving on the spare, nor about driving around without a spare, I set off looking for a tire-shop to get my tire fixed.
The local shop told me they only had gear from back in the DarkAges and directed me to a shop down in Romsey.
Carl joined me and after driving around town a bit and asking the way (ok, so I'd made a wrong turn somewhere, sue me ! :), we eventually found the shop.
The guy took the tire of the wheel and had a good look at it and then decided that it shouldn't be repaired but replaced.
Now I know as much about tires as I do about dresses; they're black, round and made of rubber. Other than that they can tell me anything and depending on the person I'll believe it or not. Carl though turned out to be sort of an expert on tires. He gave it a good feel and concurred that it shouldn't be used anymore.
As a replacement the guy of the shop had a Kuomo (a what ?) tire in stock. Again this meant nothing to me, but again it did to Carl.
Turned out a mate of his worked for Kuomo, so he gave him a call to ask whether the tire was any good for use on my Van.
The mate wasn't in, but Carl did get to talk to someone, who turned out to be the guy who had designed the particular model in question, so he was able to confirm that it would suit my needs just fine. The guy of the shop didn't know what happened to him, I'm sure :) So with one new tire and some less cash in the bank we went back to camp again. (Found it no problem :)

When we got back it was time to leave for the visit of John Cooper's garages.
On the off chance someone not all to familiar with the Mini's history will be reading this; John Cooper is the man that gave his name to the go-fast Mini's produced in the 60-ies (and also to the 90-ies Mini's, but that's more a marketing thing). So you could say that his garages as well as the man himself are sacred for any Miniac.
I'd had the pleasure of visiting the Cooper garages (which actually is a H*nd* dealership, but that's another story :) a couple of times before, as well as to meet THE Man in person and shake his hand. But a couple of months before they had opened a new all-Mini garage, not far from the other in East Preston.
So down we drove to have a look at this new setup and possibly meet The Man Himself.
Unfortunately for us they had cleaned up the garage rather well, so there weren't as many Mini's on display. And getting there as late as we did, Mr Cooper had already retired for the day. We did have a good look around at all the Mini's, specially the newer ones that were there, for example the famous HIS FUN.
We were informed that Mr Cooper would be at the Cooper stand on Silverstone that weekend and that the best chance to meet him there was between 10am and 12pm.

At new JCG Carl Out Carl In
John E, JW, Carl, Arnoud, me, LoonyBin, Inmar, Gaby, Klaus, Sylvia, Guido, Yvonne E, Trace John E, Carl, Arnoud, me, Andy, LoonyBin, Inmar, Klaus, Gaby, Sylvia, Guido, Yvonne E, Trace John E, Arnoud, me, Andy, LoonyBin, Inmar, Klaus, Gaby, Sylvia, Guido, Yvonne E, Trace

After the compulsarary pictures we set off again. John, being sort of local suggested that we'd make a stop on the way at a mall, to get something to eat, do some shopping, but primarily to avoid the rush-hour traffic. On the way he did the 'Mini's rule the roundabout' stunt (and we followed), which basically mean you take the roundabout a couple more times than strictly needed :) Great fun for us, but the other people waiting to get on didn't seem very amused...
The parking lot of the mall just begged to be played around on and after I did we parked the Mini's in a neat line next to eachother.
While most of the others headed for the restaurant to get a bite to eat, Carl and I set of for... a booze & pretzel hunt, while of course enjoying the local scenery.
Some of which was so exquisite that Carl just had to take pictures. The booze was no problem, finding Iced Tea in the UK turned out to be close to impossible though. And of course they didn't carry the exact pretzels we were looking for, although we gave it our best shot.
After having stocked up again the restaurant had already closed, so we headed off back to camp.

Artist-impression of Mini's on a parkinglot Woman in Black

On the motorway back to camp Jan-Willem's Mini started to throw out some bad looking fumes. We stopped on the hard-shoulder and first diagnostics were not good; probably a burnt valve or such. When John and Andy had turned around the first advised us strongly to get off the hardshoulder because the plod don't take kindly to people hanging around there. As Andy got a towing-cord Bas towed JW of the motorway to safer surroundings.
Since we were not to far away from John's workshop it was decided the Mini would be towed there for further inspection. So on it went through Southampton (and a couple of red lights :) to the workshop. On the way (being the considerate person that I am :) I called the women who had stayed back at camp to tell them that we might be a bit later. Turns out I still have a lot to learn about women; they weren't at al worried... till I called and then started having visions of wrecked cars, ambulances and alike.

Let's work Ouch !

Further inspection at the shop gave even worse news. The engine had been running very lean and consequently had gotten way to hot.
As a result the piston of one cylinder was missing a piece which was welded to the side of the bore. This meant end of story for JW's Mini...
Unless... we took the engine out and replaced it with another one. That way there wouldn't be a problem with warranty on the engine and he might still be able to make it to Silverstone driving the Mini. With an overdose of expertise and all the right tools there, it was decided to give it a go.
So a start was made dismantling the engine and prepping it for removal. As I have no experience in this field (and the coats didn't need holding either :), it was my job to give moral support, ask silly questions and get the pizza, as some of us hadn't had dinner yet. Work had progressed nicely by the time we finally headed back to camp (again). John & I stopped over at his place to send out a mayday-message to the List, requesting a replacement engine.

Back at camp we hung out a bit more, had some drinks and then turned in as the next day promised to be a long one...



Tuesday 17th IMM'99/
Mini 40th
Thursday 19th