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It must be easy for us British to become complacent about Mini's. We see them every day and most owners aren't enthusiastic about them, it's just their car. But the London to Brighton penetrates even the most ignorant heart and fills it with that Mini magic. The route from Crystal Palace to Brighton has a fair amount of people standing on the road side waving. Other cars get out of the way so you can stay within your mates convoy. Although you have never met the other drivers, their your mates. Lots of people wanting to talk mini with you at Crystal Palace and Mederia Drive.

There is a down side to the L2B. It's the fact that 2,500 Minis are being released onto the road. The roads of South London just can't cope, even with the usual light Sunday traffic on them. The resulting traffic jam just isn't much fun. If you go into Crystal Palace you will get stuck in the queue of cars waiting to leave, this can take a couple of hours. The only way out of that is to get there early and get to the front of the queue. I got there at around 6.30 last year, half an hour after the gates open and there was already five rows of minis, each row is about a quarter mile long. I don't know how early they get there but they'll have to wait a long time for the event to start.

So the answer is not to go into Crystal Palace and that's exactly what we did this year, parked outside at about 8.00am and walked in for my T-shirt and then went off to Brighton. It's surprising how many people must do the same thing. We passed a lot of minis on the way. We got to Mederia Drive at around 11.00 am which gave enough time to grab something to eat, and meet Andy Murray and Andy in Belgium. The sun was out and it was a nice day. A quick walk about and it was 12.00 noon, time to get along to the pier and meet the others. Much talking was done while John Bullas was stuck in the traffic that had now grid-locked Brighton (which is why he's not in the picture).

There were the usual large amount of trade stands there as usual but unusually John Cooper Garages had a stand. One of the men on the stand recognised me as I have my Cooper serviced with them and asked if I'd visited their new mini garages. I said I'd probably get some friends together and we'd all get down on the same day. 'Good idea' he said, 'Phone ahead and we'll make sure we can accommodate you and that JC is around'. Nice one, I think we've got ourselves a MLM-JCG on our hands, maybe for the August mini week? The trade stands had absolutely loads of stuff, boxes of carbs, turrets, shocks, cylinder heads, new panels, wheels, tyres, mini toys, T shirts, books...... Loads of stuff, and almost anything you could think of for the mini.

There was a large showing of the Red Bull minis this year and it seems the event was sponsored by them to some extent and it was all the better for it. Last year I entered the Show and Shine and stood next to the car for about five hours waiting for the judge to arrive and mark the car. Not this year, they were marking the cars by around 3.00pm. It still shocks me to find such a large selection of minis, probably almost 3,000 with the club and trade stands, and find that each one is different. Even the Show and Shine classes such as 1998/99 Mini's, most entrants were personalised is some way. Every car different in some way and most are winners. (I say most because I still don't think lime green and purple go together.)

I had a good day and I think most people did. If you're ever in the UK in May then you'll be a fool to miss the L2B, even if you're not a mini fan. This is the largest single make car run in the world and is truly a spectacle. It was just beginning to rain and I started off for home at around 4.00pm and people were still arriving. I can't stress enough how bad that traffic jam is....

Even so, I can't wait until the next one L2B 2000.

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