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Minis in the Park

This is the first time I've been to MITP and I was surprised at just how big the event is. Cornbury Park is massive and like Beaulieu, is a stately home. In fact the whole event has a Beaulieu feel about it, just on a larger scale. As we were on the M.I.N.I List club stand we had to be there before 9.30 which meant setting off at around 7am. The roads were totally clear as was the sky, it had rained almost every day the previous week, even ruining the eclipse, so getting up to brilliant sunshine was a welcomed change. We got to the club stand and were third to arrive, after Nigel with Badger and Scott/Kim with Borris. We cleaned the car down, stuck on lots of M.I.N.I stickers and set off to look around and dish out some List flyers. The show was set out in a giant 'U' shape with the club stands forming the two uprights of the letter and the trade stalls forming the horizontal. The centre was filled with the Concourse which was broken down into rows forming the individual categories. Mini Magazine, the organisers, claim that this is the largest Concourse in the UK but I still think they should make the contestants use their Mini's, even just to drive them in from street. I saw three Mini's unloaded from the back of trailers straight into the Concourse parking space. Still, the quality was very high. Even though some of them were a little silly, such as chromed brake discs!!!

It's good to see the 'as standard' early Minis and we were following one on the motorway on the way. A old English white Morris Cooper, with the number plate '1616 D', I'm sure that's a famous car. We followed him for about 50 miles and guessed he was going to MITP, but he pulled of the motorway at the wrong turning so we thought he knew the way and followed him, to find him pulled up just off the slip road. We turned around and went back on the motorway and noticed he was now following us.

There were a lot of trade stands which included all the usual traders such as Mini Spares, Maniflow, Play Mini. But there were also a lot of stalls I hadn't seen before like Autoglym (who were selling 2.5 litre cans of polish for £30, which is a huge saving), one stall was selling posters and I bought one from the promotion of the Monte Carlo that when I got home turned out to be a colour laser copy (never mind it'll look good on the wall). There were lots of used bits, from complete cars to those difficult to get bits and bobs. Brand new gear boxes seem to be a popular thing to sell at a show at the moment and I saw around 6 of them.

12 noon arrived and we made out way to the Mini Magazine tent for the Lister meet, the usual thing happened where we were there at 12 and no other Listers were in sight. They all soon arrived and it was the largest gathering I have ever seen (don't know what the record is?) around 30-40. Marcel was there as were many long distance travelling Listers, lots of new faces to put names to, while Andy Murry recorded the lot for Gemma in Aus (I hate talking to video cameras so I hope I never made a fool of myself). Tommy Francis successfully flogged lots of raffle tickets to the captive audience to raise money for specially adapted mini buses for disabled and disadvantaged young people. First price is a Mini Se7en.

Once the meet had broken up people went there separate ways and I went back to the club stand where Paul Tucker was busy removing his fuel tank. The section of wheel arch that the shock is bolted through had broken off and Paul was busy getting at the area ready for Ian (Spag) to weld a new panel in. Now I was surprised at the MLM-Dyno when Ian and Paul replaced head gaskets in the car park next to the rolling road. But this time they produced an angle grinder, welding gear and a generator in a field. Wonder what'll happen next time. After the welding was done attention moved to replacing CV joints on another Miniac's Mini. The joint had packed up on the way up the M4, he never had his tools and asked to borrow some.

We spent another couple of hours wandering around trying various 'meat' burgers and watching the special rally stage. I'm not sure how long the stage was as most of it was out of sight but it was good to watch the Mini's going for it off the line. There were a few Minis I recognised like the yellow Britax Mini but one that drew loads of attention was a space framed/carbon Mini from Birmingham University called SuperMini It has a two litre Vauxhall engine and span it's wide slicks through the first three gears, 230bhp.

Meanwhile, back at M.I.N.I HQ, team Bonaire had arrived. Listers will remember that they had the blue Mini put into a crate and shipped over for the 40th Birthday celebrations. I can't believe the dedication of Miniacs, flying in from all over the world and Team Bonaire bringing their car with them. Bas (Loonybin) was selling sponsorship 'T' shirts for a fiver, I think he shifted quite a few and I suspect it will be the MLM-Curry meet uniform, well see. Well, the time was now almost three o'clock and we decided to head off home. The weather forecast was for rain during late afternoon and seeing as I don't like to get my mini (Monte) wet we set off home. Another great Mini show that had made my yearly calendar.

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