There was a good turnout at the Mini Nationals in Hamilton over Labour weekend - somewhere around 95 entries apparently - I counted about 32 MCCoA members there with 20 Minis on display and taking part in a variety of events.
The Classics Museum was a perfect location for the event with a large sealed car park for the Show & Shine and the Jukebox Diner served great food & coffee all day and then was the venue for the Saturday night dinner. The Museum itself was open for viewing and we all received free entry to have a look at the displays. An added bonus was an area for self contained Campervans & caravans to stay overnight on site and Grant & Brian and Simon & Marion took advantage of this.
Saturday morning everyone was there early to get their Minis ready for the Show & Shine judges inspection. What a task they had to decide which were the best presented Minis in the various classes. Mike and Jan Bates were awarded 1st Prize with their Clubman Estate in the Concours Class & Richard Underwood was awarded 2nd Prize in the Custom Class - both well deserved. Grant & Brian just missed the trophies placing 4th overall in the Modified class which was the largest class with 33 entries this year. The stock class had 21 entries and there was a bigger turn out of New MINIs this year with 16 entered. Other classes for Variants (Elf's, de Joux etc) were also well supported.
Saturday afternoon's event was the Mini Monte Regularity Rally - this year the trial/rally didn't have a set of questions to be answered or objects to be found (so much for the collection of feathers, rabbits feet, fish hooks, postcards, postage stamps, bus passes, carless day stickers etc I took with me "just in case"). We were told to navigate the course aided by a Route Book with Tulip Diagram directions just like the real Monte Carlo Rally. The instructions were to stay within the speed limits and aim for an average speed of 72km/hr and above all enjoy some fabulous Mini roads. And so we set out at 2 minute intervals and headed for the hills - Stage 1 the Ohautira Loop past Waingaro towards Raglan and back to the Museum and Stage 2 the Karamu Loop out through Whatawhata and back. Who knows how to calculate an average speed? so we just stuck to the speed limit, enjoyed the scenery and had fun. Don't worry about Minis going the other way or not turning where you think you should be, they are probably lost - maybe? For some reason it seems that the Ladies were to best equipped to work out how to stick to an average speed as they took 1st & 2nd place in the event. I had a guest Australian Navigator (Adrian from Toowoomba) with me and between us we didn't have a clue so tried to bank a few minutes just in case we got held up later in the rally. Not sure that it worked for us - I was told some of the young guns found an APP to work out the average speed but I didn't have one of those in the bag with the feathers etc.
On Sunday the Speed events were held nearby in Frankton on a section of closed road used in the past by the V8 Supercars. There was covered parking along side in an industrial truck depot which proved very handy when the odd shower swept across the area. Lee Norman gathered up all the trophies in his Minibitz Mini placing 1st in both the Motorkhana & Autocross events. In the final run in the Autocross Lee in his Classic Mini Cooper & Jai from MMR in his New MINI Cooper S recorded identical times but on count back Lee won with a faster 1st run. Aidan Robson placed 3rd in the Motorkhana & 4th in the Autocross in his Black Sportpac Cooper at his first Nationals, great driving Aidan. Other members also did well and enjoyed the smooth sealed surface.
While the speed events were taking place the alternative event was an organised Scenic Tour of the Waikato starting with morning tea at the local MINI Garage, I'm told that was enjoyable apart from the encounter with the herds of cows on the road, or perhaps what the cows left on the road.
At the Presidents meeting club delegates discussed issues raised about future Nationals and confirmed the locations for the next couple of years :
2018 : Wellington hosted by MOWOG
2019 : Tauranga hosted by Tauranga Mini Owners Club
2020 : Christchurch hosted by Canterbury Mini Owners Club
2021 : Hawkes Bay hosted by Mini Car Club Hawkes Bay
Everyone dressed up for the Prize Giving on Sunday Night at the Distinction Hotel - an excellent meal was followed by a very entertaining Charity Auction - Mini related items were sold including caps signed by Paddy Hopkirk and over $2000 was raised for a local children's Charity.
Trophies were awarded to all the winners of the various events. Members were suitably surprised at their success in the Mini Monte Rally Competition where points were awarded for competing in all events in the same Mini - Show & Shine, Regularity Trial, Motorkhana & Autocross. Richard Underwood was awarded 2nd Place, KevT in 3rd Place, & Chris Atkinson in 4th Place.
The evening concluded with stories and tall tales told - and all agreed that Minis Waikato had put on a Great Nationals Event.
So now's the time to start making plans to head to Wellington next year, Jeseka from MOWOG told us that they are looking forward to seeing us there.
I figure that it would be rude not to.