BY ZAK GOULD
Well what a fantastic long weekend, and a very well organised Nationals by TMOC.
I found myself opting for the 10am meet up at Bombay petrol station. With a great group ready to roll ,with just one more to arrive Stephen and family in the rover red rocket. At this stage the SPi was running well and both Stephen and the red rocket weren’t in limp mode. There was a grand applause on his arrival.
A great smooth run with all cars staying together in a train with some outstanding Mini colours. As I was tail end Charlie going through Karangahake Gorge I had a fantastic View of Minis winding through it.
We all stopped at the Waikino hotel and Richard got us a lined up for the perfect photo shoot, whilst onlookers cheered. Then we lined up for a Le Mans running start photo, passing traffic must have thought we were bonkers. And off we went!Stephen blew an ankle and went straight into limp mode, and had to hand the driving over to Rachel to get them to Tauranga.
(Throughout the weekend both Stephen and the Red Rover went in and out of limp mode even breaking down in front of a bus, I believe. We never knew if either were going to make it to each event and what state they would be in, but with luck they made it, and got all the home ok too.)
A Bit further on we all stopped for an afternoon bite to eat and coffee, then off again for a straight forward arrival to the Armitage hotel Tauranga, along with many Minis arriving from around the country.
Great to catch up, see all the cars and put a face to people on the internet Mini sites. People started washing their Minis ready for tomorrow's early start show and shine!
I had other ideas. I caught sight of Alasdair Willis hand washing his beauty 998 Cooper, knowing well a Scotsman wouldn’t take much convincing to go for a pint at the Mount! (None at all really). So we loaded into my Mini and off we went for a welcoming hazy pale ale or two in the sun.
Then back to the Armitage hotel to meet more people and some good old talk and banter. Me and Alasdair headed downtown for another beer and a grand curry. A fantastic night was had!
The question was would the weather play ball in the morning, well yes it did; a near perfect day with a little wind.
A very organised show and shine with over 220 Minis, so much to look at and people to talk to! Fantastic to see everyone’s Minis, projects and hear their stories.
The fact we Aucklanders hadn’t seen sun for such a long time most of us forget to bring sun lotion or hats.
After the Show and Shine we were set for the Scatter Run starting at 1:30pm. Definitely a two people per car for this event, so I teed up with Alasdair who wanted to take his 998 Cooper for a blast.
Off we went, for me it was a fantastic experience in a real classic Mini, very rarely did the RPM drop below 4500, and point to point we went flat tack yeah! We scored 75 points with some long hauls to get the big numbers, and a really good winding section of road with big smiles, not bad going for a small bore Cooper Mini I thought, great effort.
We caught up to the Orange delight (Adam's Mini) broken down with a fan blade in many bits! His dad was coming to the rescue, so we abandoned him as it was time to get those points in before the 4pm cut off! We went back and it was time to clean up for the 60th Birthday party.
But firstly a few of us met up for a quick walk into town for a bite to eat and a pint, Grant looked like a well done beetroot at the end of the sunny day LOL (Editor: I'll get you for this, Zak.) he only needed to add blue and white for the themed Mini 60th birthday party and quiz night (with some very hard questions) but lots of fun!
After the quiz it was off to the front bar to watch the All Blacks beat the English... NOT! Enough said about that.
An easy start to Sunday morning, before my midday start funkhana! And what fun that was, it was great watching the Reed family having a parents v kids challenge, an inspiration seeing the whole family getting involved in everything Mini.
Marisa and Brandon did a super job with Marisa the driver, and not long just got her driving license, a fine job!
Me and Stephen teed up for this one, first practice in my Mini, in great fashion tipped the water circle over which caused a great laugh, and next we figured out how to make the light go on without the horn even more laughter!
Second round was in Stephens red rover! And this time we were on form with a five mm gap at each mirror on the rolling gap machine, best of they said!
A thoroughly enjoyed nationals by all.