Photos: Deryck F, Anna Reed, Roger Reed, and probably more.
An early start (for me) on Sunday for the Italian Job run. 26 Minis gathered at Greenlane McDonalds, and half an hour later 24 Minis started out on the run. (Club President Kevin and Club Captain Steve demonstrated the latest club run rule: if you're going to have a breakdown, have it before the run).
Seeing 24 Minis driving through the Waterview Tunnel was quite a sight, judging by the amazed stares coming from the people in their regular cars.
Trying to keep 24 Minis together while driving through the city turned out to be... challenging? Interesting? Utter chaos? Between the road works, turn-only lanes, and traffic lights our "follow the leader" run became "follow whatever Mini you can see". I'm pretty sure no two Minis followed the same route for the entire run, but it sure was fun.
Thanks to Steve for organising another fanatstic day out!
A fun day out for everyone! Photographer Chris Dillon (Dillon.co.nz) was there taking photos of the carpark display (where Tony Maulder organised us all in to a big 60 for the MIni's 60th birthday). To see all the photos Chris took, head over to the gallery space here.
By Kevin Taylor
This was the fourth time we had used Tony Vazey's paddock at Aka Aka for the Interclub Autocross, our first event there was in 2014 on a sunny day and it was another sunny day this year for the Minis that arrived to have fun & do a few skids.
There were 3 Minis from Auckland & 4 Minis & 5 drivers from Waikato.
An early start to set up the tent and mark out the courses before the first run at 10am. Because of the small number of competitors we decided that there would be 3 laps of each course, we would have 3 runs on each course and we would do 3 different courses, you do the math but that looks like 9 runs & 27 laps to me.
The first runs were pretty slippery on the long grass but with each run the courses got faster and by the last run there was dirt & dust flying as the tyres dug deep for traction. The Minis were a mix of 1000cc, 1100cc & 1275cc - size sometimes doesn't count for much on grass but today it did as the drier surface did favour the bigger engines.
Surprise of the day was Keith Hargraves competing in his mint 1995 Mini Cooper - and very nearly winning the event.
Several cones were harmed during the day and everyone had great fun but at the end of the day Lee Norman was too quick for the rest of us.
1st - Lee Norman (A) 1275
2nd - Keith Hargraves (A) 1275
3rd - Ralph Taylor (W) 1000
4th - Kelvin Kewish (W) 1275
5th - Kevin Taylor (A) 1100
6th - Brent Middlemiss (W) 1000
7th - Theresa Kewish (W) 1000 I think
8th - Helen Middlemiss (W) 1000
When the points were tallied up later that evening it was MCCoA who won the Teams prize.
Thanks to Brent Middlemiss for organising the Motorsport NZ Permit & Gary & Catherine Ashton for setting out the courses and doing the timekeeping duties, & Ian Gillanders for Portaloo duties & Keith for BBQ duties.
By Tony Maulder
On Sunday mid morning 17th March a small group of minis formed up on the roof carpark at the Northwest shopping centre for our run to Matakana. Four of the cars on their first club run.
We were going to be led off by dads Chad and Willie in a limo Mini with 3 kids in the back, but they were unsure of some of the roads so Steve decided to lead us to our first stop at the Kaukapakapa hall, through twisty, windy Old North Road.
We were warned that it was market day at the Kaukapakapa hall so we stopped at the pub. The kids in the limo saw me there and said I must be following them as they saw me at the start. They were busy watching movies (Cats?) not the road today as they were on a day away from their mums! They had lollies, ice creams, etc. from their dads in the limo.
Steve, his wife, and daughter in the Rover Sport were eagerly followed by Julie and Gwyn in the bright red JCW from the pub for about 20 minutes to our next stop at a lookout near the road to Port Albert.
Getting up to the lookout was quite a climb and Simon worried that his 1000cc Mini would struggle, being the smallest horsepower of the group. But no, his little beige beauty performed as good as the rest of us and he was pleased.
At the lookout Jedd in the rather grunty grey 1275+ Mini got going photographing the vista with a rather professional looking camera. He then explained his partner was a wedding photographer, hence the good gear. We waited here for the silver limo to catch up as they had visited friends on the way.
We did a short stint to the Caltex petrol station at Wellsford. Steve parked on the TRAIL (see photo) in front of all the road signs we had to follow to the next stop at Matakana.
Mini limo lead us off now as they knew the road to take. Steve's car had the heater stuck on and made it a bit uncomfortable for his daughter who needed a stop for fresh air.
More good hill climbs. No problems for my BMW silver supercharger.
We arrived at the little Matakana wharf car park and all the children rushed off to the playground, while most of us made our way to the Rusty Pelican for lunch. A really quirky, rustic place.
The mums and children joined us soon after to have a brilliant lunch of fish and chips, pizzas, chicken burgers, and more, as you can see in the photo. Plenty of life stories and catch ups were had.
BACK TO OREWA / AUCKLAND.
Mid afternoon we wandered back to our cars in the park, loaded up and headed off. At Warkworth, we hit the traffic. Slow at all the lights and on down highway 1 to the satellite dishes where there had been a small accident. Then I had a good run back into Auckland looking at all the new motorway work on the way to Puhoi. It won't be the same as the roads we had enjoyed in our Minis earlier in the day.
Thanks Steve for plotting our explorer run, and I enjoyed the pleasant company of our new club travellers.
By Chris McMurray
55 years ago, in 1964, Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon drove 33EJB, a Morris Cooper S 1071 to victory in the Rallye of Monte Carlo, striking a hammer-blow to the other big competitors. The Mini was so small. The importance of this victory on the world stage cannot be overstated.
How did the victory come about? Partly through Competition Department Manager Stuart Turner’s planning, but mostly through a new engine. Although in the 1963 Monte Carlo, Rauno Aaltonen and Hopkirk had respectively come 3rd and 6th Overall in Cooper 997s, BMC knew that it needed something much more to snatch outright victory from the grip of the major European manufacturers.
To take in the magnitude of this victory, examine the British taxation system of the day. Dating back to the 30’s, cars were partly taxed on the bore of the engine-cylinders, and this led to cars (all other things being equal) having vastly under-square motors, ie. long stroke, and small bore, to minimise tax. This created relatively slow-revving, torquey characteristics, which, given that Britain had just gone through a war, made much sense. The Mini’s very existence arose out of the petrol shortages of the 1956 Suez Crisis.
Well before this, BMC knew that it needed a more powerful engine than the 997 or the 948. Back in 1955, out of frustration, Marcus Chambers, the first Competitions Manager, had written a (now) famous memo to BMC’s Managing Director requesting a seriously competitive car. George Harriman, to his credit, understood that motorsport successes generated sales. Gambling that sales volumes would overcome the
extra taxation , BMC had unfinished business, and planning had already begun.
Through 1961 and 1962, with Harriman’s backing, BMC engineers Eddie Maher, Jack Daniels, and Harry Weslake, Alec Issigonis, (the Mini’s designer), Daniel Richmond of Downton Tuning fame, and John Cooper had all been meeting to discuss the question of extracting much more power from the motor, with Cooper’s experience in Formula Junior racing (up to 1100cc) being drawn upon. The 997, tweaked to 65 bhp at
6500rpm, simply wasn’t enough.
The 997, at 62.43mm bore, and 81.28mm stroke, followed these conventional principles. However, the design team above turned these principles on their head. The 1071 was designed as a short-stroke, big-bore, over-square racing motor, with a bore of70.60mm and 68.26mm stroke. Add to this the new high-lift 649 camshaft, and the 1071 was the very opposite configuration to the conventional 997.
The engineering principle which the designers pursued was volumetric efficiency. While the 997 had valves of 29.4mm inlet and 25.4mm exhaust, the 1071 however had valves of 35.71mm inlet, and 30.96mm exhaust. Bigger bores allow bigger valves, which, with an improved cylinder head, enable faster induction and scavenging into and from the combustion chamber, leading to higher revs, torque and bhp.
This production-line motor developed 70bhp ex-factory, although with special factory preparation, you could add 25-30bhp to this. The S engine was a sea-change, a revolution against contemporary doctrine and production-line manufacturing. So together with the vastly better disc brakes (50% thicker & 7% wider), thus was born the 1071 Cooper S.
A portent came with the 1963 Monte, when 997s took 3rd, 6th, & 28th Overall, and 1st, 2nd, & 4th in Class. Homologation for the 1071 S (acceptance for motorsport) required sales of 1000 units, and production began in March 1963. Homologation was submitted on the 9th May 1963. The 1071 S won 2 victories prior to the 1964 Monte: the June 1963 Alpine, with Aaltonen driving 277EBL, and Hopkirk winning the September 1963 Tour de France in 33EJB. Then a 1071S got 4th in the mud and rain of the Dec 1963 RAC. These victories went largely unheralded, and unnoticed.
Why was the Monte so important to BMC? Publicity. The Monte Carlo in January starts the rallying calendar, and accordingly, sets the tone for the coming year. From 1911, it was the first rally in the world; It remains a difficult winter mountain rally, terminating in all the attendant glamour of Monte Carlo, generating huge publicity.
BMC deliberately courted this publicity. Amidst the gloom of mid-winter, with sales at their low-point for the year, BMC and the British press hungered for good stories, and here was one with glamour: pizzazz, Formula I, casinos, big yachts, sunshine, money, and more glamour.
Since 1066, the French have often been the foe of the British. The 64 Monte gave BMC a very good chance of putting one over the French, especially Renault, Citroen, and Peugeot. Of course BMC would go for Monte Carlo. BMC now knew that it had a winning chassis and motor. Turner’s drivers were not “gentlemen drivers” of established car-clubs; they respected no-one’s reputation. More than quick, they were fast on snow and ice. BMC now ruthlessly sought to win, knock the Europeans for six, and claim the spoils of victory. Publicity.
And win they did. BMC beat Ford by 17 seconds. Back in England, with huge support from Dunlop, Lucas, Lockheed, and Castrol, the production lines at Longbridge and Abingdon cheered their heads off. The din of the celebrations could have been heard on the moon. Liddon, Hopkirk, and 33EJB were flown back to London to appear on “Sunday Night at the Palladium”. The crew made appearances everywhere. Dealers put rally-cars in their windows. Sales took off. Only 5 years after 621AOK first appeared, half the size of its competitors, BMC and the Mini had won the Monte Carlo.
By Darren Clark
Although not an official club event, a small number of members (Jim Banks, Kyle Apanui, Robbie Apanui and myself) attended the Howick Hop on Saturday 9th March and dodged the on and off rain showers as much as we could.
After a 7.30am meet up at Robbie's, we drove the short distance to the village to be parked up by 8am. As part of the entry, Hop participants received a voucher for a $15 brunch contribution valid at 3 eateries so a great reward for our participation.
Jim was interviewed by the local radio station DJ about his Mini!
There was a vast array of impressive hot rods and classic cars on display (120 registered). The organisers are hoping to increase the number of registrations and road closures for the 2020 event, due to the overwhelmingly positive response from the classic car and hot rod communities.
The show finished at 2pm and seemed to be enjoyed by all.
By Kevin Taylor.
What a great event this is, we can see from the entry list that there will be 2 Minis competing this year so it would be rude not to be there to support them in 2019 - Mini's 60th Birthday.
Club Captain Steve & I were committed to go - any other Mini club members interested ? We meet at Clevedon for lunch before heading off on the Miranda coast road. The trip to Leadfoot is part of the enjoyment of the weekend and I enjoyed following Steve & his dad in the white 911 on the nice flowing roads to Miranda and then over the Kopu Hikuai to Tairua where we were staying for the night. Steve's wife Rachael and the rest of the family followed at a more leisurely pace. My brother Ralph joined us at Tairua in his Rover Cooper S with his son Kelvin & Son in Law Snowy following in Snowy's Series 1 RX7. Saturday morning we meet Steve and headed off in convoy over the Tairua hill to Whenuakite which was the meeting place noted on the club website. We were meet there by new MCCoA member Ben Yordon and his wife & 2 sons in their 1975 Mini 1000 and then headed to Rod Millen's Leadfoot Ranch at Hahei where the hill climb runs up the drive to his house overlooking the Pacific. The first runs of the day were already underway when we arrived and parked in the "Classic & Cool Cars Car Park".
There was an amazing variety of cars competing - some unique & expensive cars, too many to describe, some ultra competitive, some there for the joy of taking part. And then there were the drifters.
Total entry was 112 cars/bikes/sidecars/quads.
Stand out car for me was the Mk11 BDA Masport Escort rally car - a genuine Ford Works Escort as driven by Ari Vatanen & Hannu Mikkola & Bjorn Waldegard amongst others. Was the JD number plate for Jim Donald ? They say it is the most original Works Escort in the world and it had just undergone a full restoration. Well known racer Andy Booth was driving the Escort with the owner in the passenger seat, the sound of the BDA in the forest at the top of the hill brought back great memories of following the international rallies in the 70's & 80's.
The Orange Mini Cooper S also sounded great going up the hill, not quite enough HP to match the Escort. We had meet the owner/driver Bevan Wright at the Wellington Mini Nationals last year and stopped into the pits to say hi during the day. He was hoping to crack a 60sec run (his best was 60.99sec) We had previously meet Bevan at the Nelson Nationals where he had broken the Coopers crankshaft on the hillclimb there - so he would have been very happy to complete Leadfoot in one piece before heading off home to the Wairarapa.
The other Mini competing was a Minibusa driven by Steve Midgley. This Mini has a Suzuki Hayabusa 1300 motorcycle engine in the boot and goes like the clappers, doesn't sound much like a Mini as screams up the hill. His best time was 55.55sec.
After 2 days of competition the top 10 shoot out was won by Alister McCrae (again) in the ex Possumm WRC WRX (47.99sec) from Sloan Cox in his Evo 8 hillclimb special (48.67sec). Rod Millen's best time was 48.91 sec so he still has great speed (& knows every inch of his driveway).
And then there were the drifters - it may not be my thing but these guys put on a great show although we couldn't see much because of the tyre smoke. They were all on the road at the same time for their last run and that was impressive, how the guys following could see where they were going is anyones guess.
A great weekend, well worth attending for the variety of cars taking part, being able to get right into the pits to look at the cars - one last favourite, a tiny sports car, think miniature Canam car with a 1.5lt V4 2 stroke Johnson outboard motor in the rear with 4 megaphone exhausts sticking way out the back - who knows why but it was extraordinary and lime green !!
And this is my story