Ian Squire notes that the Christmas period sees a lull in TR activities on the road, but: “Tucked away in warm pubs and homes, there is a hive of activity on the planning front. 2013 was another in a long string of busy years for SDG, and it seems 2014 will be keeping members equally active.
Before whetting your appetites with what is coming, I should report on what has happened. Both our eastern (Netherfield) and western (Chailey) club nights have remained popular, with quizzes and touchy feely competitions making for interesting evenings. Christmas nibbles were enjoyed and the western meeting has moved a half miles south to the Horn's Lodge, where we have been made very welcome. The annual Awards Lunch in Burwash is happening just after this report is submitted, so you will have to wait until next time to hear about the recipients of the awards and booby prizes. Also a few hardy members of the club will head out to the South Down Stages at Goodwood on 8th February to watch the action. Fingers crossed for a bit of warmth and sunshine this year.
So what's the plan for the next few months? I hear you ask. On Sunday 23rd February George will be organising the Mid-Winter Blast, a good target for getting your TR in fine fettle after a few months of inactivity. The run details are still in the planning stages, so visit www.southdowns-trs.org.uk to find out where and at what time. The Bull at Mockbridge will be hosting a skittles match on Sunday 16th March, and on Saturday 5th April Glynn has arranged a tour of CKL Developments in Battle. CKL are specialists in Jaguar race and sports cars from the 50s and 60s. Being a very thoughtful chap, Glynn is providing an alternative to the engineering experience by way of a nearby large garden centre. So our group will split for a few hours before merging together again at a local pub where stories can be exchanged. Sunday the 27th April is Drive it Day, then a week later Paul and Heather's Spring Burnout is another event not to be missed. Following on, we will have round one of Best Presented, the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway visit, the famous Cannonball run, Framfield car show, a continental trip in June, summer BBQ at Wheelbarrow Farm, Wings & Wheels at Dunsfold, Shoreham Air show and the Autumn Getaway. Events are still being finalised, so keep a close eye on our website for the latest and greatest.”
“South Downs group have continued to be very active in recent weeks, with our Autumn Leaves run being the only casualty to bad weather. On Saturday the 12th of October seven TRs were bathed in autumn sunshine on Hastings seafront next to the controversial Jerwood Gallery in the old town. Glynn worked hard organising the SDG entry for the Hastings Classic Car Show and thankfully chose the sunny Saturday to participate, as day two, the saturated Sunday, saw the show terminate early due to the foul weather. Glynn's efforts were handsomely rewarded. As well as the thanks of SDG members, he was also judged "Favourite of the Day" for his beautiful TR3A. Well done Glynn.
Our club nights both at Chailey and Netherfield remain popular, with Hugh and Glynn recently providing entertaining quizzes and Paul L organising the raffles. All your efforts are much appreciated.
A bright crisp November morning greeted participants in the London to Brighton veteran car run on Sunday the 10th. As usual, SDG members gathered at the Friars Oak in Hassocks to watch this cavalcade of rare and ancient machinery as it "sped" by. Some 6 TRs joined a couple of Austin 7s, a 1929 3 litre Bentley, an elderly Lea Francis estate, and a number of MGs and mid 50s Americana. Well wrapped up drivers and passengers took advantage of the hot bacon rolls and coffee on offer at the pub. An enjoyable day for us motor enthusiasts, one and all.
On Tuesday the 12th November the venue for our AGM was switched at very short notice to The Horns Lodge, half a mile down the road from our usual meeting pub. Change of ownership at The Five Bells may result in a permanent change of venue, keep an eye on www.southdowns-trs.org.uk for further details.
The AGM was very well attended. Fiona revealed hidden talents by selling the largest number of raffle tickets ever recorded. What was her secret? During the serious business of the meeting the current committee was re-elected in its entirety, and a new committee member was added to the ranks, welcome Neil. Mark Treadwell (South East Group Coordinator) attended the AGM giving a Register overview and explaining some of the fun and games at the TR Register AGM. The sale of the SDG calendars commenced at a good pace at the AGM. 12 superb TR photos on quality printing revealed what the committee judged to be the best of this year's photographs. Rose's winning photo adorns the front cover. Well done Rose and thanks to Paul L for organising the calendar production.
The committee is already working on plans for 2014 runs, shows, competitions, skittles, BBQ, and long weekends away both here and across the water. Keep an eye on www.southdowns-trs.org.uk for more details. Happy New Year!”
The summer temperatures have remained with us over recent weeks, allowing the TR fun to continue. And South Downs Group have been busy.
The Bexhill 100 was a delight again this year. Sunshine, informal atmosphere and a huge variety of cars made for a winning combination.
Less than a week later saw our annual trip to the Royal Air Force Association air show at Shoreham Airport. A dozen or more SDG TRs joined cars ranging from a couple of lovely 1920s Rolls Royces through Americana and single marque clubs to very recent super car replicas. This year the weather was kind and we were treated to some excellent flying displays including a WW1 'dogfight' with replica period aeroplanes and a visit by the Battle of Britain Memorial flight. On the ground a team of 'Dad's Army' look alikes could be seen at Marigold Tearooms (outside catering), while Stan and Ollie drove around the site in their model T. For the final event of the day SDG's Willie Felger took over the PA system, giving an interesting and informative commentary on the fly past of a F86 North American Sabre fighter.
A couple of weeks on and SDG attended the first Raystede Classic car show at this renowned East Sussex animal welfare centre. The weather forecast had been frightening, but the day dawned with wall to wall blue sky and the rains did not arrive until late afternoon. It was lovely to walk through the grounds, seeing the well cared for animals and, of course, enjoying the beautiful cars. I am sure Raystede will be on the SDG calendar again next year.
During the last weekend in September we had our Autumn Getaway to Rudge in Somerset. Driving the quiet roads between Sussex and Somerset was a delight and we even managed to keep our convoy intact. On the Saturday we visited Longleat. What an excellent day out - so much to see and do, difficult to squash it all into a single day. Great company at the evening meals at the pub made a smashing end to each day. Hugh did a magnificent job of organising the weekend - sorting pub, food, routes and interesting rest halts for the journeys. Thank you so much.
In the next Social Scene you will be able to read about our last show of the year, on the seafront at Hastings (fingers crossed for good weather).
Once again the bad weather has caused a hitch in our schedule... the first round of "Best Presented" was rained off and is postponed until later in the year. Actually one Mr Lucas will be happy with this turn of events as it may allow his splendid TR6 to make it out of the paint shop in time for the judging. However, the weather was gorgeous for both our recent major runs - "Drive It Day" and the Herstmonceux Observatory outing.
Drive It Day is organised by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs to encourage club members and their supporters to use yesterday's vehicles to celebrate the UK's transport heritage. And boy did we celebrate, under the sunny Sussex skies! TRs from the South East descended on Wakehurst Place, some to view the fantastic gardens, some to view the fantastic cars, and others fancying a Sunday pub lunch. Lunch was in the pretty village of Cuckfield, at the Wheatsheaf Inn, where good food and banter was enjoyed.
The visit to the Herstmonceux Observatory was organised by Hugh - always fun and games organising TR owners and their steeds from Thames Valley, South Downs and Kent groups... a little like herding cats. But Hugh was awesome, the day running smoothly with much enjoyment and education being shared. The Observatory has lots of hands on equipment. You can test your reactions (did anyone beat Jenny's best of 140 milliseconds?), learn about gravity, navigation, fluid dynamics, Newton's laws, and so much more. Everyone enjoyed the huge sandwich experiment involving oversized bread and vegetables and a rather large hammer - are you sure it did not hurt, Hugh? Also there was a very entertaining guided tour of a Thompson 26-inch Refracting Telescope situated in dome E, a very impressive piece of kit.
By the time you read this we will have enjoyed the annual Cannonball Run, Framfield Classic car show, Gliding evening (fingers crossed for good weather), and the SDG Honfleur Tour. Also we will be looking forward to the SDG BBQ Sunday 21st July, and the TR International. Oh it is going to be a great summer!