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).
On Sunday 21st July Martin and Sue once again kindly hosted the SDG BBQ in their beautiful grounds, with Dave and Sandra taking charge of the delicious starters and BBQ, ably assisted by John B at the grill. Weather was delightful, the company great, and this year an additional twist - a little competition with blindfold driving and wheel / spark plug changing action. Many thanks to Willie for arranging that excitement. I do hope it becomes a regular event. Also at the BBQ was round one of Best Presented. The standard of the cars seems to improve each year, making it a tough job for the four judges.
SDG members made their annual pilgrimage to the TR International in Malvern in August, some travelling in convoy on the Friday avoiding motorways and enjoying the beautiful English countryside, others setting off at the crack of dawn on Saturday, and others travelling later in the day. All enjoyed the friendly social atmosphere of the SDG camping area, Saturday evening in particular being a very pleasant and entertaining time. Sunday morning was a time recovery from the night before, prior to the journey back to Sussex.
So how many cars can you fit in Glynn and Lin's garden? The answer this year was 16, and we still had room to set up tables and chairs in the sunshine to enjoy the tasty fish and chips that Glynn and Lin had organised, and Lin's superb home-made desserts. Before lunch Glynn lead a run from the historic town of Battle through Sussex lanes unknown to the masses. It included a half way stop at the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway station at Dungeness. Our break was perfectly timed to allow us to witness the arrival and departure of a one-third full size steam locomotive – wonderful! The judging for round two of Best Presented also took place. Fewer entries at this round helped to make the judges lives a little easier, but oh what a high standard.
A few days after this latest TR Action lands on your doormat SDG will be heading west for the Autumn Getaway. Hugh has organised accommodation at a pub on the Wiltshire / Somerset border. Should be good – I will tell you all about it next time. Happy TRing.
Well it has been a cracking month for SDG - beautiful cars, excellent events and fantastic weather - makes you feel great! Our annual Cannonball Run was a great success; a beautiful country run ending with fish and chips on the beach. Many thanks to Paul and Jenny Cannon for organising, leading and feeding the masses.
The superb setting for the Framfield show was reflected in the quality and variety of the cars, notably the Astons and the pre-war cars, but, best of all, the SDG TRs!
Last year our gliding evening was rained off. No such problems this year - flight after flight was winched up into the air, providing delightful aerial views and the opportunity to 'take the stick'. All good adrenalin pumping fun.
Then came the highlight of the summer with 18 SDG (and friends) cars crossing the channel to the beautiful Normandy town of Honfleur. During the long sunny weekend the group split up for outings but often returned to the Relais Des Cyclistes restaurant for their tasty three courses to round off the day. On Sunday Paul and Caroline led a group of seven TRs on a 'Cidre' run. Down quiet back roads and through sleepy villages, the circular route took in many of the local Cider producers. Stops along the way included coffee at the lovely old village of Beuvron en Auge and a visit to a Patisserie in Cambremer where we more or less cleared out the stock with just five minutes left before closing! Monday saw a foray westwards to explore the Normandy D-Day landings beaches. The tour diverted inland to the fascinating Pegasus Bridge Memorial Museum at Ranville before heading north and further along the coast to Arromanches to see the remains of the massive Mulberry harbour. Next it was on to Omaha beach and then back inland to Bayeux to see the amazing tapestry before dining in the evening sunshine and finally heading back to Honfleur with headlights on.
Seven TRs and a Lotus (substituted for a TR4A that caught fire prior to departure) went on a tour through the National Park of the Seine and visited Chateau du Taillis. This imposing chateau, where considerable restoration is underway, houses a museum to August 1944, the phase after the D Day landings when the Allies broke across the Seine and fought their way to liberate Northern Europe. The Chateau and its Museum are poignant evidence of the region’s recent and distant past. The cars returned to Honfleur using one of the “Bacs” de Seine, the small river ferries which were so important during the war. Many thanks to Paul and Caroline for doing all the groundwork that made our Honfleur trip possible.
Events to look out for - Sunday 18th August Costal Fish and Chip run, Monday 26th August Bexhill 100 Classic car show, Sunday 1st September Shoreham Air Show and our Autumn Getaway on the last weekend in September. See www.southdowns-trs.org.uk for more details. Enjoy!
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!