Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tony Haslam does the Wirral to Llandudno

Wirral to Llandudno 2015

Early morning rose at 6.30am. The weather was cold and windy. Time for a quick shower, breakfast and check the Elf over – water, petrol etc.

Being local, it was just a 20 minute drive to Bromborough from Chester – and I only saw one Mini en-route. I arrived to find almost 150 lined up waiting for the starter horn.

I had a nice chat to several old friends from various Mini Clubs from all round the North West. Wirral Minis, the organising club decided to take the scenic route through North Wales via Mold, Bodfari to St. Asaph, just off the A55 Expressway which carries the majority of traffic from Chester to Holyhead in Anglesey for the ferry to Northern Ireland. 



En-route we had a stop at Rhos on Sea (Colwyn Bay) to allow everyone to catch up. You can imagine how difficult it is to keep a convoy of 150 plus Minis together! From here we continued to Llandudno and ascended the Great Orme, a Granite mountain which erupted many centuries ago to a height of 679 feet above sea level.

Once we had paid our £1 toll (£2 to the average motorist, but as we are only half the length of today’s vehicles we got a discount!) we ascended the monolithic tor. At the summit we parked in centre of the car park, a bit like sheep in a pen. Many of just opted to stay in the vehicles as the temperature was down to 4-5 degrees C.



The Minis were buffeted by the high wind but held their ground before we made our way down the zig-zag road back to the promenade where we parked up in a neat fashion for visitors to inspect.

A few of the clubs from further afield like Manchester and North Liverpool decided to make their way home early due to the high winds so the display on the promenade was slightly smaller than previous years when we normally have 200 cars.

A great run enjoyed by all and a round trip for me of 150 miles taking my mileometer over 58,000 in my 51 year old Riley Elf.

RACE REPORT: MINI Challenge Rd1 - Donington

http://www.minichallenge.co.uk

MINI Challenge Donington Park National
25th-26th April 2015
Words & Photos courtesy David Young

The season opener at long last.  How would the new F56s go? How much faster would they be than the JCWs?  Would the separate Cooper Class races be any good?  All the questions were answered on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday those views were confirmed..


JCW/F56 Class:
Twenty-five starters with 16 brand new F56 MINI 'S's qualifying, they looked great, they sounded great, and they went like stink!  The MINI Challenge team have to be congratulated in producing so many of them as well as getting so many F56s them to the start line.  A very bold move.  Everybody was expecting teething troubles and a few of them played up a bit.  Robert Smith, BMTR,  showed how they should be driven with 2 out of 3 race wins followed by a 3rd place - only 3rd because an oil seal went in the gearbox and sprayed oil onto the clutch. Newcomer to the MINI Challenge, David Grady had two 2nd places and a 4th place, Ryan Rhode, 4th, 6th & 3rd. So the new R56s are reliable too.  A lot of the teams were obviously trying new setups and learning the new cars.  With the weather being dry with small showers on Saturday, bone dry on Sunday, Pirelli were certainly earning their money.  My overall impression of the new cars was: Awesome!

The JCW’s were mostly being refreshed from last year, some were just brought out and some had nice new wraps.  Unfortunately last year’s Champion Chris Knox could not raise enough budget to start.  Neil Newstead and his Oakfield Motorsport Team run by Bill Sollis had a four-car team, one Cooper for Darren Chatt, an F56 for Charlie Butler-Henderson and two JCWs for himself and Steve Ruxton Cocker.  Neil had a great weekend with two Class wins and a 2nd.  Surprise of the weekend was Kevin O’Connor.  A new JCW driver, he achieved two 2nd places and a 4th.  love:mini writer Hamish Brandon was on the money all weekend and had a second place, a third place and a 1st place finish.  The leading JCWs even managed to catch the tail-enders in the F56s so speed was never an issue.

The racing was superb all weekend, hardly any panel damage, no major accidents and it stayed dry.  Superb weekend racing for the JCW/F56 Power Maxed MINI Challenge.



Cooper Class
Lots of new drivers, some old ones too. Never too old to enjoy racing!Simon Walton of Swanflight had been out with lots of practising pre-season, Rob Simms Racing had rebuilt both of the two Swanflight/Scalextric cars.  Simon had stated on Facebook that he intended to get on the Podium this year! He most certainly did that, three visits in fact!  Still the win evades him.  Adrian Norman, his team mate, also had a great weekend showing good pace in qualifying and with three 10th places.

With 16 starters, racing should be more fun this season, the Coopers have their own race. Those JCWs lapping at speed would be a thing of the past.  Henry Neal, son of Matt Neal, BTCC Champion (who was present all weekend helping), had a mixed weekend, a not too good qualifying time, trying Crammer Curves flat in the damp, causing an off, an 8th place, in the first race and destroyed his car in the second race causing a red flag on lap 9.  The great thing was his spirits were still up and he was un-hurt.

Ricky Page was the hero of the weekend, in his AP Cars Kent Cooper run by our friends at Sussex Road & Race.  Ricky had a fresh engine built by Alan Page and looked great in qualifying with a 4th place, saving tyres. He led the first race coming through from the 2nd row on the grid only to slow on the last lap with brake failure, leaving Nathan Harrison, Simon Walton and Martin Poole to overtake him.  The next two races were something else. 

The second race he went straight to the front on the first lap and there he stayed.  It was the same again in the third race - straight to the front and there he stayed. Nathan Harrison had a great weekend with three trips to the podium for Coastal Racing. 

The racing in the Cooper Class was very exciting to watch, it was great to focus just on them without the distraction of the quicker JCWs. The race is now about the Coopers. I personally think it will go from strength to strength. The only issue I see is one of parts supply. The cars are now 10 years old. Still Appendix K for pre-66 Minis is doing so well the future looks good. 

Antony Williams and the MINI Challenge team are to be congratulated for putting on a great show.  Even the website and catering has been overhauled with Refined Concierge offering gourmet buffet lunches and freshly brewed coffee, teas & chocolate.http://www.minichallenge.co.uk  for full details of futures races, results and pictures, (by yours truly of course).

Cooper Class standings after Round 1
JCW Class standings after Round 1
F56 Class standings after Round 1

Thursday, 30 April 2015

THIS WEEKEND: MkI Action Day

The highly popular MkI Action Day returns this Bank Holiday Weekend at Blyton Park, Lincolnshire.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

HRCR Mini rallying on TV

COPYRIGHT: KPB PHOTOGRAPHY
HRCR Mintex ‘old STAGER’ Championship 2015 incorporating the Mini Challenge and The HRCR Imp Cup Rally North Wales coverage to be shown on Motors TV April 29th 2015 @ 20:00

Special Stage Television coverage of the HRCR Mintex ‘old STAGER’ Championship 2015 incorporating the Mini Sport Mini Challenge and The HRCR Imp Cup will be shown on Motors TV on April 29th @ 20:00 (subject to change) so please check the listing for timings.

WIN: Tickets to Himley Hall 2015

The British Mini Club's annual event at Himley Hall has been taking place for 20 years now, and with that kind of longevity you know there must be something special about it. That's why love:mini has teamed up with the Club to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets for the show.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

One-two for the MINI ALL4 Racing

- Nasser Al-Attiyah wins his home race
- Vasilyev defends World Cup lead


Just a few weeks after the success in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the MINI ALL4 Racing once again delivered in outstanding style, with Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel winning Qatar’s Sealine Cross Country Rally, in their X-raid built racer. Second place also was secured by a MINI ALL4 Racing pairing: the Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov. Meanwhile, the Poles Adam Malysz / Rafal Marton contested their only second rally with the MINI ALL4 Racing and secured the fine sixth place.

Friday, 24 April 2015

VIDEO: MINI Augmented Vision in action

The hottest future-tech news to come from the MINI press office is all about the Augmented Vision Glasses that superimpose information into the lenses.

Now you can see how they work in action with this latest video.

Last member of original Mini design team passes away


The Birmingham Post has reported the passing away and funeral of John Sheppard, the last surviving member of the original Mini design team. He was 93.

Read the full story here.

VIDEO: 2015 John Cooper Works - most powerful MINI ever


See what the latest top-of-the-range MINI has to offer.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

VIDEO: JCW MINI kit - the full package

Now you can see how all the new elements of the 2015 JCW MINI gel together and work as one - and also how you can buy these additional must-have luxury accessories for your own MINI.

http://www.mini.co.uk/jcwkitoffers