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Birmingham Rally 2011

This was my first at organising an R.O.C. Rally and after a few hiccups it finally worked out OK in the end.

I arrived on Friday night, much later than I had planned to arrive; it was one of those days where if something could go wrong it did! On arrival I was greeted by Bob Simkins and John Pettigrew who kindly made me a cup of tea while I set up my tent. I then went to introduce myself to Colin and Francis (from Chard branch) who had just sold their Reliant and bought a Volvo and trailer tent. They had decided to join us and support our rally for the weekend and try out their trailer tent.

Later that evening Bob, John, Colin, Francis and I went over to the barn where Bob decided he would show us how to play a particular game of cards called “floater”. Bob said there was another name for the game but I can’t repeat it here!

At first the game seemed very complicated but under Bob’s expert guidance we soon realised the aim of the game was to get rid of as many cards as you can and place them down in sets on the table. The winner was the one who got rid of all his/her cards and the losers had to add up all the cards they had left over. It was a clever and devious game and soon I began to call the game by Bobs other name for the cards!

The weather forecast for Saturday wasn’t great and it was a pity that the forecasters were right. We certainly had our fair share of rain and hailstone. Later that afternoon the new merchandise officer John White, aka, “not the stig”, arrived in his Rialto with trailer attached with the club Regalia. Next to arrive were Sue and Mark Cropper in their lovely MK3 Robin Van and soon after Daniel Rodd turned up in his Rialto 2 which was sporting a superb pair of “mamba” alloy wheels, which I had not seen before.

As the weather was so poor we decided to join some of the games in the barn. We put some music on while John set up the regalia and showed off some of the new merchandise. Mark Cropper officially opened the rally and thanked everyone for coming while Sue and Cameron sold raffle tickets, (thanks to everyone who donated raffle prizes).

Soon others started to arrive including Steve and Janet white and the Barber family and soon battle commenced at the games. In the evening I’d arranged a quick quiz which involved naming vehicles and the television programmes they appeared in and that certainly got the brain cells going! Next we had a game of play your cards right, for which I had created A4 cards featuring cars and their cost prices when new and people had to start with one card and then guess whether the next car picture was a lower or higher price. The prize for the winner was a nice framed print of a Reliant Robin MK3 or a framed print of a Reliant advert. John White and Daniel Rodd were determined to win but in the end John was the only victor and chose the MK3 print as his prize. We decided to auction off the rebel print and Daniel Rodd was the highest bidder who was happy to finally own the prize he was so determined to win earlier.

The owner of the barn kindly offered to put on a free disco for us as long as we could open up the barn for all the people on the campsite, so we agreed, but this ended up as karaoke night. Later on most people had gone home leaving just us few hardcore campers behind. It was decided that we would once again have a game of “floaters” and bob, john, Colin, Francis, Gary Gregory, and I sat together in the corner until the early hours of the morning.

On Sunday morning the rain had stopped but it was still quite dull and very blustery, but I was relieved to see a few Reliants turn up for the line-up. Terry O’Keefe arrived in his Robin MK3 followed by Elvis Payne with his Regal MK 5 Van and Paul Dunn with his Regal MK6. Soon we had a small line up of 7 Reliants, which for a miserable Sunday afternoon wasn’t too bad. Bob parked his Reliant Ant (TW9) and Rialto 2, Gary in his Rialto known as “Green Dragon”, and my Scimitar GTE was parked at the end.

Later I had a pleasant surprise when Birmingham member and ex-Reliant draughtsman Ted Laban and his wife Margaret arrived in there very unusual but very smart shortened mini. Ted spent quite a bit of time chatting to others about his car and showed us pictures of doodles that other Reliant staff had come up with. It was great to catch up with them as I hadn’t seen them for a while since I moved house.

We all spent quite a bit of time looking at each other’s cars, taking photos and ultimately choosing a car for “car of the day” award. Once I had the results I was pleased to see it was almost a unanimous decision vote for Paul Dunn’s Regal MK6 and to his surprise I handed him the trophy – Well done Paul! Well despite the weather it turned out to be a very pleasant weekend overall, so again I would like to say thanks to everyone who came to support our rally, as without your support Birmingham Rally would no longer be possible. Thanks also to Bob, Sue and Mark for their personal support – I look forward to seeing you all again soon.


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