I was destined to be on the gate for this rally and so left mine on Thursday as we would be collecting “Old Red” (a 1949 8cwt Van) from the Black Country Living Museum. We arrived on site shortly after dinner time, I was amazed to see that Chard branch had already arrived and set up camp too. Geoff unloaded “Old Red” from off the dolly and the van before heading over to the entrance and setting up the ten at the gate, where I would be stationed for the foreseeable future. Once this was done Geoff then announced he was going home and would be returning the following day with “35” on tow.
Once Geoff left I laid out the welcome tent and began collecting camp fees, from the people that had already arrived, after having my ear chewed by a few people about having to pay more because they were not in a Reliant, I settled back into the welcome tent.
Snowy turned up around 3ish in his regal towing a trailer and without hesitation I set about helping him put the tent up, there was only a couple more camp units that turned up on the Thursday these were a Nott’s Branch member and half the Cornish family. Out of the 7 units camping only 3 turned up in a Reliant, which for me was a disappointment, still it was early days.
Early to bed for me as I knew Friday would be a much busier day. Being woken up at 4 am by the light of the moon was not a nice thing to happen though, I decided to set the welcome tent up at 7 on the Friday morning due to the fact I had nothing better to do.
I needn’t have worried about being there as early as the first person to turn up was Daniel Rodd at 12, who announced he was disappointed as he had to push his choke in and he only lives 8 miles away. During the day people arrived in dribs and drabs with many making seemingly unmemorable arrivals. There were a few arrivals that stuck into my mind however. Paddy arrived on the back of a Tow truck after blowing his core plug on the way down. And Wilfred announced his arrival by skidding to a halt and shouting “no brakes no brakes” Despite putting signs up to Point people in via the correct entrance I still felt the urge to ask if they wanted to borrow my glasses as they were missing the signs. Still there were no issues to report on the Friday and Mark and Sue Cropper arrived with the Welcome packs although I was yet to be given the Programs, Geoff and Mark kindly dropped the Welcome packs off at the various camping units. Thankfully the programs arrived later on and I was able to take them round and ask if people wanted them, several however said they didn’t want them. I had been handing out leaflets to all as the road run for the Saturday would be to the Black Country Living Museum. Shortly after John white and Family arrived we shut down the gate and decided to mingle with friends.
Special thanks go to Daniel Rodd from Geoff for giving him a condenser for “35”
Saturday morning saw awful weather, with rain soaking my frozen feet, As so many had arrived during the night I spent the day trying to catch up with those that hadn’t paid camping fee’s this was easier said than done as several had gone on the road run to the Museum. That said I got to have a ride in Biggle’s Bond Bug, which was rather windy. In the afternoon, Simon kindly took me into Bromsgrove so I could get a new pair of trainers as mine were wet enough to offer free car washes! The disco and karaoke on the Saturday night was a great success although several older generations complained that it was far too noisy for the sensitive ears.
Sunday saw yet more rain but thus said it was a great feeling when we were able to watch Geoff drive 35 into the line up for the first time, as oppose to pushing him in. Rocker box racers went down a treat although rather disappointingly the remote control regal racing did not go down to well with only 20 people having a go. I don’t have the exact numbers of Reliants that turned up although I know for sure there were more than 50 Reliant’s. As this is the 50TH anniversary of the Rialto these were lined up along the front. And all other cars were filed in around. There were 3 Girder fork Reliants as well as an Ant so it was decided to have a commercial ally, which went down the side of the other line up at a slight angle.
The Line up for the commercial consisted of “35”, Old Red, Wilfred’s Regent, Snoopy and The ant And a Giant. All other cars were placed in neat lines behind the Rialto’s.
The late afternoon saw a closure to the day’s activities and the awards were given out.
It escapes my mind as to who won which award exactly and so I will just mention the few I can remember.
Oldest Reliant: 1935 Reliant owned by Geoff Payne – Birmingham Branch
Restoration: 1935 Reliant owned by Geoff Payne – Birmingham Branch
Rescued: 1973 Reliant Rebel Saloon owned by Simon Hodges – Surrey Branch
Modified Reliant: 1980 something?? Kitten Estate owned by Michael Rowley – Birmingham Branch
Best Regent: 1935 Reliant owned by Geoff Payne - Birmingham Branch
Best Rebel: 1968 Rebel Saloon owned by Adam Turpin – Nottingham Branch
Best Regal: 1973 Regal Saloon by Melvin Turpin - Nottingham Branch
Best Bug: 1970 Bug owned by Ron Biggins National Branch
And some game winners were:
National Rally Raffle: Steve White – Nottingham Branch
Rocker Box Racer Adult: Mick Rowley who was then beaten by his daughter Meg who won the Child’s Rocker racers class - Birmingham branch
Regal Racer: Kerry Croxton – Telford Branch
Once the awards were given out we popped to the local harvester for some much needed sustenance and it was yummy too. When we arrived back on site the obligatory game of bingo was on and I could feel myself falling asleep. But soon enough this was over only to be replaced by an Elvis impersonator, although not my cup of tea, many people enjoyed his renditions but I headed back out into the rain for the evening and sat with friends until the early hours of Monday morning.
Typical of the English weather it was glorious sunshine on the Monday, still it allowed for the tents to dry at least. Geoff left around 10 to return Old Red to the Black Country Living Museum. When he returned around lunch most people had left and several were already home before we had finished packing everything away. We were the last to leave the site except for a few Chard Branch members who were taking advantage of the double bank holiday and staying until the Tuesday.
All in all a fantastic Rally that could have only been improved with nicer weather! Thank you to everyone that came along to the rally and an extra thanks to the people who helped organize the Rally!