The M.G. Car Club 'Y' Register
Spring Run 2002 - Sunday 14 April 2002
by Neil Cairns. Photographs by Ken Jones and Paul Barrow
This year's event started, and finished, at Broughton Castle near Banbury, Oxfordshire. The location was ideal for the event, and the Register were the guests of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele. The participants were not to be let down by the excellent organisation of Jerry Birkbeck and his good friend Richard Dick. The run was laid out in a Roadbook issued to every driver, in the Tulip Rally fashion now familiar to those who had been on previous runs. An introduction on the first page explained everything, including the run, the tour of the castle, the judging system, and advised on timing so one could be ready for each item in the programme. Upon arrival, the tea-rooms had been opened, and though the weather was dry and fine, it also carried a north wind with a cold bite. The castle normally opens in May, but we had been invited especially and there were no other members of the public other than ourselves. The house and grounds are in a superb state of preservation, the red Northamptonshire stone appearing to have withstood 700 years of weathering well. The 15th Century Regency home is popular with film and television period dramas, and the café walls were full of still scenes from many famous films. The house has been in the same family for the 700 years since it was built. (Enquiries can be made on 01295 722547.)
The first part of the day was meeting friends old and new. The whole affair is very sober, but none too serious. Thirty four 'Y's were entered for the day, of which twenty eight arrived on Sunday. There were three who did not make it. One boiled over on route and went back home, another, that of Keith Herkes KAX872, was going really well until it arrived on the A5 en-route to the castle. The little M.G saloon then took umbrage and blew up its distributor. An advance & retard weight inside had taken its chance for freedom, and wrecked the unit. After 50 years of being spun around it had obviously had enough! Keith took the car back home, but then he and his lady wife arrived a little later in a spanking MGC. I never did find out what had happened to the third 'Y'.
There were a number of cars which were attending this event for the first time. The oldest 'Y' present was of Slater Reynolds, chassis Y/0330, the 79th off the production line, registration GL 9899. GGD 880 'YA' of Bruce Wrye sporting a maroon and cream two-tone colour scheme also had its first visit. Roger Webb arrived in 'YB' CVV 57, the car's very first outing after its restoration. He had a few teething problems, but we all suffer those. A good long run is the place to find and sort them out. The other 'first-timers' seemed to take the whole day out in their stride.
By about 11:30am, the Run itself was to begin. Here, cars set off at any time and in any order they liked, but it was a chance to see how ones own car performed against other identical models. In no way does anyone race, the car is just not of that type, but hill climbing and acceleration times soon show up the less powerful, or less experienced driver. Double-de-clutching, puffs of blue smoke from exhaust pipes from worn inlet valve guides, clouds of dust at sharp corners, YA's leaning over where YB's sit more level (with their anti-roll-bars,) and cloth flat caps worn at tilted angles were the order of the day. The run included some very narrow lanes, quite stiff hills to both climb and descend, lots of pretty villages and hamlets bursting with spring flowers, and about 48 miles to cover. At the village of Halford it was amusing to see a long line of 'Y' Types lining up to be refuelled at the tiny village service station. The Tulip rally layout of the Roadbook made navigating easy for some, but no doubt a few odometers read well over the 48 miles up arrival back at the castle for lunch. Mine certainly did where junctions had been missed. Some had lunches on-route at pubs and hotels, other had a picnic on the well mown green grass of the castle park.
The afternoon after the run included the judging of the cars. There were two prizes, one for the 'YA' and 'YT's as a group, with the NTG CUP. The 'YB's had their own cup, the 'BILL ATKINSON CUP' to be presented by his wife Lesley. Sadly, Bill passed on earlier this year, andhad been an active member of the Register Committee for many years. His charm, big smile and wit will be missed. This year the YA-YT's were self judged, but the best YB chosen by Lesley Atkinson. (In future years the YB's cup will be on a self-judge basis). Beginning about 3pm in groups of 25, we were taken round the castle by our hosts. The 'high'-light was the visit to the roof, where photo's of the whole assemblage of cars could be taken by keen enthusiastic amateurs such as myself. After the 30 minute guided walk about the rooms of the house, we were led to the shop and the café, opened especially for us. Hot cups of tea and coffee were the order of the day, along with large slices of fruit cake.
Finally, everyone assembled inside the coral of M.G. saloon cars and a few extra guest M.G's. The prizes were presented by Lord Saye and Sele in a humourous atmosphere. He was then given a cup for himself by the Committee, - a M'G 'Y' Type mug of course! The winner of the NTG Cup for 2002 was the immaculate 'YA' UMG 366 owned by Tim Griggs from London. Then Lesley presented the Bill Atkinson Cup to the owner of 'YB' UFC 280, Alan Pratt from Nuneaton. Special mention must be made of the three 'YT's that attended. This very rare model of the M.G. One and a Quarter Litre sports saloon is not a common sight. JSL 414 of Andrew and Arlene Coulson; VSL 218 of Peter Veilvoye; and KXB 360 of Dave and Christine Ivins are the three concerned. Andrew and Arlene's red YT comes to the UK after 50 years in South Africa, and is possibly the oldest YT on the UK roads. Peter's cream YT was restored in Australia and re-imported to the UK last year. Dave and Christine's yellow YT took to the road again in 1999 after a four year rebuild.
By 5pm the entrants began to make their various and varied ways home. Some had travelled long distances to attend, not least our own Dennis Doubtfire from sunny Devon, in 'YB' YMB 125. The rich and famous also attend our humble meetings, as the grey 'YB' DFB 777 was driven by one Brian Cox, associated editor of that pillar of the classic car world, Practical Classics Magazine. The long distance prize, had there been one, would have gone to the 'YB' of Alan Chick, HKG 16 from Penarth, Glamorgan.
And so ended another very successful day out for the "Morris Eight Series 'E' GTI Register". (The 'Y' Type uses the body tub of this hum-drum little Morris saloon.) See you all again next year, and well done the Committee!!
To enlarge the pictures, double click on them.