Event Review

Click here to add your MG News.

The South Downs Run by Chris Nevard
Filling up
The four Spridgets take over
Selmeston Filling Station
As I'm sure you all know, the South Downs Run is a 100 mile tour following the downs and the ups from wax jacket Petersfield to the elderly faded elegance of Eastbourne's Esplanade.

This well patronised event is hosted by the West Sussex MG Owner's Club. Now in its eighth year, 1997 was to be no exception with over 350 assorted MG's representing over 60 years of the Abingdon marque. The eldest being James Mumford's delightful 1931 M right through to the sleek lines of the MGF (OK, the MGF isn't a product of Abingdon - but you know what I mean). Whilst the range of MG's was great the large majority were MGB's & GT's.

The monopoly of bees was crying out to be interrupted. Four exclusive, desirable, stunning, Spridgets of the Surrey Area M&SC with their equally exclusive, desirable, stunning, owners: Diana & Mark Foreman, Chris & David Wright, Ali & Geoffrey Stallard and yours truly met at the central car park in Petersfield. After three quarters of an hour counting bees coming and going we thought it best to depart on the great expedition over the Sussex Alps

The Wrights lead the pack with their tartan red 69 Sprite -Red Leader. The rest of us followed close behind eager not to get lost. Not that this would really be a problem, with 350 cars all going the same way there would be little chance of anybody ending up in Cornwall accidentally.

The route explored some quite beautiful countryside. Scenes of Merry England were found - just like the ones portrayed in those early post war picture books depicting new found peace and prosperity. The only give-away now is that the newly cut hay is wrapped up by machinery which vacuum packs it into giant black bin liners. Picture Post would have shown ornate hand-crafted domes of hay created by a plentiful work force supping cider out of a shared pot.

Car Park
Petersfield Car Park 0915
The strange thing about such a run is that you get used to the sight of MG's everywhere. One begins to think that the world is an innocent place, void of hunger, violence and greed. A wrong turn puts ones feet firmly back on the ground. The latter half of the twentieth century resides within only a few yards of the planned route. The smiling and waving stops, sour angst ridden faces peer straight ahead from behind tinted windscreens. You now have to wait at junctions for an age before someone lets you out. The double glazing salesman who sits on your tail in his Dagenham dustbin. The weekend pursuits of yet another superstore in mind produces a driver that will pull out right in front of you - your braking goes unnoticed by this idle philistine. To them interest free credit on that pink velour three piece suite is the only thing that matters.
After the obligatory loo stop we soon find ourselves on the stretch of road that runs along the top of the cliffs near Beachy Head. This stretch was the highlight of the route for many, the open expanse of countryside is matched by few other places on the south coast. At this point an official photographer took pictures of every participant. Posters in advance of this warned us to keep our distance from the car in front to aid the picture taking.

Three hours after leaving Petersfield, a final somewhat hair raising decent took us down a back route into Eastbourne. Upon arrival we were greeted by marshals who directed us to our various pre-determined parking spots, arranged by age of car and type. We located each other, surveyed the favourable scene and decided to go on the hunt for fish n chips. Suitably replenished we returned to the event to watch some big band jazz and have a look at the stunning cars. David Wright unexpectedly won a bottle of Vintage Cava in the prize draw. Rumour has it, he will be bringing the bottle along to the next Walton-on-the Hill natter for us all to enjoy - only joking David!

All too soon it was time to head back to the homely counties in convoy. The little group of fruity coloured Spridgets (.......oooeeeerrrr guys, should we try for Maynards sponsorship next year - sort of Team Juicy Fruit?) made a spirited cross country return to their various homes in no time.

If you haven't done the South Downs Run before I can thoroughly recommend it. The West Sussex MG Owner's Club are a very friendly bunch and made us feel very welcome at Petersfield and Eastbourne. The round trip did mean the best part of six hours behind the wheel - but that's what MG motoring is all about.

Presentation time
Very fruity colours Spridgets the previous day at the Capel Car Show

Copyright: Chris Nevard 1997 nevardc@sky4.bskyb.com

Back to the News content

[Copyright/Credits] [Home] [Information] [Feedback]
Made in England