President’s Prattle for June 2016

President's Prattle

Hi everyone,

I do hope you all survived the recent rather rough weather in tact, and that no garages were flooded or cars wrecked by the inclement weather.

Mrs R and I are just back from three weeks in the UK, where we took the good weather! Sorry about that, but it did mean we had three weeks of almost uninterrupted sunshine. Selfish, I know, but it meant we were able to have a lot of fun, much of it in the car.

Picking Up Petrol

The highlight of which was catching up with the Simply Sports Cars Monaco trip in Henley on Thames for lunch, prior to a spirited Sunday drive through the English countryside to Norwich. Obviously petrol was going to be required for the fleet of cars borrowed from the Henley Lotus dealer…

The following day we were given the opportunity to drive the Zenos range of lightweight sportscars in their home territory at Snetterton.

Driving at Snetterton

I hadn’t driven Snetterton for twenty-plus years, and they’ve added a great little set of in-field wrinkles, which perfectly suit a light, nimble car such as this. So a fun day was had by all, and the sun shone too (didn’t stop some of us buying beanies tho, coz the Aussie blood’s still a bit thin for England in the Spring.)

Oh, and Dave Mackie had a burger for lunch 🙂

That night we had a brilliant dinner at the Bird in Hand, with Bob Dance, Martin Donnelly and Richard Parramint providing the entertainment and education by turns – a memorable and wonderful eveining which I will not forget for a long time (nor will Caroline, as she couldn’t understand a word Martin said, so kept asking for translations :))

The following morning everyone pitched up at Hethel, and the tour members got to have a hoot in a the current range of cars around the Hethel track.

Lotus Eleven Gear Linkage

C and I headed off to catch up with Bob at Classic Team Lotus, as we had been discussing the gear linkage he built for Clive’s yellow Eleven, and I wanted to get a photo. Turns out he has an extra dashboard switch I don’t have yet, so that’s something else for the shopping list!

Motor Museum

That was all the car interest for a few days, until we drove back up from Cornwall by taking the scenic route (across Dartmoor) and as we dropped into Mortonhamstead on the eastern side of the moor, we found the above.

Motor Museum Lotus Cortina

So of course we had to stop and have a look, and there was a low-mileage Lotus Cortina hidden away in the corner. There was also a bunch of eclectic and unusual cars there – a 1929 Bentley 3.5L, various microcars, several vintage motorcycles, and a tidy Jag XK150 – well worth a visit if you happen to be passing through Mortonhamstead!

Later that afternoon, we popped in to see Eddie Hopkins at Riverside Restorations as I needed to do a few measurements and checks for the Eleven, and lo and behold, Eddie has found a long-lost Mark 6, still with most of the original paint. When he found it six months ago it was literally a box of bits, but it was complete, and went together relatively easily. All he needed to do was replace the tyres, battery and flush the engine, and she was ready for presentation at the Castle Coombe Classic (which we missed unfortunately).

Mark 1 Lotus Eleven Dash

While there I managed to get a photo of an original series 1 Eleven dashboard so I can make sure I get mine properly sorted out! It’s lying across the roof of his almost complete Elite, and the Mark 1 Seven in the background is about to go back to Reunion in the Indian Ocean, from where it was shipped for repairs.

So, there you have the motoring fun elements of my three weeks away – all the rest was much more family-orientated, but still in the sunshine I am pleased to report, so Caroline now believes me when I say it can be lovely in the UK.

Other than that, if you are reading this before the Queen’s birthday weekend, you must come along to Sydney Motorsport Park where we are celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Lotus Eleven and Simply Sports Cars are kindly bringing the new Evora 400 along for viewing, along with a few other cars. Some members have kindly offered to bring their cars too, so we will have a proper Club display for you to enjoy, as well as a superb historic racing calendar all day Saturday and Sunday. I look forward to catching up with you there!

Elsewhere in the motoring world, there is lots of progress being made in renewable-energy-powered cars; Norway has recently announced that it aims to have eliminated fossil-fuel-powered vehicles by 2035, which seems a little ambitious. And of course Tesla has just launched its market-entry model (which I can’t say I like the look of but I have to admire the engineering that has gone into it).

Evo continues to go from strength to strength, and probably remains one of the few magazines which justifies remaining in print (as opposed to being electronic). Top Gear has recently re-launched to, shall we say, mixed reviews, and the old team are on Amazon (so no-one can watch them!)

In parting, I must say both thank you and congratulations to Lee and the team at Simply Sports Cars – thank you for inviting Caroline and I along for the ride on the first days of the Monaco tour, and congratulations again for being appointed as the Australian importer for Lotus Cars – great news all round.

I’m sure I have missed a load of stuff out, but in my haste to get this to Tom and Seth, please forgive me that!

I look forward to seeing lots of you out and about in the glorious weather we brought back from Europe (you can thank me later), and in the meantime, keep safe, upright and on the blackstuff,

Pip pip,
Ashton

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