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Standard International Rally 2016 – Norton Park Hotel, Hampshire
Carol and Gerald Lobb joined us on the Thursday evening with their Standard Pick Up for a fish and chip supper and a spot of B&B before we all left at 9am Friday for the 2016 rally.
Travelling on the back roads we had a problem free journey into Hampshire and only one shower of rain on the whole journey, which shorted our lunch stop and probably contributed to our arriving when we did.
We hadn’t booked for the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery visit as we didn’t want to put ourselves under pressure travelling up from Devon in our 1947 4/8a and Gerald’s 1955 Pick Up but we were delighted to arrive at the Distillery site in time to join one of the group tours of these very interesting historical buildings, now being utilised by the Brewery. The tour included a talk on the history of the site and the distillery and chance to smell the ingredients used, which later determined your complimentary tipple. Whilst some enjoyed their gin cocktails a few of us took away a complimentary G&T to enjoy later and opted instead for a delicious soft drink. A short road run took us back to our hotel for the weekend.
Saturday’s road run and visit to the Hawk Conservancy was a real delight and we all agreed we hadn’t seen such a well put together flying display before, from the staging to the sheer variety of birds, it was truly excellent and well worth the visit. The rain did come in at the end of the display but it did not spoil the show and it was certainly worth staying to the end. After a lovely lunch at the Hawk Inn, conveniently near the Conservancy, we set off in torrential downpours, for the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke, with Steve Smeltzer in his lovely Phase 1 and navigators Val and Bob Richardson riding shotgun. We all spent a very enjoyable afternoon looking at the lovely displays of historic vehicles and memorabilia.
Saturday evening was the Gala dinner in the hotel. A chance to make new friends and catch up with old one’s in our own exclusive dining area. Not a stuffy affair but informal and friendly, with a light hearted slide show to end the evening.
Sunday was rally day and fortunately for us all the sun decided to make a visit. There was a lovely display of cars on the field opposite the hotel, the sun shone and everyone seemed to be enjoying the day. Chris and Gerald even managed to travel a few feet from their own cars (!) and visit others on the show field, but Carol and I noticed they did spend most of the time deep in conversation, peering under bonnets with other enthusiastic owners or just standing around catching up with old friends. We were very pleased to come home with a third place in our category, which is amazing as the restoration of our 4/8a was now over thirteen years ago and our dear little reliable car is in constant use.
Thank you to Darrell, Josephine and everyone who helped organise a very pleasant weekend.
If you haven’t attended a National Rally, give it a try, we recommend it, good company, nice food, somewhere different to explore and a chance to meet fellow enthusiasts of the Standard Marque. If you think your car won’t make it, well ours did, 380 miles in a 4/8a!
Chis (aka Chris) & Linda Bowden