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The East Anglian Rally 2012

Peter Lockley's Doretti in front of the Webmaster's Flying 12 DHC

The East Anglian Rally is fast becoming one of the best attended holidays organised within the Club. To call it a Rally or a Roadrun is not accurate enough, when the reality is this was a 4 day event with roadruns and visits on three of the days. All centred around a hotel where members could relax and unwind in the evening over a meal and a pint of real ale.

And so  here is a report on the 2012 event, organised by Conan Lewis, which proved to be a great success.

The first cars to arrive at Stonehurst Farm

Friday morning: Mrs Webmaster and I loaded up the Flying 12 and set off for Melton Mowbray. The shortest route is across country but the A roads are twisty and slow so we decided on a quicker option. The A1 (M) is a faster road than the Standard likes but it is reasonably direct, taking us from St. Albans to Stamford (venue for last year's event) From there we struck out across Leicestershire, passing north of Rutland Water.

Arriving at Melton Mowbray we see others walking about in the town but carry on the small distance to our Hotel, the Sysonby Knoll. Soon we are renewing old acquaintances in the car park and later in the bar. That is followed by the first of many splendid dinners.

Then there is a demonstration. Melton  is the centre of "Pork Pie Land" and Conan has arranged a demonstration on how to make a pork pie from the assembled ingredients. After that, 10 of our party were selected to have a go themselves. The end results would be presented to the participants on Monday.


First Stop is to be  Stonehurst Farm and Motor Museum. On the route we encounter a flooded road. Your intrepid Webmaster pushes up a bow- wave as we attempt to paddle the Flying 12 through it. Soon there is steam emerging off the hot exhaust and the car starts to cough. Fortunately we can see the far "shore", so press on rather than turning back. Wading ashore, we test the brakes, only to find we have none!

Only one other car was foolish enough to follow us, that being Ian and Vera in the Vanguard II. Ian suffers water in the starter motor but both this and our brakes dry out sometime later. The others take a deviation and arrive unscathed.

David Groom's SLO in a period setting at Stonehurst Museum

Members test a Leicester Bus at the Abbey Pumping Station Museum 

Some of the cars join the display for a photo opportunity.

Next it is a short 2 mile ride to Quorn Station on the Great Central Railway. We find a super pub, actually the old railway hotel, for lunch before joining the others on the platform to watch the arrival and departure of the Steam Trains. Phil Hetherington is in his element here as he is restoring a goods wagon on the same line.

The convoy then moves on into the northern outskirts of Leicester, to the Abbey Pumping Station Museum, a good free museum this, into Leicester's history in general and Science and Technology in particular. We are also given a guided tour of their Transport collection, mostly Leicester buses and Trams.

The run back to Melton is followed by a short time for relaxation in preparation for the evening's exertions, I mean excursion Conan has arranged a guided tour of the Belvoir Brewery followed by dinner in the Brewery's restaurant. Fortunately, Conan has laid on Coach travel. The meal is lubricated by sampling a least six of the Brewery's real ales served on the tables in large jugs - a highlight of the weekend in most participant's view. Good job there is a coach outside to take us home.........

Robert Browett hrought his Herald Coupé to join the line-up at the Pumping Station


Sunday's events are spread across two venues. First it's to Belton House, a large National Trust Property. The cars are arranged in a long line midway between the entrance and the house so in full view of all the Bank Holiday visitors. Plenty of opportunities to put the general public right when asked what models were are driving, even though we have raised the "Standard" banner to tell them all. Everyone agrees that the Understairs" tour is the best. Later we move on to Woolsthorpe Manor,  a smaller NT property, and former home if Sir Issac Newton. The cars are all parked in their stable yard. We all tour the farm and pose for photos near the actual apple tree that dropped it's fruit onto Newton.

Again the weather has been kind to us today and we retire to the Sysonby Knoll for evening dinner. We were then entertained by the team of Stuart and Zena Lucas with a quiz and other frivolity late into the evening

Great line-up of Standards greet the public at Belton House

In the yard at Woolsthorpe Manor

Bank Holiday Monday;

More visits are planned. First this time to Launde Abbey,  a rural pastoral retreat where we are given coffee and a tour of the house. Then, under threatening skys, we set off towards our final stop, Foxton Locks where there is a waterside canal museum and a choice of venues for lunch. By this time the heavens have opened and  Mr and Mrs Webmaster had got thoroughly soaked. We refuse to drive a Drophead Coupé woth the roof up, so it's our fault.

Everyone says their goodbyes here and sets of in all directions for their homes. All our thanks go to Conan for his expert organisation and to our fellow participants for their company and good humour. We didn't see a single Standard broken down over the whole weekend a testament to the car's reliability and the members excellent maintenance skills.

Here's one member's bouquet:

"Did we have a lovely weekend – oh yes!

We have for many years had Ian Leggett as our tour guide and what fun he gave us.

Well now that Conan Lewis has been persuaded to take over, he has given us a very good time as well. He tried to tell us it was not all his efforts, but he was the leader and the fact that he delegated some of the tasks shows he knows how to lead.

The accommodation and food was very good, together with such a friendly group of "old car nuts" you could not find better.

Now, I don’t know who organised the entertainment for Sunday evening, but who should turn up but a clown in the form of Stuart Lucas and his beautiful assistant, Zena. He asked us all very difficult questions, In a very fun way, I think I helped my team with three answers!!, however, we did win a small box of Maltesers, but so did all the other losing teams, I am still trying to crack the system.

Great fun – I look forward to the next one.

John Russell"

Conan is already, no doubt, planning next year's event. You might like to note that  it will take him a full 12 months to research the venues and plan the road runs. You could benefit from all his planning and join in with like-minded weekend of motoring. Partners and families are welcome, in fact we insist you do NOT leave them at home. If you would like to be part of the fun next year, please contact Conan Lewis.

Report by Phil Homer

July  2012