We live in an era where there are fewer and fewer British cars to be proud of. But back in the 1950’s and 60’s this just wasn’t the case. The E Type Jaguar is still considered by many as the most beautiful car ever made. Carroll Shelby had to come over to this side of the pond to realise his dream of creating a powerful 2 seater sports car – the iconic AC Cobra.
Fashion, music, style, design, culture – we had it all back in the 60’s.
A large part of this halcyon period in our history is embodied in one car. The Mini. Virtually every car marque across the world had to stand up and take note of the Mini which changed motoring forever. The iconic 1960’s film The Italian Job featured a range of exiting and exotic cars such as the afore mentioned E-Type Jaguar and one of my favourites, the Lamborghini Miura. Yet, somehow three little Mini’s painted red, white and blue managed to steal the whole show. Ask anyone about which car features in the film and the first reply will always be, “The Mini.”
The Mini is part of our heritage, in fact it’s in the blood. I for one am proud of the wonderful British Mini and all that it has done for motoring. People of my generation can all fondly remember owning or travelling in an original Mini at some point. Over the years there have been many incarnations of the Mini; The Mini Traveller, Countryman, Mini Van, Mini Moke, Mini Pick-up, The Mini Clubman 1275GT, and of course you just can’t forget the life-changing Mini Cooper. Still to this day you’d be hard pushed to find a car that can travel faster around corners than the 50 year old Mini Cooper S.
So, with so much love for everything Mini (not just the skirts of the same name), what we should do is all get together up at Brands Hatch and celebrate this wonderful icon of British motoring with some kind of a festival. And that is precisely what is happening at Brands Hatch this very weekend. The Mini Festival on the 16th – 17th of June 2012 at Brands Hatch will become this weekend’s Mecca for all Mini owners. Yes, before you ask, it does also include the non-British BMW Mini versions too. It seems in recent years that any animosity between the classic and modern Mini’s has diminished enough that they’re now happy to play together and be friends.
Fans of the Original Mini will be spoilt for choice with the best Mini racing to be seen since The Italian Job showed the cars racing through Turin. The classic Mini Se7en Championship, now in it’s 45th year, will be showing that there’s some life in these old cars yet. The tuned Mini Miglia Championship will demonstrate what these cars are capable of if you tinker with them and a pre-1966 Mini race will provide fans with a nice moment of nostalgia.
Celebrity chef James Martin, a well-known car fan, will be taking part in two of the Mini races this weekend and will also be bringing his own Austin Mini Cooper works rally car with him and sharing a drive in Andy Harrisons 1963 Mini Cooper S. Scalextric are offering the chance to win a start up set, which includes two Mini’s, by guessing the lap time of the Team Scalextric driver. Mini owners will be able to show off their pride and joy in the ‘Show and Shine’ competition which has classes for both classic and new Mini’s.
There won’t be chance to get bored at the show as alongside the racing, competitions, show cars and clubs attending will be the Russ Swift Mini Stunt Show, an Air Display, the Trade Village and youngsters aged 11 – 17 can get their first taste of motoring by driving around the historic Brands Hatch Circuit in a new Mini.
There will be a rally demonstration, a unique soap box derby event, and of course a display of very special Mini’s. Families will be well catered for and the Fun Zone will have it’s own fun fair including a Formula One simulator. For those staying the weekend, live music will be provided in the evening by The Higher State, Groovy Uncle featuring Suzi Chunk and Maker. What could top all that? Well how about “Head Balancer” John Evans, as seen on Britain’s Got Talent, who will be balancing a Mini on his head!
All you need to do is head to Brands Hatch this weekend the 16th and 17th June where tickets will be available on the gate, although you can book these in advance by clicking here.
It may be a Mini Festival but it sounds like Maximum fun.
All images supllied from: www.mini-festival.co.uk