We had a great
time, and managed to combine Tut Towers (TT) with the
Lotus Pilgrimage, the MG Regency Run and various touring
too (we detoured to do the Snake Pass & found the
Dukes Pass in Scotland completely by accident :o)
3942 miles in total
& a few more from Me
28th April 2002
out from Munich to meet up with Bob in Holland. Bob
had agreed to be my co-driver for the trip and had
booked his 1950s MG Magnette into the London to Brighton
run which was planned for the weekend after TT.
through Holland to the catamaran did not bode well
- the weather was atrocious. This was the first time
that I had got to use the Lotus Yoko Advans tyres
in bad weather, and even at the slow speeds I was
traveling at following Bobs Magnette, they had a great
sense of security that I had always lacked when using
the original P0s.
in line at the ferry terminal was rather amusing -
unusually people were walking right past my car to
get a better look at Bobs car - one guy even took
a whole set of photos of it.
set sail from The Hook Of Holland in Gale force winds.
was a bit bumpy!
we had docked at Harwich it was straight into a traffic
jam to clear customs, and then off onto UK roads.
Switching between left and right hand driving always
takes a bit of concentration at first! The drive to
Suffolk didn't take too long and we arrived at Bobs
fathers house (where we were leaving the Magnette
for a week) quite quickly. Bobs Magnette bounced over
the small single track road that lead to his fathers
house, my Elise had to wind its way carefully along
avoiding the potholes to prevent the car grounding!
of rest & route planning!
- The Snake Pass to Manchester
North in the Elise, Bob wanted to meet up with an
old friend near Wigan that he hadn't seen for many
years. Of course this meant that we had to make a
detour to take a look at the infamous Snake Pass :o)
forecast was for it to be clear in the south, showers
in the North - typical! Fortunately, this was incorrect,
and although the sky looked threatening, it remained
dry. The Snake Pass road (A57) incorporated some wonderful
scenery, and then a great twisty bit of road that
was mostly deserted until we got to the end - wonderful!
really does have it all, fast open straights, tight
moorland bends, wooded sections and a great view of
the Ladybower reservoir (where the famous Dam busting
bouncing bomb was tested). We (eventually) met up
with Bobs friend at the hotel and proceeded to get
- The Northumberland coast to
hung over, we decided to head back across country
to the Northumberland coast. We headed for Amble and
stopped to get some info from the tourist office.
I wanted to find out about the tides so that we could
drive across the causeway & visit Holy Island
(Lindisfarne). The woman in the office was extremely
friendly and helpful, after finding out that we were
on the way to a big Lotus event, she pointed us in
the direction of the Jim
Clark Room in Duns - something that was very much
worth a visit. Well done that woman!
off up the coast again, taking in Bamburgh castle
and out to Lindisfarne (click
here). Great scenery and empty roads again. We
eventually arrived in Berwick to find the hotel that
the nice lady in Amble had booked for us. A wonderful
hotel and excellent food & wine (hangover again).
a breakfast eater, and despite a hangover, I succumbed
to the full breakfast. And boy was this a full breakfast!
Sausage, bacon, egg, mushrooms, black pudding &
haggis! Yum! Yum!
to Duns to visit the Jim Clark room, finding some
lovely driving roads on the way. Then we headed upto
Edingburgh to dump out baggage at the hotel and head
on for the track evening at Knockhill. In the car
park was an S2 135 Elise, someone that wasn't part
of the planned weekend, but was interested to hear
that 60 Elises would shortly be arriving!
around for a bit to see if anyone else was gonna show
up, but soon got bored & decided to go and find
our own way to Knockhill and do some exploring. As
soon as we got into the car IainF arrived, so we decided
to hang on for a bit longer to see who else turned
up. Shortly after Nick Adams and Andy Shepherd arrived
- so after they had unloaded their cars we decided
to push on for Knockhill. 50 metres around the corner
and a whole flock of Elises arrived - the Newcastle
contingent, including Kyle (no doubt that they found
him sauntering along the Geordie roads somewhere :o)
we waited for Tut to arrive so that we could present
him with some Dutch driving shoes. This didn't seem
to slow him down any though.
was my first track day (I don't think the Nurburgring
counts, that's a whole different experience!). I listened
to the briefing in a state of apprehension, trying
to remember all the rules. I needn't of worried of
course, the event was well organised and the track
was a pleasure. Bob passengered with me, and then
I let him go off on his own. Driving my car on track
was exhilarating - someone else driving my car was
just too nerve wracking!
to cadge a passenger lap with Robin though - and he
showed me how it should be done! Managed to drag Bob
away from my car to get a few more laps in after that.
was all over far too quickly!
headed back to Edingburgh to the hotel for the evening
meal. We ended up in the bar until 4am (another hangover
- do you see a trend developing?).
Pic from Skyenet
Pic from Skyenet
- TT Day 1
decided not to get stuck in with the hoi paloi on
the long Scottish routes & had arranged to meet
up with Robin & Campbell to do the "tourist
route". The roads were great, the scenery terrific,
and the pace just about right for me in my hungover
state. Bob was driving & he was obviously enjoying
himself too. We stopped off a little tea room stuck
high up on a mountainside somewhere. A lovely place,
but the service was s-l-o-w!
we had eventually been fed & watered, we set
off again for the final leg to Tut Towers, where
we were the first to arrive - welcomed at the gate
(Mrs Tut) was quick to introduce herself & force
me to drink sangria (very nice it was too). Shortly
afterwards the next group of Elises started to arrive,
then more, then more....
drinks later, a queue for the spit roast pig formed.
It was certainly worth the wait! After stuffing
myself on pork and a tonne of salad, I had no room
left for the enormous amount of yummy looking cake
that arrived later :o(
the evening we wandered around the various groups.
The Scots seemed to have positioned themselves near
the food, whilst the Londoners had installed themselves
in the conservatory (not to mention the group that
spent hours in the jacuzzi - wow they musta been
about midnight, previous hangovers and all the travelling
having finally caught up with me.
- TT Day 2
we set off following someone that we assumed knew
where they were going. It was soon apparent that
they were not using the same directions as us -
and rather concerned that they could be heading
for John'O'Groats for all we knew, we decided to
make up our own route to the lunch stop at Braemar.
I have no idea of the route we took - we managed
to get stuck in the middle of a cycle race at one
point! Eventually we spotted some Elises on the
horizon - at what was clearly an accident site :o(
a helicopter arrive and pick up someone - we were
rather alarmed that it might be another Elise driver,
but when got to the site of the accident, we could
see that it was a motorbike accident. This dampened
our spirits a little, and we took things a little
more carefully from that point.
in Braemar for the lunch stop & to say goodbye
to the people that were heading back south. We teamed
up with the other hangers on to follow some more
great roads and then loop back up to Tut Towers,
where we were staying another night.
evening was the opportunity for a good chinwag with
Tut & Georgie (who also elected to stay another
night having had the traunatic experience of seeing
a fellow Elise in a head on crash right in front
of her the previous day!).
less alcohol was consumed (I did manage to steal
Bobs whisky though :o)
thanks to Tut for arranging the whole weekend, and
to Mrs Tut for putting up with us all!
we said our farewells to Tut & Mrs Tut, and
Thor gave us his usual frantic farewell routine.
Georgie, Bob & I sauntered down some dual carriageways,
attempting to avoid the speed cameras, on the way
to Crail airfield. The road from St Andrews to Crail
was the only real highlight of that drive. We arrived
just in time to steal some of Willies BBQ :o)
had arrived quite late, and we were booked in to
do a session with Andrew at Crail on the Wednesday
anyway, we decided not to join in the fun and said
our goodbyes & headed off to Edingburgh. I had
to get my glasses repaired - I had somehow managed
to bend them & was running out of disposable
contact lenses. Bob kindly offered to do all the
driving if I was unable to see - but I thought that
was far to generous of him!
- Dukes Pass
the map & decided that we would visit Loch Lomond.
We took a pretty much direct route, which turned
out to be fairly boring dual carriageways. At our
lunch stop by the lake I decided to take a more
scenic route back, consulting the map revealed a
rather interesting twisty bit of road which turned
out to be the Dukes Pass. This road demands concentration
- it is so narrow & twisty & sometimes as
you come over a crest you can't even see where the
road is going a few metres in front of you! Absolutely
came across a bagpiper entertaining two tourists
in the middle of nowhere!
that we headed back towards Crail via Sterling.
- Crail Airfield with 1stLotus
without a hangover!
down to breakfast to find Andrew already there. Shortly
after ordering our breakfasts Tut arrived - spare
place for the day had been too much for him to resist!
drove down to the airfield and Andrew soon put us
to work on the dieseled up skid pan area. My poor
car was soon covered in diesel - but controlling sideways
movements in slow motion like that was too much fun
to miss out on. A sorta Elise ballet.
about like that for a while Andrew picked on me to move
onto the next activity. Basically this involved driving
around and around in circles to find the gripping point
of the tyres and the optimum steering wheel angle, then
using the throttle to steer the car around ever widening
arcs. This again was great fun, but was rather spoiled
by the amount of gravel on the airfield surface. Being
an Elise owner, you soon get used to stone chips, but
this was rather daunting!
mastering the throttle exercise, it was off to do
a circuit of a mixture of a long sweeping bend, a
hairpin, and a mini chicane - with a few extra corners
thrown in for good measure. The combined noise from
the engine, the huge amounts of gravel hammering my
car to pieces, and Andrew shouting instructions was
concern for the worsening state of my car, I only did
a few laps. A problem with the suspension was developing
too. The suspension had sunk since it had been fitted,
although it was still at a reasonable height one of
the shocks was obviously defective. On sharp high speed
bends, the front wheel arch of the clam was impacting
on the tyre :o( I wasn't too keen on ripping my clam
apart, I decided to take it easy.
had finally finished playing around, Bob & I decided
to head down the West side of the UK this time, and
stop off at the Lake District. We turned off the M6
at Penrith and soon found a very nice Inn in Troutbeck.
- The Lake District
been to the Lake District a couple of times, but coming
into it from the north is definitely the best approach.
The hills just seem to open up before you. We had
some wonderful views as we headed down to our short
break in Ambleside. Then it was off to London to try
and get to Lakeside so they could have a look at my
suspension. They were as helpful as ever and pumped
up the front suspension a little to minimise the danger
of any further clam damage.
interesting conversations with Max, Art & Tim.
I even managed to acquire a signed copy of Arts new
Day Drivers Guide :o)
- Emeralds Rolling Road
Emeralds to see if there was any chance of them doing
a rolling road test on my car (we had rung a few weeks
previously to see if there was any possibility &
they had said to call when we were in the area). I
was interested to see what the power output was following
the few minor mods I had made (Moto-Concept stainless
steel exhaust, Hurricane air box, and the MG Trophy
160 throttle body). They were rather busy, but said
to come along anyway & they would see what they
could do. When we arrived Dave Walker was busy testing
a Belgium Elise that needed a full re-map. Dave &
the Belgium guy kindly agreed to let us have a few
minutes on the rolling road just to do a simple test
were pleasantly surprising :o)
at 6650 rpm, max 135 lbft at 4180 rpm, & the torque
curve has a nice flat line from about 4000 rpm (see
- The Lotus Pilgrimage
- but that didn't dampen our spirits.
near the shop were a series of S2s - all the possible
colour combinations and a set in unusual paint schemes.
The 49 (red & white with a gold stripe) combination
did not suit the S2 IMHO, and the Olde English White
car didn't do it for me either. The green cars were
the best by far, the Type 25 was actually quite nice
for an S2 ;o)
fortunate to be guided around the factory by Neil
Turner. The factory tour would have been interesting
enough even without the VVC engined S2s lurking along
the production line. Neil would not be drawn into
discussion about future models though.
that I paid my £25 and got a few passenger laps
around the Lotus test track (sideways around the steering
circle had me laughing out loud :o)
was back to the shop to make the obligatory purchase.
done to Mike Knowles for getting the whole
idea going, and thanks to all the staff at Lotus that
made it a great day. I hope this day will be repeated
next year, it must have been profitable - just about
everyone seemed to have purchased something from the
shop, and Lotus musta received a whole tonne of useful
it was time to leave this place of worship. So it
was back to Suffolk to swap cars ready for the MG
Regency run the next day.
from the Elise to the Magnette was quite a shock,
to say the least. Whereas the Elise rattles and thuds
over all the bumps, the Magnette sorta bounced - I
was soon feeling quite seasick! And where the Elise
grips well around the corners, I was frequently concerned
that the Magnette was not gonna make it all the way
around them! Being in a car without seatbelts was
also rather strange - especially when Bob took a sharp
corner rather fast & I nearly ended up on his
lap - hmmm, was that really an accident!?
- MG Regency Run, London to Brighton
number was pretty low - which meant an early start
at Brooklands to find a whole range of MGs arriving.
The MGFs and Z cars had lunchtime starts, so they
were only one or two of them around. It was soon apparent
that MGBs were ruling this day though!
managed to find Gilly & Richard with their beautiful
MGA, and then bumped into Dan, Lucy & Nathanial.
I'd missed Dans email confirming that he was going,
so it was quite a surprise to suddenly see him there,
even more of a surprise was that he wasn't there with
his MGA, but had a Magnette almost exactly the same
three cars managed to stick together in convoy for
the whole trip. We only got lost once, and that was
on such a lovely little road that it didn't matter
- especially as we looped back around to rejoin the
Brighton we surveyed the other cars and set off for
some fish & chips on the Prom :o)
lunch, Gilly & Richard headed off to do some shopping,
whilst the rest of us headed back to the MGs to search
out more friends and survey the cars that had completed
the run - that included a Ferrari (quote "my MG broke
down this morning, so I brought my other car") and
an MX5 (how the hell did that get an official entry!?).
into Kelvin Fagin who was wandering about with his
ever present camera, and then we found the unmistakable
Scarlet Fever. We couldn't find Patrick Beet - apparently
he'd stopped off in a pub somewhere (typical!)
lurking about a bit more (Patrick finally arrived
too), we said our farewells and headed back towards
London via Ditchling Beacon with Dan & Lucy.
routes can be found here
- Shopping :o)
now back off back to Suffolk via a spot of retail
therapy at the Lakeside Shopping Centre :o)
- Sailing Back
catamaran crossing in gale force winds.
- I polished my car!
the thrashing that my car has had lately, I thought
it deserved a bit of a treat. I have to admit that
this is the first time my 111S has *ever* been polished
- normally its lucky to get a wash and a chamois dry.
getting covered in diesel at Crail, whilst playing
on the skidpan, it got a quick wash with a brush -
resulting a load of scratches to the paintwork :o(
So I found
myself a Halfords and purchased a job lot of Auto
Glym products. I have to admit that I am truly amazed
at the results! You now have to wear sunglasses to
look at it (especially as Bob polished the petrol
cap with chrome cleaner too). All of my prized fly
collection and most of the scratches are now gone
- and I am confident that the remaining scratches
will polish out with a bit more elbow work.
for Auto Glym stuff.
the Floriade International Flower Festival near Haarlem.
( see their
to the top of "The Big Spotters Hill", the organisers
have laid on CyberCabs - elecrically powered automated
cabs ( see here
follow a wire which is embedded in the surface of
the road. The wire emmits a pulse which is 'followed'
by sensors installed on the vehicle. Magnets in the
road contain codings for the vehicle to slow down,
speed up, stop etc. In this way the vehicles are able
to find their way. This technology has been applied
in industrial environments for many years. The technology
at Floriade is supplied by Yamaha Motor Europe. 2getthere
is responsible for the delivery of the system and
part of the whole exhibition was a sorta beehive made
out of plasic tubing that was (almost) full of water
Inside this construction was a meditation room - water
in the tubing was pumped around to make a soft swooshing
noise. This insulated the inside from the noises going
on outside and created an ambience all of its own.
Very restful (especially after this frantic trip!).
More photos here
- Return to Munich
Roof off, sun all the way = one sunburnt neck!