Drive it Day 2016 – an organisers view


You always start at the finish, because for many of us a toilet at the end of a run is essential. I chose an Elizabethan Manor house, with 2 cafes, a restaurant, a shopping complex, with a beautiful setting for our picnic by the lake. Originally I had thought we could explore the many attractive villages, sited on the Lincoln Edge, a limestone cliff, cut by glacial action and river erosion over millennia. However, a test run soon established that the main road, atop the cliff and linking access to these villages would, even on a Sunday, create a problem for our 80 years old cars as they left and rejoined it.

A route was therefore chosen to use only the southern end of the cliff, where the villages had links below the main road and ran onto white roads for most of the run. Some of these roads had changed little since the 30’s with grass down the centre and pot holes you could bury an Austin 7 in and apart from flocks of cyclists in Lycra and the occasional horse and rider, were little trafficked.  An interesting run was planned starting from our regular watering hole, with a detailed route card and notes on points of interest on the way and which we tested  three times, before submitting to the traffic police for approval and permission was duly granted. The ATDC organise Drive it Day to include the PWA7 Lincs Group members, as our contribution to their extensive Annual Events programme, to which, ATDC members are cordially invited.

All was going swimmingly until weather forecasts throughout the preceding week predicted “Arctic” conditions with gales and wintery showers, for Sunday 24th, not a good omen, but at least it may deter the Lycra brigade.  Come the day therefore, it was a surprise to find 8 Austin 10’s, 6 Austin 7’s, an Austin Big 7 a 1930’s Sunbeam Dawn, a Minor 1000 saloon and a Morgan +2 ready for the 37 mile run on a sunny, but cold morning with only 1 no show.

We went direct to the finish to set up the site, using ‘Cyril’, Brenda’s 10/4 on its maiden trip after an extensive engine and rear axle rebuild. We proudly flew the Club Pennant to be the focal point for those finishing the run and were soon joined by a Litchfield and an 18hp Windsor, neither of whom had done the run but wanted to join in. First to arrive was Sue and Peter in ‘Clarice’  their Clifton  with the top down and ‘Reggie the Rally dog’ sat between driver and navigator keeping them warm, soon after was  Brian and Barbara in their 10/4 saloon with Twig the collie doing the same job from the rear seat but with the sun roof firmly closed.   The rest of the field arrived safely having enjoyed their run, always a relief for the organiser and even the Morgan managed to keep up.  An impressive line up of 20 cars by the lake provided a good photo opportunity, before the hardy stalwarts settled down in a cold Northerly wind to have their picnic, we are British after all!   So earlier than usual, because of the cold, the group started to drift away, just as another club with 200 classic cars were arriving for their event.

My thanks go to all who supported us on the day and to Doddington Hall for providing a superb venue.  Also thanks to Terry and Ellen who remembered to bring a windbreak for us to shelter behind, for vetting the route earlier and acting as sweeper on the day, but most of all, thanks to Brenda for testing the route 3 times with me, for allowing ‘Cyril’ to be used and for managing to chat to everyone who took part. Over to you Steve and Christine for next year!


Part of the line up

Tony Johnson