“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it.”
Amazing. As we sat down at our February Corinium Run committee meeting we couldn’t believe we’d got it so right. The fact that the 65 places for our 14th Corinium Run had filled within three days was astonishing. We knew our event was going to be good – we didn’t realise everyone thought like us though!
When entries opened on the 1st February, plans for the 2017 run were already well underway. Once entries had finally closed at the end of the week, we could then start to confirm the route and halts for this year’s run. Sadly, some of our regular entrants were unable to get an entry this year, owing to the full capacity. Every year as a committee, we sit down and decide the total number of cars we, as a small group of unpaid volunteers, can manage over a 120-mile route. 65 is what we decided on, as finding suitable refreshment stops that can accommodate at least 130 people over a short period, is not easy, nor cheap, to a small club such as ours. Now therefore, as soon as the places are filled, we stop accepting entries.
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The morning of the 23rd April dawned chilly but dry, as we started setting out the car park in preparation for the first cars arriving. Precisely on cue at 8:15am, the first crews started to arrive and park neatly in the car park. This year’s entry list combined a number of regular faces, with many new names and machines and consequently, the entry list reflected a huge variety of cars ranging from a 1932 Morgan to a 2016 Ford.
Sadly of the 65 cars entered, there were two non-starters this year, including our regular supporters Howard Dent and motorsport-legend Stuart Turner, after Howard’s 1937 Chrysler Coupe had experienced mechanical problems earlier in the week.
After the formalities of signing on and the consumption of breakfast rolls had been completed, the seven travelling marshals got formalities under way after being flagged away by Bunny Lees-Smith; one of CCC’s “veteran” members.
Having been given the task of managing the coffee halt at the Classic Motor Hub in Ablignton; I had told fellow TM’s David Marshall and Geoff Elliot, who had kindly agreed to help us, to follow us as “I knew the way”. Thankfully upon leaving Cirencester, they didn’t, as by lack of concentration, I managed to end up in Cirencester town centre – a embarrassing start to the day.
Thankfully, all seven TM’s arrived at the Hub in time for the first car’s arrival at around 10:15am. After setting up the checkpoint outside the hub’s delightful period marquee, we wasted no time in sampling the excellent coffee and homemade cake.
The Hub, which specialises in the selling of many rare and desirable classic motors, had opened their two large units for visitors to explore… though alas, my chequebook wouldn’t allow the purchase of the Aston Martin DB5 on display.
As we enjoyed our coffee break in the sunshine, crews were undertaking the 16.6 mile trip from the Corinium Stadium. Leaving Cirencester, the route travelled through delightful Cotswold villages such as Baunton, Coln Rogers and Coln St Dennis before reaching the Hub. During this stretch our photographer Bryn was on hand to catch the first photographs of the morning; just after DSO Geoff Tebby and granddaughter Emily had paused cars at their check point in order to tell them to smile for the camera. (For some reason, he told us to reverse round instead!)
Back at the Hub, things were getting a little busy for us four marshals owing to the fact it was National ‘Drive it Day’ . As a result we had many classics entering the car park that were not on our event. Nonetheless, we assisted them with usual CCC professionalism.
Just before 11am, the first cars left the Hub en route to the lunch halt at the internationally recognised Batsford Arboretum. This section of 33.2 miles would navigate crews north, bypassing Bouton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold.Traveling via Hampnett, Cold Aston, Lower and Upper Slaughter, Naunton and Condicote. Many chocolate box cottages looked superb in the warm sunshine, enabling crews to travels with their roofs down for the rest of the day.
Parking on the grass adjacent to the car park at Batsford, many decided to picnic outside, so warm was the weather. For those more accustomed to formal dining, there was also the option of visiting the centre’s popular restaurant, with many ladies choosing to browse through the garden centre during the leisurely lunch break, despite many ‘other half’s’ concerned looks…
Following lunch, the drawings in the road book directed crews to the gated private road, rarely used at Batsford, which Martin and team had worked hard to gain permission to use for this year’s event. Here TM2 Peter Gladstone was in charge of operating the coded gate, with risk of repetitive strain from keying in the same digit code, he seemed to have recovered well come the afternoon tea stop.
This penultimate section at 38.3 miles would be the longest section for crews, prior to the afternoon tea halt at Bourton-on-the-Water. Bypassing the busy centre of Moreton-in-Marsh and the A429, the route traveled via Ashton Magna Todenham, and Burmington bringing crews to the second photo halt of the day at Traitor’s Ford at Sutton-under-Brailes. The description in the road book explained this was used by the Royalist armies and Cromwell in days gone by, thankfully there were no battles today to compete with over-enthusiastic driving and car electrics.
Approaching the ford steadily, my navigating advice to ‘floor it’ once round the bend, was to no avail, owing to photographer Bryn changing his camera’s memory card at the precise moment we took to the water. A short reverse and re-attempt seemed to please the few locals watching nearby.
Shortly after, the route took crews through Weston Park. Nearing the top, we saw the Triumph TR7 of Alistair Caie, having stopped following a fuel pump failure. Whilst recovery was expected in around an hour’s time, Alistair’s daughter and navigator Jennifer needed to return to the stadium to collect her car to return home to London that evening. With the recovery crew refusing to do two drop off’s for both Alistair and Jennifer; we offered the back seat of the Moggy as recovery for Jennifer.
Continuing on through Kingham, Bledington, Foscot, Bould, Idbury and Little Rissington; we arrived in the centre of a very busy Bourton-on-the-Water. Some confusion here saw crews pre-empt the correct turning for the Baden Powell Village Hall, before fellow competitors, sat enjoying an ice cream, pointed us in the correct direction.
After a very quick coffee and chat for us, we headed back out to the car park to complete our ‘rescue mission’. Perhaps owing to the glorious sunshine, many crews had taken a lengthy break at Bourton and now, as the clock ticked by, a queue had formed at the ‘out’ control.
Explaining our situation to TM’s John and Liz Stratton, the parting of the cars ensued as we bypassed the queue to continue with our final leg. It just goes to show the power a CCC Corinium Run shirt can have!
Now on more familiar home ground we began to campaign the Morris quite hard in an attempt to keep up with the powerful Jaguar XJ6 of John Day and Steve Wright and the TR7 of Russ Cooper and Chris Riley. All the while decreasing our possible MPG figure and testing the dampers and drum brakes.
Passing through more idyllic villages such as Clapton-on-the-Hill, Hatherop and Coln St Aldwyn’s (once voted by Country Life magazine as one of the ‘top ten villages in England’), we arrived at the Burford Road Services after 29.4 miles to refill the car under the watchful eye of Fergus who claimed our front nearside tyre was looking rather low. After paying for the 19 litres required and having the receipt stapled to our route card, we returned the short distance to the finish at the Corinium Stadium.
Here, we deposited our extra passenger for the afternoon and collected our photo finisher’s certificate from Clerk’s of the Course Martin and Jeremy before heading inside for a well deserved end of event meal and to check the all important MPG and associated figures.
Returning back outside shortly after to see the final crews return, we found our front tyre had now fully deflated, necessitating a change to the spare wheel – just goes to show our luck, despite our good deeds of the day. C’est la vie!
Congratulations to the winning duo of Paul Fillis and Jonathan Hall in their Audi A3 who recorded a very impressive 64.0mpg; the highest result of the day. Quite considerably better than our modest 33.62 (I had predicted 34) but then what with the extra passenger, slow puncture…
Until the next time.
Ben & Chris Amor
TM4 – 1969 Morris Minor 1000
And finally… congratulations to crew number 6 – Andrew and Elizabeth Stevens who were awarded the “Mike Webb Trophy” with their 1968 Landrover Series 2A, for the car the organiser’s would “most like to drive home in.”