After the success of the Brands Hatch Mini Festivals that have been taking place for the past three years, MSV decided that they would hold a Mini Festival at the Oulton Park Circuit. Just like Brands, there would be traders, club displays, mini only parking, Russ Swift stunt shows and of course, plenty of racing on offer.
Despite the circuit being around 4 hours away from me, as soon as I heard this event was happening, I decided I was going. Not only was the circuit a fair distance away from me but it also was scheduled for the day after the Poole Quay Mini meeting! I also preferred to have Stripes on main display i.e. be parked on a club stand. Thankfully, the Mersey Mini Club allowed me to join them on their stands despite the fact that I’m obviously not local and haven’t been on a stand with them before.
Rather than find my way to a meet point organised by the Mersey lot, my co-pilot used his iPhone to direct us straight to the circuit for us to then find the club stand. Once parked up of course, the first thing to do is to start cleaning Stripes up. That MINI gets cleaned way too much anyway and I’m always spending ages once I’m at a show cleaning her but this time, she REALLY did need to be cleaned up after traveling 200+ miles.
While I had a cloth in hand, the rest of the Mersey Mini Club arrived and greeted me. It was so refreshing and encouraging to feel welcomed into a club in which I had only just joined up with. If you are local to them, I throughly recommend joining as they are wonderful people!
I had seen a few of the MINIs before at shows such as Mini in the Park and Big MINI Show last year. A few were very familiar to me as I follow a few of them on Instagram. It was really nice to actually now see these Minis in the metal and meet some of the owners.
One particular member of the Mersey lot made me feel very welcome and was my first point of contact with the club. Richard Gillmore. He is a credit to the club and because of his nature I accepted and displayed some of the leaflets on Stripes to advertise the club. I felt it was the least I could do for them.
Russ Swift had a total of three displays running throughout the day. I’d decided to watch the first of the day as it allowed some time for more Minis to arrive and fill out the grounds as well as giving me some time to ‘warm up’ on the photographing duties. As usual, Russ put on an amazing show using two F56′s. At the end of his show he invited people to come and grab a poster and if they wanted, he would sign them as well. I’d never turn down some free Mini merchandise and so made my way straight over to the large crowd.
Those used by Russ Swift were not the only F56′s being used as part of the show as the MINI Challenge had already prepared out an F56 Challenge MINI. This gave an insight into how the MINI Challenge line up will look like in the near future. The F56 on display was finished off in the brushed aluminum finish that we’ve seen in the F56 JCW concept photos as well as the images from the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Just like the Mini Festival at Brands Hatch, a grid walk had been scheduled for 1pm. I particularly love the fact that this had been brought into the events as it provides a different service from other Mini Shows. It is a great privilege to A) be allowed up close to the Challenge cars along with the drivers and B) to stand on such a famous motor racing circuit.
I made sure I was stood in the right place just before it was due to start in order to get as many photos as possible. I know! I managed to get Keith to queue up this time rather than just jump straight in like he did at Brands! Next to the gate that led to the grid stood the podium. As the racing schedule ran behind, so did the grid walk and so we took advantage of the wait and sneaked onto the podium for a cheeky photo.
Once the racing had finished; about 30 minutes later than scheduled, the gates were opened and we were finally out on the grid. What then went on to disappoint me was the fact that around just 10 minutes after being let onto the grid, we were ordered back off. I didn’t get chance to get many photo’s or even stand and chat to team members of Sussex Road and Race like I wanted to.
The racing calendar for the day was jam packed with both Classic and Modern Minis and unlike at Brands, it consisted of the Scottish MINI Challenge too which provided that extra Modern MINI racing. Throughout the day there were numberous bumps and scraps which caused some dramatic racing; wonderful for spectators but not the competitors.
A photo that marks my day is one of myself taking photo’s through a gap in the staircase of a bridge over the track. I’m pretty sure that I was the only person (or should that be, idiot) who took photos from that location.
On one of my trips back to Stripes towards the end of the day, I found a few members from Mersey with 3 World Championship JCW’s on the stand. This of course made for a great photo opportunity!
To make even more of an impact, I moved Stripes to another place on the stand in order for the third JCW to park alongside the others. These MINIs are extremely rare and to find three of them at a show and be able to park them together is quite something.
Rounding off the day; just like any Mini Festival should, was the parade lap. Just like the first Brands Hatch Mini Festival, there was a fight going on between me and my Mum; Sheila on who would drive around the circuit. Oulton Park is a much larger track with some corners that I knew I’d be able to start feeling even more of a benefit of my new front and rear strut braces. I knew if Mum drove then they wouldn’t get tested. Thankfully, she gave in and let me take Stripes round.
I’m sure I’ve said it before, as much as I love parade laps especially when you can give it some beans, I couldn’t ever take Stripes on a track day. I’d now happily go out in another MINI on a track as I’ve become more confident and perhaps will pursue this in the future.
To summarise, I will definitely attending this show again next year and hope these Mini Festivals keep up the hard work and even develop further to become even more of a success.
Mini Madness is a product of SammieeePhotography and Joe Steel Art and Photography. We bring Mini imaging from a range of Mini and classic car events.