Words and photography: Mike Humble and John Lakey
As everybody who resides in Blighty will know, we’ve had some truly shocking weather as of late. The laws of physics dictates that the rubber pneumatic tyre and sodden wet grass are seldom the best of friends at the best of times. Despite the heavens’ best attempts to put a dampener on proceedings, the evening before and the morning of Pride of Longbridge, the rain held off for the 2013 celebration of everything BMC, BLMC and all related incumbents of our once-mighty motor industry.
Owing to the terrain of Cofton Park, which for those who don’t know, is adjacent to the Longbridge car plant, many areas were fenced off owing to the water draining off the fields and hills. This made the event more compact – yet also more intimate – with more than 1000 cars attending the one-day gathering of like-minded supporters of British cars. This year’s anniversary goes to our dear friend, the Allegro, which marks 40 years since its introduction.
In order to emphasise the family nature of this gathering, the Austin and Longbridge Federation (ALF) organised its ‘MG CD’ racer event, where children make a gravity powered model racing car and try their engineering skills in order to win a race on the downhill model track – and collect a prize. Some impressive entrants from both boys and girls really hammered home the fact that Pride of Longbridge is a genuine all-ages family affair that seems to get more popular every year.
The race was won by Joe Cowen, aged 10 from Kenilworth, who’s racer ‘Hammerhead’ came through the heats to claim the prize of a Corgi Vanguards MGB model set. Joe’s father, Andy Cowen, a member of the Rover Coupe Owners’ Club, drives a 220 Turbo Tomcat, and was pleased that Pride of Longbridge has added this extra dimension to get kids more involved in the community event.
The runner-up spot was taken by 11 year Oliver Richardson from Rednal, who’s racer ‘Swift’ ran Hammerhead very close for the win. The best decorated prize of a Corgi Vanguards Mini set was won by Tom Watts from Bourneville who produced a racer that looked like a hotdog sausage in a bun! 10 year old Molly Stanley from Birmingham was the only girl to enter and received fourth prize a Corgi Model of Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper S.
The MG CD Racers event was organised jointly by ALF, MG Motor and the MGCC, who’s Rocker Box racing ramp was used. The models had to be home-built, use CDs or DVDs as wheels and powered only by the gravity of the ramp on the 6m course. The prizes were presented by local MP Richard Burden, and Simon Bennett from the MG Sales Centre at Longbridge.
As per usual, some lovely cars made the journey to Birmingham including over 100 vehicles from the Cowley convoy and AROnline was on ceremony to chat to a good few people during our meet the team session. Our Woollarding competition had to be postponed thanks to the wet stuff deciding to fall just after lunch, which caused many people to leave early. That said, spirits were not broken and many of us can’t wait for next year’s event.
Enjoy the gallery – and you may note the occasional Woollarding image may have just sneaked into the group here and there!