On Saturday the Mini Sport team travelled down to Chippenham, Wiltshire for the highly anticipated Mini Action Day at Castle Combe Circuit. As the official sponsors of the Mini Action Day for the first year, we were determined to ensure that the event would exceed all expectations for everyone involved with a thriving trade village, full-throttle track sessions, parades and the ultimate Mini cruise.
Cars on Show
Mini Sport classics like Paddy Hopkirk’s 33EJB replica, Cyril Bolton’s Ultimate Rally Mini, NCK and Bogus – the Mini World performance build were exhibited alongside some Mini Miglia, Mini Se7ens and HRCR contenders, as well as some exceptional models from Mini Sport customers.
Over on the HRCR area of our stand, competitors accompanied us from the Old Stager Championship’s ‘Mini Sport Mini Cup’. 2013 champion, Clive King brought along his genuine 1964 Cooper S along with Andrew O’Hanlon’s 1971 Cooper S Category two Mini, Shane Gamble’s recent Category One Rally purchase and Peter Ellerby’s remarkable Category one, Historic Rally Mini, completely re-built in just one week following a dramatic crash at Rally Isle of Man on Saturday the 19th September. The whole Mini Sport team were thankful for the work that Peter Ellerby and Mark Grant had put in with 12-hour working days to get the Mini back in show-condition and on our stand for Mini Action Day – completing the repairs at just 9pm the previous night.
From the Mini Miglia and Mini Se7ens Championship, we displayed a few notable race Mini’s including that of Leon Wightman, who has just completed the 2015 season of the Mini Se7ens Championship with his Mini 7 998cc backed by Mini Sport, Lewis Fox’s Mini 7, which is gaining Lewis recognition as a novice champion in the Mini Se7en Championship and Ryan Taylors Gloucester Autograss League championship winning 1130cc Class 4 Autograss Mini weighing in at just 450kg.
Alongside the iconic 33EJB replica, owned by Paddy Hopkirk and homed at Mini Sport, we were excited to welcome some Mini models, which also bared a strong association with the Mini Legend. James & John Connor’s Mini Mayfair was displayed on our stand alongside 33EJB, a Mini Mayfair build which pays homage to Paddy Hopkirk with bespoke parts and accessories. James & John are dedicated Mini Sport customers and their Mini Mayfair continues to gain appreciation with features in both Mini Magazine and Mini World. It was also with huge enthusiasm that we displayed Kingsley Berg’s priceless ‘528 EMO’; a Cooper S built by Paddy Hopkirk in the 1990’s based on the Monte Carlo winning 33EJB – a sibling to Paddy’s 1990 winning Pirelli Classic Marathon Cooper, 6 EMO.
To top off our eclectic range of Mini Models on show, we were overwhelmed to have Dan Dutch’s Mini Magazine cover-star displayed on our stand. Dan Dutch’s custom Mini Thirty boasts impressive attention to detail in every inch of it’s build – with an 1880cc A-Series engine, a straight cut gearbox, Force Racing rims and bespoke interior with parts and pieces attained from Mini Sport, this Mini 30 is a true head-turner.
We were happy to once more welcome the man himself, Paddy Hopkirk to our stand for exclusive meet & greet sessions throughout the day. Paddy signed merchandise and memorabilia across the course of the day, accepting donations for his charity ‘Skidz’ which aims to give motor vehicle education to young people who face being out of education or employment.
We were astonished to find that over 85 Mini Clubs and registers from across the country attended Castle Combe on Saturday with every basis covered when it came to Mini models, new and old, original and restored, custom and classic – making it exceptionally hard to judge the top 20 Mini’s on the day. We have to thank every club for their support in keeping the Mini community alive as the turnout really reinforced this dedication. At the end of the day, Moles Mini Club of Trowbridge, Wiltshire took the top prize for best club display, with their haunting Halloween themed stand.
Track Sessions Parade Laps
Throughout the day many Mini’s took to the iconic Castle Combe Circuit to demonstrate their power and potential – we even witnessed some thrilling drift racing. The lunch time cruise, however was a definite highlight of the day with Paddy Hopkirk and the 33EJB replica, leading a fleet of over 100 different Mini’s around the circuit in a colourful display of both classic and contemporary Mini’s.
You can catch exclusive footage over on our Facebook page here.
Best Cars in Show
As mentioned, the diverse range of Mini’s in fantastic condition on show at Mini Action Day was really impressive and this year Mini Sport, as official sponsors took on the responsibility of judging the best in show. Mini Sport Director, Chris Harper took on a little help from the HRCR’s , Andy Shaw and whittled down the best 20 on the day to just three. The top 20 featured an extensive range of Mini’s with original parts and custom builds but in the end it was a fully-restored 1963 850cc AA Van owned by Steve Neath and Nick Kirman which took the crown. In at second overall was John Powrie’s, 1965 Cooper S and Fiona Walton’s pink & white tickled pink themed Mini.
All in all, the entire Mini Sport team and Paddy Hopkirk had a fantastic day and look forward to another successful Mini Action Day at Castle Combe next year. Once more, we’d like to thank everyone that visited us at our stand, Paddy Hopkirk for accompanying us, Peter Ellerby for all his hard-work following the Isle of Man Rally crash, all that displayed their Mini’s on our stand and everyone who brought along their Mini on the day! Same again next year?