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  Home>>Past Events > Silverstone

Ramblings on MG 80, Silverstone International


This year’s Silverstone International Event was the 54th consecutive such event to be held and this year incorporated the MG80 celebrations - the 80th year of the Octagon.

I had arranged to meet up on the Friday with a friend, Dave, and his son (from the ‘other’ club), on the A40 at Gloucester so that we could travel up to Silverstone together.  Dave is notoriously bad with routes, maps and any form of travel plans, so it was no surprise when he rang me to tell me he was lost!  When he eventually turned up, he had 5 MGF’s and a Vauxhall Cavalier in convoy!  Fortunately I knew most of the crowd, but made a couple of new friends.

It was a fairly uneventful cross-country drive to Silverstone, the only difficulty being trying to keep 7 cars together at the major road junctions, but we all got there in one piece.  I helped the guys unload their camping gear, and generally set up the camping plot. 

There was to be a big (and I mean big) barbecue on the Saturday night, and gradually other friends from around the country arrived.  Camping at le Mans is enough for me each year, so for this event I and some other friends from Berkshire were ‘poshing’ it at the local Travel Lodge.  Back to Silverstone, we had a quick look round the site in the afternoon, and then a dozen of us were off to the local curry house in the evening for what is also an annual event.  It’s impressive that the waiters even remember us from year to year!

The Saturday dawned bright and sunny, and we spent most of the day wandering around the trade stands and admiring the row upon row of superb vehicles.  Despite smothering myself with sun lotion, I still managed to burn my neck.  MG’s of every shape and size of model were there, and the sheer number of cars had to be seen to be believed.  Some of the 120-odd trade stands were extremely impressive affairs, and the likes of Brown and Gammons, the MGF Centre and Moss had very impressive marquees.  At the other extreme, some of the trade stands resembled more of an auto jumble!  Having said that, they were possibly the only place to find that vital part for some restoration project.  (I did in fact find half a dozen plastic nut caps that I had been looking for, for about 6 months, so that alone would have made the weekend worthwhile).  What I also found fascinating was the skill involved in re-creating some of the woodwork for dash panels and door panels.  Craftsmen are obviously still alive and kicking, and working for some of the restoration companies!

The main MG marquee housed a display of vehicles from across the decades from the very early Midgets to the recently launched SV.  The various MGCC Registers each had stands in the adjacent marquee.

The serious racing had started in the afternoon, with races for V8’s, Metros, MGB’s and Midgets, TF’s and ZR’s etc etc etc, but there was still too much to see rather than watching all the races.

On the social front, the Saturday evening MGF barbecue is taking over as an event in it’s own right!  This years theme was Hawaiian shirts for the guys and grass skirts for the girls.  The trouble is that this July’s weather was not really barbecue weather and we’re looking at an Eskimo theme for next year!  Organised by the South West MGF Register (ie my ‘home’ mob) this year we counted around 70 people mid-evening, although people tend to come and go all night.  This newsletter is not the right format for some of the more lurid tales I could tell about this bash (although I’m open to bribes and I have the pictorial evidence to support it!), but a good time was had by all.  Due to a total foul up by our transport manager, four of us ended up walking back to the hotel 3 miles down the A43 around 1 o’clock Sunday morning.  That was an experience in its own right!

After a hearty breakfast Sunday morning we arrived back at the circuit to find that the rest of the gang had all but cleared up the remains of the night before.  We helped a few people with their tents and general packing up, and then went for a further look round and to watch some racing.  I even helped one of the girls I know from Leicester with car parking duties!  The weather was cloudier than the Saturday, and there had been a few drops of rain in the air, but the number of cars and visitors was clearly up on the day before.  It will be interesting to hear the attendance numbers from the organisers.

All in all, an excellent weekend, and an event to be recommended.  Whatever your interest in MG’s, I would guarantee you will find something of interest at Silverstone.  From the oldest TA to the newest SV, from trade stands to racing, there is something for everyone at this annual event.

Mike Hall

July 2004





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