Summer Party

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Saturday 5th July. Dawn. Where’s that sun that has been shining for virtually the whole summer so far? Not only is it hiding, the BBC weatherman is also even mumbling about rain. Undeterred, I donned my waterproofs, got in my very un-weatherproof Caterham and made my way to Kent for the SGMW Summer Party at The Woodman pub, near Sevenoaks.

This venue is familiar to most SGMW folk, as it had been the starting point for our memorable 10th Anniversary celebrations. Excellent hospitality awaited us, as before. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but we were able to use surplus funds from the highly successful SGMW Karting Grand Prix last February to put on a great spread. Our landlord, Heinz, laid on a generous buffet of grub, and soft/hot drinks.

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Members and partners were welcomed by the Southern Group banner outside The Woodman, and fed and watered in our own sectioned-off part of the pub. As well as an excellent turnout of current members, we were very pleased to welcome some old chums, including Mike and Sally Bacon, Ray and Viv Potter and Cathy Rogers – it really was great to see them.

In between the noshing, there was a certain amount of head-scratching as people tackled our quiz, attempting to answer questions as diverse as, ‘What is the distance between our two most far-flung members?’ (answer: 150 miles); ‘With what fuel did Rudolph Diesel fill his prototype engine at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris?’ (answer: peanut oil); and ‘What is the EU’s carbon emissions target for manufacturers for 2020?’ (answer: 95g/km). I’m pleased to say that every quizzer scored more than 50%, with one member – our chairman Sue Baker – returning a perfect 100%. Her prize was a well-deserved tin of travel sweets and a signed copy of ‘Three- Wheelers A-Z’ by, er, Chris Rees.

We also encouraged members to bring an interesting vehicle along, with our own area of the pub car park sectioned off for us to admire the machinery on display. SGMW members ignored my specific requests to bring sit-on lawnmowers and unicycles (how could
you?), and only brought along cars. A wide variety of test cars was present, including Ian Robertson’s factory- fresh Porsche Macan diesel. But it was members’ own cars that made the biggest impact, notably Ray Potter making a splash in his Jaguar F-Type, and David Wilkins in his superb Mercedes C240.

A prize was on offer for the most interesting vehicle of the day, as judged by our chairman Sue Baker. I promise no back-handers were proffered by your Events Secretary, who picked up Sue’s gong for his rare 1996 Caterham 21. When that threatened shower inevitably arrived, Sue also very kindly provided some extra protection for the poor leaky 21 in the form of her red umbrella!

The exceptionally good roads in the area – as you’ll know if you’ve ever been to a launch based in the nearby Red Barn – also provided a bit of fun for everyone on their way to and from the pub.

This was our main summer event of the year, and a great time was had by all. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it such a fun event. We’re now aiming to have this sort of social gathering at least once every quarter, based in different parts of the region – so keep an eye out for the next date!

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