London Tour '97 - Part III

Revenge of the Nerds

The Nutfield PrioryMarch 23 - 0100 - Patricia begged us not to do it. But we had to. You see, The Pit Crew back at work!Allan had been making some wisecracks on-line about culture, barbarism, and other nice things about Americans. So it was, of course, imperative that we live up to his expectations. After he went to sleep for the night, the rest of the contingent met outside in the parking lot to execute the first The key to successful pit crewing is getting someone else to do the work.European performance of the famous Quadruple Lutz. The what? Well, if you look at one of the Moss Motors catalogs from last summer, there's a photo of Bonnie Lutz's car with 4 temporary spare tires placed by the guys at Moss. We figured they wouldn't mind if we stole the concept. So off came Alan's tires, and on went the Conspiracy!spares from the trunks of four generous conspirators. This was when Nico van Steen learned that the air in the spare should be checked occasionally. It should be pointed out that I had nothing to do with this misapplication of justice. Really! I can prove it! Just take a look at the photo at the right. I'm nowhere to be found.
Little Red Rooster performs the Quadruple Lutz!Allan hangs his head in shame.March 23 - 0930 - The next morning at breakfast, it was all we could do to keep from laughing when Allan came down. He hadn't been outside yet, so it was important to keep a straight face. A difficult task to be sure when looking at Allan. After breakfast, with everyone outside waiting with cameras, Allan took one look at Little Red Rooster and his head just dropped. First we thought he would cry, but then he smiled. We're not sure what upset him the most - the fact that we swapped all four of his tires without disturbing his armed motion sensing alarm system or the fact that he was the only one that didn't know about the gag. I guess the rest of us should watch our backs from here on.

UK Web dude, Chris Lewis, Allan, and HamishMarch 23 - 1030 - '5s at BrooklandsThe historic Brooklands racetrack was the next venue. A short hop from the Inn, we rolled past the gate and immediately knew where we were supposed to park. There were already nearly 100 MX-5s from the UK MX-5 Club awaiting our arrival! (Actually, they probably couldn't care less if we came or not - they were having fun.) The Group Photo at BrooklandsWe spent so much time chatting with Tim Robinson and the rest of the UK folks and checking out all the UK special edition MX-5s that were on hand, we nearly forgot that we had tickets to the Brooklands Auto Museum! One of each color lined up on the banked cornerA number of somewhat aggressive types decided they would take their '5s out for a spin on the old racetrack. I suppose they had fun - they were smiling from ear to ear. The old track is really just a section of the track, roughly mile long and steeply banked with plenty of grass growing from between the concrete. After the somewhat lengthy photo session, the next hour was spent trying to decide where to go next. London to meet up with Helio again? Windsor to stroll the town and have dinner with Ronald? Back to the Inn to sit in the hot tub? Personally, I wanted to do all of the above.

Chris Lewis and Gary FischmanMarch 23 - 1730 - Windsor won out for Keith, Joce, Nico, Jaqueline, Frank, and I. Winding down at the pub in WindsorAs we walked up the street toward Windsor Castle, we bumped into Chris Lewis again! We're not sure why he was there, but we assume he heard some of us were off to Windsor, so he was there waiting. We never did run across Ronald again, but we had a nice stroll through town followed by a satisfying meal at a local pub.

March 23 - 2100 - Back at the Nutfield Priory, those of us who were staying through to Monday decided to hang out in the lounge and sample the large selection of Belgian beers Allan had brought me. After all, who would want to schlep all that weight through the airport? Besides, US Customs wouldn't allow that much alcohol into the country without paying a fair amount of extra duty. We of course waited until Allan left and launched into an informal beer tasting! The next thing I remember is breakfast.

March 24 - 0800 - The time had come to say goodbye. The majority of the group was either already gone or just about to leave for home. A smaller group would continue on, touring England and making their way to Germany for the remainder of the week. Sadly, I was not part of that group. So after a difficult goodbye in the parking lot, Frank Mom graciously agreed to shuttle me off to Heathrow with Petra and Robin leading the way.

The weekend was a whirlwind! It was also one of the best weekends I've ever had with any Miata group! While the large events in North America are nice, this event was much more in tune with the reason we all bought MX-5s in the first place - enjoying the combination of traveling, touring, and camaraderie that this roadster attracts. It was wonderful making new friends as well as meeting several net friends for the first time.

Tour organizer, Ronald van Kelst, did an unbelievable job putting this trip together! He made something like 5 trips to England to make arrangements at all the stops, create the roadbook with all the directions and information, and ensure that things run smoothly. He did this pretty much single handedly! Maybe Mazda could hire him to run the Miata's Across the World event in 1999 which, unfortunately, is not yet being worked on and is not likely to happen. A very big thank you goes to Ronald from all of us!

Next year's tour will be in Paris! I've already convinced Michele that she has to come along this time. I can't wait!


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