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Next section meeting - Thursday 26 October at The Bull Hotel, Bull Lane, Wrotham, Kent, TN15 7RF.

Whitstable Classic Motor Show - Sunday 17th August 2014

Basking in late summer sunshine at Honnington, surrounded by friends and Alfa Romeos, I could sympathise with everyone’s reluctance in submitting a write up on the rather gloomy Whitstable event. Therefore having never before contributed, I have scrawled the following recollections for the record.

This was my first visit to Whitstable. It was the lure of classic cars, Lancaster Bombers and a cliff top setting at the height of our summer which persuaded me to venture out after the wonderful weather of Crete. After travelling no more than 100m a persistent drizzle set in coupled with fog over Caterham Hill.

Those of you who know me well are no doubt aware of my S4 Spiders aversion to rain and being driven on motorways. My hesitancy to continue really hit home on the sodden M25. Persuaded by a distant glimmer in the sky a stoic resistance to giving up set in and the ‘it will get better’ voices in my head took over.

Indeed arriving at Whitstable, the sun was shining albeit over a grey sea. The unwillingness of the yellow jackets to indicate the whereabouts of the section were quickly forgotten as I reversed up to the edge alongside Jeff’s 916 phase 3 Spider, older and younger together (the cars of course!).

All was looking promising until around midday when The Isle of Sheppey vanished under a blanket of grey. Nervous eyes looked North as the wind picked up. It was at this point that John Third decided to abandon his GTV and with Clive Baker, head for the bar of The Marine Hotel. My hesitation to accept their invitation was down to my cold chicken and coleslaw lunch………..madness! It was just as I was finishing and was thinking time for a pint that the tsunami hit.

Howling wind, horizontal rain punctuated by announcements that, surprise, the flying display is off. Being buffeted in my Italian tent I watched Jeff next door munching away on his sandwiches and crowds of drenched flip-flop shorn holiday makers fighting the elements. Of course it stopped and for a moment I thought the sun had reappeared, only it wasn’t and as I put on my sunglasses it became apparent the illusion was none other than Dean’s immaculate zoe yellow spider glistening under its meticulously applied coats of wax. It dawned on me that this 916 spider and the gleaming Prodrive Brera belonging to Keith Baker clearly have more body massages then my S4 Spider.

I believe a Eurofighter did fly somewhere above this weather, heard but not seen. The Beatles meanwhile wailed on and cars were dried off. It was then we were greeted by the strange sight of Mark Webster and partner returning to their spider after obviously enjoying a fully clothed afternoon dip! Fortunately the continuing wind assisted in drying them and our cars.

Despite my early disinclination the day proved enjoyable as I felt we had all earned our survival rating badges. It cannot be said that the weather was varied, it was awful for the time of year. On a good August day I imagine Whitstable to be very pleasant. So I will try again next year.

Watching Clive leave in his delightful 1300Ti Giulia did bring a smile to my face for two reasons. The first is that I really love this car and the second was the comment by a passer-by as the Giulia burbled out ‘isn’t that a Lada’.

Mark Rayss

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