Out in the field; ‘Old Speckled Hen’ Tour, Classic Car Runs, and Treasure Hunts

Monday 30 May 2022

Away from the hustle and bustle of British Championships over a busy final weekend in May, Motorsport UK clubs up and down the country were hosting a varied mix of events. 

In this week’s edition of Out in the Field we take a look at the history of Old Specked Hen, get a taste of Ibiza with Ikley and District Motor Club, check out Basingstoke Motor Club’s Production Grass Autotest and go on a treasure hunt with the Northern Ireland Land Rover Club. 

Old Speckled Hen Tour – MG Car Club 

Abingdon is the spiritual home of both MG and Old Speckled Hen beer which was first brewed there in 1979 by Morland’s brewery to celebrate MG’s 50 years in the town.  

Old Speckled Hen, the beer, received its name from an unusual car that was used in the factory as a run-around. This car was called the “MG Featherlight Saloon” which featured cellulosed fabric stretched over a wooden frame, and was finished in black speckled with gold. 

Regularly chugging around the factory, people would say, “There gus the owd speck’ld un,” and alas, the name Old Speckled Hen was born.  

MG Car Club ran the 28th edition of the Old Speckled Hen Tour on Sunday 29 May, celebrating Abingdon’s two most well-known products.  

Seventy cars took part with owners from 16 different counties, from Yorkshire to Cornwall. The vehicles gathered at the picturesque Radley College, just outside Abingdon, before being flagged away by Lord Nuffield’s great, great nephew, Kevin Minns, on a scenic route to the lunch halt of Chavenage House – Trenwith for viewers of Poldark – a wonderful Elizabethan house of mellow Cotswold stone. After a picnic in the grounds or a visit to the Wild Carrot café – housed in a tipi – or the optional tour of the house by the charismatic owner, it was time to head back to Radley College via a different rural route for a cream tea. 

The oldest car taking part was a 1938 VA Tickford, having travelled from Leicestershire to take part and there was a 1952 TD on a 70th birthday trip from Truro to where it was ‘born’. 

The community were full of praise with comments including, “What a lovely route.”  

“The best route book we’ve seen.”  

“My first event, but it won’t be my last!”  

“Thank you for a lovely day, the organisation was excellent.” 

Explore the MG Car Club website HERE 

A taste of Ibiza at the Ilkley and District Motor Club’s Classic Car Run 

An eclectic mixture of modern and classic cars took part in the Ilkley and District Motor Club Classic Car run. Classic by name, but not by nature, the touring assembly was open to any vehicles and saw a Seat Ibiza and 2021 Ford Fiesta join the classic cards that included MG BGTs, Porsche 987 Boxster, MGFs and TVR.  

Starting and finishing at The Bay Horse in Skipton, the participants took in a 110-mile route. 

With the sun beating down, a coffee/tea provided alongside a bacon or sausage sandwich, all included in the touring assembly registration fee, it was the perfect spring Sunday for the line-up. 

Find out more about Ilkley and District Motor Club HERE. 

Tardree Treasure Hunt – Northern Ireland Land Rover Club 

Tardree Forest played host to the Northern Ireland Land Rover Club’s Treasure Hunt on Sunday 29 May with 17 vehicles taking part.  

The cars were split into two groups. The first group took on the extreme run with some challenging trials, meanwhile the other ran a more gentle but tight run through the trees and forest which was described as by no means easy.  

The challenging tracks of the forest meant some winching was required as they made their way through. In addition to the day of motorsport, Competition Secretary of the Northern Ireland Land Rover Club, Steven Kelly, commented, “The club met and liaised with the local equestrian and rambling clubs, and cleared some litter from the tracks as the club moved about. After recent heavy rain, some areas were very soft, but as these were firebreak, the Forestry Service was very happy to see the Northern Ireland Land Rover Club leave behind a muddy trail. The Club also removed a few fallen trees from tracks and opened access for other vehicles.” 

“Another fantastic day out with the NILRC,” commented participant Stephen Smiley. “Never been to a Forest event so wasn’t sure what to expect but as always the club didn’t disappoint with some challenging trails to keep you constantly thinking. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was better than what I had expected. Can’t wait for the next day out.” 

Martin Laverty added, “A really well thought out event, great days fun and great crack meeting lots of new friends on the way. Definitely a great club.” 

Newbies join Basingstoke Motor Club’s Pasture Blaster 

Throwing back to the weekend prior, Basingstoke Motor Club welcomed three first timers at their Pasture Blaster Production Grass Autotest, held on Popham Airfield.  

Henry East, recently turned 14, took on the challenge with his father, Mike in a Fiesta. Tom Pashley, with his dad affectionately nicknamed Pash, was also in a Fiesta and Harry Whitehead was out learning the ropes with Glynn Hayward in a Mitsubishi Colt.  

In the post event report, Jace Shawley, Chair of the club commented, “It was really good to see so many new young faces. Henry and Tom came screaming out of the box, both putting up respectable times from the off.  Harry had more to do, having never driven until arrival at the event, but stayed the course and finished none the less.” 

As for the winners, Shawley said, “We had a draw for fastest time of the day (FTD) and I had to rule on cc difference. Tom Brooks and Adie Collins finished on equal penalties.  Fortunately, Tom’s 1600 Mini CooperS is supercharged.  By applying the 1.5 loading for forced induction, for once a RS2000 won it on smallest capacity.  Very well done both.  

“This meant that FTD went to Adie whilst first in Class P1 went to Tom. Second in P1 was Shane Parry in that amazing little blue KA. Class P2 was taken by Jem Mead in that deceptively quick Mazda MX5, and finishing second in P2 came Tony Brooks in the Alpine Renault.” 

Check out ‘wosson’ with Basingstoke Motor Club HERE