The Mini Mag

Volume 1 Number 7 September 1999.

The show to celebrate 40 years of Mini.
by John Heselwood

Saturday morning dawned, a quick look out the window saw that the road was wet and the sky cloudy. I thought, bloody weather, here we go again, I have just polished the underneath of the ‘S’ after the last outing in the rain, but what the heck, it was the Mini 40 week-end and the weather could only get better.

Off I headed to the Coffee Club at Bulimba for the Mini 40 breakfast, trying not to get too close to the car in front to minimize the road grime being sprayed over the front. Arriving ten minutes late due to the reduced speed, I was delighted to find the car park chock full of bricks and parking space hard to find. Over 50 Minis was the quick count! The breakfast was first class and after the account was sorted, we lined up for the run to Mt Tamborine via the City and Motorline BMW at Daisy Hill. By this time the rain had stopped and the clouds started to clear, (could the weather forecasters have it right for a change), and Michael Blackman led the 65 Minis over the Story Bridge into the city. The sight of people staring in disbelief as the Mini parade snaked through the streets and on to the freeway was amazing.

The run down the freeway to Motorline BMW, the future home of the new Mini, was again a head turner. as we know big cars don’t like being passed by a Mini, but when they get passed by 65 they just stare and give in. Upon arrival at Motorline, the staff on duty were heard to say that they did not realize that the Mini was so popular, but as we had taken up the whole car park we showed just how popular the brick is.
After a briefing from Peter Bossie, the organizer of the run to Mt Tamborine, it was off through the back blocks and onto some good Mini type roads. Some cars had to leave us at Motorline, Bob Ward and Rory McDonald headed off to Norwell to supervise the set-up for the next day, some had to go to work but 57 cars re-grouped at the next stop, The Bearded Dragon at the bottom of the mountain.

The run up the mountain road was again a head turner as the seemingly endless line of the little legends wound their way to St. Bernards Hotel for lunch. It was here that we were to meet up with our special guests for the week-end, Bob and Colleen Holden. The timing of our arrival could not have been better. As Bob parked the Cooper S he had borrowed from Paul Gulson for the week-end, he looked up to see the line of Minis entering the hotel car park. Better than any well timed pit stop at Bathurst he said! After the formalities of meeting and introducing our guests, it was time to sit down for lunch, another well organized affair, thanks to Tony Formosa. I had the pleasure of joining Bob & Colleen for lunch and a reminisce of the glory days of Bathurst and the Cooper S. Having dealt with many a star and legend in my line of work, it was a real pleasure to meet a couple who were among the most down to earth I have met. It was soon obvious that Bob’s first love is still racing cars, a BMW at the moment, but he will get in what ever he can get his hands on says Colleen. He has become known as “Captain Areldite”, once he gets in you can’t get him out she said. We could have talked for hours about that famous moment in motorsport when the Cooper S became known as the giant killer and about the antics and secrets that went on back in 1966, but we had to move on.

After the compulsory group photo in front of the famous pub, it was off down the mountain to Sanctuary Cove. The run down the mountain was great Mini territory, except for those of us who got stuck behind a certain Scottish member’s Telstar driven by a Victorian! I bet he had wished he had bought his Mini with him. It was good to see the visitors from the Victorian Mini Club up here for the event anyway.

Arriving at the picturesque Sanctuary Cove Resort was a real crowd turner. The place came to a complete halt as the Mini parade snaked its way through the narrow streets of the village. Would have made a great place for the Italian Job re-shoot. The cars assembled in the car park and photos taken while stories of the day so far were told.

Then it was back to Brisbane with some of us heading off to help in the setting up of equipment and tents for the next days celebrations. On arriving, the weather decided that the only place in Queensland that should not be dry was Norwell. The wind was blowing about 30 knots and the rain started to fall. Captain Bob made a quick call to the Channel Nine Helicopter office for the latest weather update and assured us that the next day would be perfect!

With the set-up complete, thanks to the mighty effort of Bob Ward and his hard working band, it was off home to wash the car and polish underneath again. A quick shower and off to the Mini 40 Dinner where we were entertained by Bob Holden and his stories of Bathurst and everything Mini. A great night indeed for those who attended.

Sunday morning and Captain Bob was right, the weather was perfect! We could see that the day was going to be big when, by eight o’clock, an endless stream of Minis was coming through the gate. 327 was the official tally, with every type from 850’s to Cooper S’s, Clubmans to Race Cars and Marcos and Nota Fangs to Mokes. People came from all over the state. From Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Toowoomba and from interstate, Melbourne and Sydney. Gordie and Grant Welsh, Mini Owners Club Members from Sydney, were there with their Sports 850 and MK2 Police Special Cooper S. Racing stalwarts like John Stratton, Ken Nelson and Paul Gulson added the icing on the cake with their race cars on display.

The motorkhana started off the days activities and the competition was tough. The event bought out the first timers and the old timers. Jack Reed, a local Mini legend, showed the youngsters that he has lost none of his style and know how as he threw his Clubman convertible around the course.

Through the morning our M.C. for the day, Dave McGregor who is never short for a word kept the ever increasing crowd amused. Rock-n-roll dancing and line dancing groups performed during the breaks in the motorkhana and go to whoa events. There was something going on at all times, but the most spectacular arrival was the Careflight Chopper with the crew repelling down to secure the parking area before landing. It was then available for the public to have a look at what a big helicopter is like.

Bob Holden passed on his stories of the Cooper S days to the crowd and was more than eager to autograph anything Mini. The sight of two legends, Bob Holden and Jack Reed, sitting together watching the activities typified the day, anyone who was anyone to do with Minis was there.

The highlight of the day was no doubt the grand parade. When the committee started planning the event, one of us mentioned, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to see Minis nose to tail right around a race track’. Little did we think at the time that it would happen, but it did. The parade did two laps of the racetrack and then formed in circles on the central skid pan as a backdrop for the presentation.

The show-n-shine winners were announced and to say the least, there were a few surprises, but I guess all judges have different ideas. Bob Holden presented the Cooper S classes and the major trophies. Dave Perkins took out the “Best Restored” with his immaculate MK2 Cooper S and Dick Owen the “Judges Choice” prize with his original Morris 850.

A big thanks must go to all who helped on the day and a special mention to the Mini 40 Committee and it’s chairman, Tony Formosa and his assistant Bob Ward. Lets start planning the Mini 41, any volunteers??
John Heselwood.