Excellent co-operation between Great Ballard School at Eartham, our other venues and Bognor Regis Motor Club Ltd meant that the Club’s annual fundraising Classic Car Tour and Picnic – The 10th Regis TAP sponsored for the 9th year by Orchard Restorations of Heathfield was able to go ahead this year.
Once the lockdown measures had been lifted and BRMC received the green light to run this authorised event at the end of July, albeit all the COVID-19 regulations and social distancing was taken into account and with full track and trace information.
The Team approached Great Ballard School, located at the magnificent Eartham House, Eartham. They have hosted the start for the previous 9 tours at their magnificent and exclusive venue. Owner, Sue Jay and her wonderful team were very keen to be involved again but had to take into account strict bio security measures as their students had returned to the school and couldn’t be put at risk of infection. They and BRMC carried out risk assessments and decided that if everyone was kept outside in the extensive grounds, then it was possible. BRMC arranged for services to be brought in and plans were put in place to keep cars and participants 2 metres apart with one way queues to collect packs, breakfast butties and for the toilets.
Participants all mentioned how good the COVID-19 guidelines were adhered to, ensuring everyone was as safe as possible during the day. Hand sanitiser and wipes were a major feature and social distancing, although not popular, is widely accepted as the best way to stay safe. Leonie Ranson, the Business Manager at Great Ballard School mentioned she had seen everyone performing the latest dance craze – “The Covid Sidestep”.
Luckily, the day dawned bright and sunny and a fantastic selection of classic cars arrived from around the South of England to take part. There was the cream of historic vehicles, many marques no longer in made from the 1950’s through to some later interesting modern sports cars. These included Aston Martin, Austin, Austin Healey, Bentley, Bristol, Daimler, Hillman, Jaguar, Lotus, MG, Morgan, Triumph and Wolseley flying the flag for Britain. Alpine Renault, Audi, Ford Mustang, Mercedes, Porsche, Volvo plus a few more for the Rest of the World. These were flagged away from outside the front doors of Eartham House at one minute intervals by the new headmaster Matthew King, then driving through rural lanes along a picturesque and wooded route of about 40 miles to Gatwick Aviation Museum at Lowfield Heath alongside Gatwick Airport.
GAM was this year’s socially distanced picnic venue with the bonus of a tour of the museum. Everyone enjoyed the selection of aircraft exhibits and the opportunity to chat to old friends in the sunshine. A couple of hours later they got back in their cars for the next 20-mile leg to Coverwood Lakes at Ewhurst.
This was the charming afternoon cream tea venue where Tim Metson and his family, who run the farm here, welcomed everyone with a homemade scone, cream and jam served from their customised Airsteam Caravan. Afterwards there was the chance to walk around their magnificent grounds and lakes, full of water lilies at this time of the year. Coverwood Lakes is opening for the National Gardens Scheme on Friday 16th October by pre-booked tickets and it is well worth a visit! The sun continued to shine, and the classic cars looked magnificent all parked up 2 metres apart by the fantastic volunteer marshals.
After a gentle stroll around the lakes, it was back into the cars for the final leg south. A road closure in nearby Cranleigh meant that the cars were diverted into the heart of the village. Only to find that they were centre stage at Cranleigh’s Classics on the Drive event organised by the Lions Club. Just as the TAP cars were driving through the village from one direction the convoy run of cars from Classics on the Drive were coming from the opposite direction. This gave the waiting crowds plenty to see and clap for in the village and caused much amusement from the participants of the tour who hadn’t realised they had inadvertently become a visitor attractions! The 40-mile route kept to the lanes and quieter back roads, returning over the South Downs to Dale Park at Madehurst. Owner Robert Green, loaned a field on the estate for the finish and to allow the crews a short refreshment break and delicious hog roast roll served by Matt’s Hog Roast to be consumed before making the journey either back to their hotel or to head home.
The main aim of each annual Regis TAP is to have a smashing social day out with like-minded individuals who want to use their cherished classics and to raise money for a good cause. For the previous 8 years all fundraising has been done for Sussex Air Ambulance, this year being no exception. The Air Ambulance has been working tirelessly alongside the NHS through the COVID-19 crisis and sadly so many of their major fundraising events have been unable to go ahead this year. BRMC are delighted to announce that over £3,500 has been raised from this year’s Tour. This will bring the TAP’s 10 year total to over £40,000.
Clerk of the Course, Ali Green was delighted that the event was able to go ahead and was so pleased that all the venues had put their trust in the Club to ensure it was run professionally and as safely as possible. If we are going to do anything with our cars this year we need to adhere to guidelines, it has taken time to get our heads around what is required but once we had sorted that, we were determined to make the event a safe, social and financial success. Everyone behaved responsibly and was very appreciative of the efforts we and our venues had put in place to keep to Government guidelines. It meant our costs to run the event were higher than usual, l but we still came in on budget and are delighted to forward such a large amount to such a worthwhile cause. The event would not have been possible without the support of a fabulous team of very experienced voluntary marshals who gave up their day to ensure everyone had a safe and very enjoyable experience. Also, we could not have done it without our wonderful venues. BRMC are also incredibly grateful to Orchard Restorations of Heathfield, who sponsored the event for the 9th year.
For more information on Bognor Regis Motor Club go to: www.bognor-regis-mc.co.uk
More classic touring events will be planned for 2021 subject to COVID-19 conditions.
The club are always looking for enthusiast new members. It is open to anyone with an interest in cars both competitive and classics and take pride in being affiliated to Motorsport UK the Sports governing body.