National Weekend. Tatton Park.                                  4th & 5th June 2005.        



Report and photographs by Mike Smith.

This year�s event was being organised by Northern Centre and it was decided to expand the day into a weekend, mainly for the benefit of those members who were traveling a good distance, but also for those who enjoy the extended social activities often associated with a good Healey meet.

The Northern Centre invariably has a stand at the highly popular Tatton Park Classic Car Show near Knutsford in Cheshire and on a previous occasion we had hosted the National at this venue. It had proved most popular with around 100 Healeys attending, something of an embarrassment to the organising team as the space we had reserved was more suited to around 60 vehicles.

This time we well were prepared and the organisers provided a large expanse of meadow in the walled area normally reserved for the large Jaguar contingent. The advance team, led by Tony Curran moved in on the Friday to carry out the preparation work. Despite the promises of the organisers the area of approximately an acre had not been mowed and the grass was around 100mm long with mole city inhabiting the area where the marques were to be situated. I calculated during a period of exhaustion that evening that I had followed my mower around for five hours covering a distance of around six miles. Tony�s mower did a little less, but then his did not have the luxury of power to the wheels.
The new mini marquees that we had purchased caused a considerable amount of brain racking and six of us to erect it. Fortunately one of the exhibitors lent over the wall as we struggled and advised us to assemble the roof before raising it above ground, which eased the problems. None of us are looking forward to erecting the thing again.

The weather stayed fine for us on that Friday, but Saturday was to prove a different kettle of fish. A steady stream of Austin Healeys arrived until we had around 50 cars circling the area and making an impressive show. Then the rains came, and how!

As this was planned as a weekend rather than a National Day, Northern Centre had booked rooms for members to stay overnight at the Cranage Hall conference centre around twelve miles from Tatton on the outskirts of Holmes Chapel. To add a little adventure to the weekend a circuitous run from Tatton to Cranage was planned, taking in some delightful Cheshire lanes. The rain thwarted those plans and most of us made the run direct to Cranage. When we arrived it was fine and had, seemingly, been so for most of the day in that area!

With around 40 members staying overnight, Northern had arranged entertainment in the form of �Past and Present.� A duo that had proved popular on a previous May Bank Holiday weekend. The majority of diners took advantage of the music and danced the night away, a few of us less sociable characters slipped away into the relative peace of the nearby bar to talk Healeys (well you do, don�t you!)

The weather on Sunday was a total bonus - it was glorious all day. Over 80 Austin Healeys turned up and 13 parked up in the central area (close mowed in a circle by yours truly) forming a spectacular feature to the Club stand.

The barbecue was the piece de r�sistance and a speciality of Northern Centre. Head chef Tony Curran, ably supported by most of the members and their wives, dispensed the salads, sweets and steaks to around 200 hungry mouths. I kept out of the way, having volunteered myself as official photographer (well someone has to do the difficult work) but I enjoyed scoffing the fare with the queuing hordes.

Tatton Park Classic Car Show is always popular with the public and thousands were passing through during the course of the day. The trade stalls did a roaring trade as did the ice cream and burger sellers. Unfortunately A.H.Spares, although they had booked a stall, were unable to attend due to staff shortages. This was the first time in twenty years that they had not come to our International / National annual event and they were most apologetic. S.C. Parts did attend and did not seem too disappointed that their big rivals had not come. They seemed to be doing a roaring trade.

Concours was closely fought and Chairman of the Judges, Derek Mayer finally announced the results with prizes being presented by Margot Healey.

Judges were Keith Clapham, Mike Ward and John Bowman.

Administration by Mel Ward.

Class awards.

Standard 100.  

                          1st    John Scott Nelson.         YSU 913

                          2nd   Ron Walker.                   WNK 125

                          3rd    Peter Walsh.                   SFO 651  

 3000 MK 11A & MK 111.

                          1st     John & Jill Bowman.    FSG 604D

                          2nd    Alex Finlayson.             AHY 95

 Mk 1 Sprite Standard.

                           1st   Trevor Gammage.         WXD 231

                           2nd   Mike Garton.                 642 GKM

 Modified Big Healey.

                           1st   Tony Hughes.                 DCK 91C

                           2nd   Alan Wilson.                  529 UXH

 Modified Sprite.

                           1st   Jim Clark.                LCB 654

 Special Awards.

                          �Best Car of Show.�               Donald Healey Shield.

                            John Scott Nelson.                YSU 913


    �Best Standard Healey 100.� Fred Draper Shield.

    John Scott Nelson.                 YSU 913


    �Best 6 Cylinder Car.�           Alan Ling Trophy.

    John & Jill Bowman.              FSG 604D


     �Best Sprite Mk 1.�               Healey Frogeye Challenge Trophy.

    Trevor Gammage.                   WXD 231


     �Best Modified Sprite.�         Keith Homewood Trophy.

     Jim Clark.                               LCB 654


      �Best Modified Big Healey.� John Chatham Trophy

      Tony Hughes.                           DCK 91C


  The big bonus at end of the day was the coveted award of  �Best Club Stand at the Show� presented by the Tatton Park Organisers to the Austin Healey Club, beating the 90 other clubs present.