This article was first featured in the December 2017 edition of Soft Top Hardtop and is available free to club members by clicking HERE.

Words & Photos by Sharon Benton

Over 2,200 MX-5s made the journey to Gaydon, the home of the British Motor Museum for the Club’s 23rdNational Rally. The attendance this year breaks last year’s record of 2,000 cars that were at the Rally held at Donington. Gaydon advise that there were over 5,000 people on site during the day. As well as a record number of cars we also had the largest ever number of traders, specialists and suppliers on site on the day – there truly was something for everyone.

Your Club membership not only entitled you to the Rally but also free entry to the newly re-opened Museum site including the newly completed special collections building. We were delighted to welcome Fuzz Townshend as the Rally special guest and throughout the day he proved just what a star he is. Fuzz took part in two ‘An Audience With’ sessions where he chatted with host Tim Watson and with our very own Robbie Marsh, where he was quizzed on all matter of things. Thanks to these sessions we now know that his motoring guilty pleasure is a Fiat Multipla and how he got his nickname of Fuzz!

Fuzz also took part in the Mazda Challenge by undertaking a drag race against Club members and judging the Best Area Stand displays where he awarded North East Midlands and Phoenix Fives as joint winners. The North East Midlands had really gone to town on a Fuzz theme which included FUZZ as number plates on the show cars and several models of ‘Fuzz’ working on the cars – one of which just didn’t want to stand up for too long! Rally compere Dougie Robertson as ever did a grand job of pulling the whole event together and letting people know what was going on and when.

The MX-5 Owners Club Motorsport stand attracted a lot of interest during the day and always seemed to be busy with people chatting to the team there. As ever the Club merchandise stall was extremely busy with everyone keen to check out the new merchandise on offer.

Special features this year were a Special Edition display featuring one of every UK Special Edition of the MX-5 spanning all the generations. Owners of the cars in this display received a special Rally gift of a mug featuring the words ‘I am Special’. In the afternoon, in a race against time, the Midlands Volunteer Fire Service demonstrated a live passenger rescue from a crashed vehicle.

A new section this year was the For Sale paddock. The Club has often been asked about providing such a space at Rallies and this year it was possible to make space for this.

“It was really great to meet all the passionate MX-5 owners at the National Rally. Everyone from Mazda loved the opportunity to have so many great conversations with owners of the MX- 5, a sports car we work so closely with and care about. A highlight for me was getting owners opinions and ideas for future plans, by the end of the day there was a pretty long wish list and lots of excellent suggestions.

Not only did we come away with a number of ideas for the MX-5, we also got the opportunity to reflect on our own driving skills. Some of the times achieved throughout the driving activity were truly impressive, we all found it useful to get a little awareness on how much better everyone is at parallel parking than my colleagues at Mazda UK and I am. We all hope everyone enjoyed the opportunity through the driving challenge to experience our models and how they are all so fun to drive. We all look forward to future rallies and the opportunity to see so many pristine original MX-5s as well as the unique.” Lewis Baker, Mazda

We are looking forward to having you at the National Rally at Ragley Hall next month – read our website HERE for more information!

This article was featured in Soft Top Hardtop December 2017 and is available for members to read on our online portal by clicking HERE.