South East Rally – 22nd April 2016

Our weekend on the Isle of Wight in April 2014 was enjoyed by everyone there and the SE committee was encouraged to come up with a new tour for this April, again encompassing Drive-It-Day.

For this year we planned a three day tour from East to West through our region, starting in Dover on Friday morning and finishing on Sunday afternoon at Arundel, hoping it would not be too demanding on our old Wolseleys. Members were welcome to join all, part, or a single stop along the route, with eighteen cars participating during the weekend. All cars ran well, with pride of place going to the oldest, and smallest participant, a 1930 Hornet saloon. The weather was mainly dry save an occasional cold wind.

SE Rally - 6We began Friday midday with a visit to the wonderful Dover Transport Museum run by enthusiastic volunteers and opened especially for us. If you can, do make a visit and you will not be disappointed. We were welcomed by Wolseley Register member and volunteer Dave Atkins and shown around their extensive collection, which includes a very nice 6/90. There was time for a cafe break there too. We were pleased to have Dave Allen join us there and our thanks go to John Blackbourn for making a considerable detour to bring and return him home.

SE Rally - 1Those staying overnight proceeded along the coast to The Bell at Sandwich, some detouring to visit Deal Castle on the way. Evening drinks and dinner allowed us to catch up with those we had not perhaps seen since the last tour or who we had not met before and it was only when we were asked to leave the restaurant at 11.30 did we realise how much we were enjoying ourselves and how quickly the time had flown.

SE Rally - 4Saturday morning we made our way to Leeds Castle, passing Canterbury city wall and stopping for a cafe break and photos in beautiful Chilham village. Leeds Castle is known to everyone and I don’t have to explain how magnificent it is. Then on to Tonbridge for the night where we stayed at The Rose & Crown and enjoyed another lively, social evening together over dinner.

Sunday morning saw us departing for Arundel Castle with a welcome cafe stop on the way at Sheffield Park. We were granted privileged entry to Arundel Castle grounds and all parked together on the lawn. The sky was blue and the sun was shining, helping to make a wonderful display of our cars, both for ourselves to enjoy and for the public, who showed great interest in them.

SE Rally - 3Every aspect of the tour knitted together so well; some members covering the whole tour, some joining where they could and it was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy our Wolseleys in good company; a deserved reward for the time and application we all dedicate to our cars and which encourages our enthusiasm for the marque.

SE Rally - 2Diederik and Janneke Wilbrenninck brought their little Hornet saloon from Belgium, Jan Smits and Yvonne brought their 6/110 from the Netherlands and Tim and Pam Pallot brought their lovely 1500, complete with two Jersey national flags on display (Tim remarking that they covered more miles over the weekend than they did in a whole year on Jersey).

SE Rally - 5Our South-east members came from far and wide and had a great opportunity to meet up and drive their various models and there is nothing better than to be able to see our cars in action, on the roads for which they were designed. The whole tour went smoothly and unusually, we met little traffic congestion during the tour which added to our enjoyment of our cars. Special thanks must got to Stuart for arranging our accommodation and for much of the tour content; Jeff Bridges too deserves our public thanks for his clever route planning and pace of the tour, which worked so well and Nelson’s administration and documentation provided valuable information for each driver.

SE Rally - 7I would also like to thank all participants in what was a relaxing and informal event, allowing us to spend time in good company with those with a similar interest in Wolseley cars.
Personally, we covered just under 300 miles and enjoyed every one of them. We have already been asked to plan another Tour and the SE committee will see what we can propose for a future year but it will be hard to beat our tours of 2014 and 2016.

(Pictures courtesy of Alan Simmonds and Philip Butland).

Alan Simmonds – 6/80