CHAMPAGNE BRITISH CAR FESTIVAL
May 25-27, 2001
by Larry Daniels & Mary Hanson
Another special MG weekend comes to a close. As I pen these thoughts I remember the caravan with Oscar and Diana Gonzalez and Bill and Deb Mennell. Jake and Ann Snyder, John and Edith Hubbard and Barney Gaylord and son Elliott and Curt and Pam and Taylor Bork rounding out the Chicagoland contingent. When we meandered down Route 45 and arrived at the historic Jumer’s Castle Lodge, with its old world ambience, its Grosse Halle, and the Alumni Tap, with Mary Rose welcoming us, we knew we were going to experience another memorable MG weekend. But, we were not prepared for THEM!
Our first inkling of THEM was a chance encounter at the Alumni Tap when a green cone-headed creature (alias Chris Schroeder) sidled up next to us. My first fear was that he was an intergalactic mooch looking for a free earthling beverage. (God only knows what they drink there)! But, in fact, he was merely introducing us to a 2001 Space Oddity, featuring Star War characters.
As we approached their space party, we were subjected to a thorough decontamination, along with the application of sterile booties and a special headpiece that would identify us as “earthlings”. We never thought being called earthling would be so demeaning. The variety of “aliens” was astounding.
The evening was spent eating, dancing, and enjoying various alien games of skill. Each table was asked to work out a Lego device that would remove Castrol oil spills from the environment. Taylor Bork from our table presented an ingenious device we called an “Oil Socker” that would knock the oil from the planet. Unfortunately, there were some participates who were obviously graduates of either Cal Tech or M.I.T. who actually created a device that seemed plausible. Yeah!!!!
The opening party night at the Champagne British Car Festival sets the mood for the rest of the weekend. And boy did we need a mood. Saturday’s picnic cruise led us through three hours of some lovely countryside accompanied by unending rain, in fact, some hail. Now I know why my Midget has three windshield wipers. We had a delicious picnic lunch at a state park. An interesting number of minor breakdowns occurred during the cruise with Bill and Deb Mennell’s Alpine having a continuing flat tire problem, naturally on a country road where we were being threatened by trailer dogs.The leader of our group experienced a momentary fuel problem. As to be expected, you are never alone when your British Sports Car has a problem. Having a Jake Snyder near by is always a plus and highly recommended.
Saturday night found members either going on a double decker bus Pub Crawl, or winding their way through near by Pubs again accompanied by official British Rain.
Sunday morning broke with some sun but again the threat of rain, which did not occur. Of course, breakfast at the Elite Diner is required to start your day in Urbana. As this is a Multi-Marque show, there was a nice presentation including a Riley Elf. A local “oldies” radio station was present and a decent crowd of local people attended. Curt Bork and John Hubbard were trophy winners.
The winner of the 50/50 raffle was none other than lucky Bill Mennell. Hopefully some money will be used to acquire decent tires.
Recently I was in a staid office that had as a center piece a plaque that said something to the effect that “ I refuse to believe that being happy is a goal. Responsibility, dependability are.” However, I would put as a disclaimer this weekend as an exception. Our hosts, the Prairie Octagon MG Club and the Central Illinois Triumph Owner’s Association are to again be commended for their talents and creativity in hosting this very enjoyable weekend. The great effort, the attention to details, the genuine concern that attendees have a good time are hallmarks of this special weekend.
Next year’s show will have a 1950’s sock hop theme. Hmm-probably will not have to worry about costumes.
See Champagne British Car Festival pictures on line at