MGB Register Spring Run

By Ollie Brant

Neil Brant’s MGB GT sporting the MGB Register 2022 Spring Run plaque. Photo: Neil Brant

I had not been in the GT since the Car Club social meet at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon in October. It felt really small compared to our daily car and almost like a go-kart. We set off for the Spring Run early on Sunday morning, it had been a clear cold night and there was frost on the ground across the fields as we left home and once outside of town, we could see a dozen hot air balloons in the sky over Bath. Our route was familiar, into Wiltshire and up to Devizes to join the A4 at Avebury before going onto Marlborough and then heading north to Swindon.

Chrome glinting in the Spring Sunshine at Millets Farm. Photo: David Shannon

To the south of Swindon, we came across a group of supercars pulling into a petrol station, there were several Ferraris and a couple of Porsches. We pulled in for petrol on the other side of Swindon and as dad fussed about trying to pay for his fuel using his phone app (it didn’t work and he had to go into the shop) several Subarus pulled in too. It seemed that a lot of enthusiasts were out that morning enjoying their cars and the spring fair weather.

It wasn’t far from the petrol station to Millets Farm and we arrived to park up in the first line of MGs. It was good to see that as well as MGBs there were
other models including a very smart blue and white MG YB, Midgets, MGCs and MG TFs, and the older TD and TFs. After chatting to a few people in the car park we went through to the restaurant to sign on and be given our bag of paperwork and instructions.

I was navigator for the day so I had to read through the notes as I drank my hot chocolate and ate my Danish (it was very tasty). I’d looked on the internet
beforehand to see what Tulip notes were and they seemed straightforward. After looking around all the gathered cars in the car park and taking some photographs we got ready to set off just after 10.00am, following the route notes although Dad nearly missed the second turning, but at least he got out of the car park.

A good variation of MGs took part in the Spring Run. Photo: Mark Rathbone

MGs gather at Millets Farm for the start of the Run. Photo: David Shannon

The GT brakes had cooled down whilst we had breakfast and they were squealing, so Dad decided he was going to warm them up. He braked heavily a couple of times and on the third occasion locked the wheels up, creating a screech and a cloud of rubber smoke behind us. One day he will learn.

The Spring Run route followed mainly country lanes and tracks which we would never have used otherwise, and we got to see a lot of the Cotswolds hidden away. In one very small village there was a large BMW X5 police car parked up; we thought that was strange in the middle of nowhere, maybe they knew we were coming.

We didn’t manage to catch up any of the other participants that left before us, but we did stop to offer help to the driver in a Midget that was parked up, and after a minute or so recapping on where we were in the Tulip notes we carried on. A short while later a white MGB with a rally plate on passed us in the opposite direction, which we found quite funny as one of us was clearly heading in the wrong direction, but they still managed to get there before us.

After each junction or turn I would read the next set of instructions to Dad, however every time, 30 seconds later he would ask me what we were going to do next. After two hours of this I was getting a bit annoyed but I kept it to myself. After just over two hours and 20 minutes we completed the Spring Run course and thanks to my navigation, and continuous reminding of what I had already told him, we didn’t overshoot or miss a single turn. This was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this and it was great fun. Dad and I had watched some videos on YouTube of hero rallies across China and Mongolia and talked about how exciting something like that would be. I’m not sure how the Cotswolds compare to Mongolia but it was the best driving day I’ve had.

Mass U-turn after missing inconspicuous turning enroute. Photo: Mark Rathbone

At Broughton Castle we set out our picnic and relaxed whilst watching the other cars arrive. In the afternoon we took the tour of the castle which was really interesting. I learned the origins of the term ‘hat-trick’, which was good to know as a keen footballer. I’ve scored hat-tricks in my time, but sadly not this season. In a glass case was the oldest known hat awarded to a cricketer who had scored a hat-trick.

Whilst driving we had spotted a very smart Jaguar saloon (Dad thinks it was an MK10) in a local village. It turned up at Broughton Castle, with the owner opening up the bonnet to show off the shining engine, and I looked inside to see the leather seats and woodwork. I really like MGs but this Jaguar was really stunning.

We set off home mid-afternoon and Dad was telling me about the route along the A361, past some famous people’s farms – Jeremy Clarkson and Harry Metcalfe. I knew who one of them was but not the other, but it seemed to please Dad that he was driving where they tested their cars. To be honest I fell asleep part of the way home, that’s quite something in an MGB.

We got home early evening and Dad went about putting the car in the garage whilst I went on my phone to chat to friends about what I had done today. I’m looking forward to my next journey in the GT. I’m sure it won’t be as long a wait as last time.

The MGB Register gazebo, set up and welcoming people at the finish. Photo: John Watson

Broughton Castle provides the perfect backdrop at the finish. Photo: John Watson

A Big Thank You to Ollie for taking the time to put pen to paper or fingers to keys. We are glad to see you had fun!!