As I wheeled my Triumph Tiger 800 motorcycle out of winter hibernation, the sun shone for the first event of 2013 – the Brooklands Museum New Year’s Day gathering. I rode out of London via the traffic-free A40, the festive excesses and soggy Christmas left rar behind in the rear-view mirror. Judging by the number of classics on the Brooklands museum approach, many other enthusiasts were revelling in the great driving conditions too.
Entering next to the clubhouse, the forecourt sported rows of vintage Bentleys – with Tim Ely, owner of Mike Hawthorn’s 1931 Riley Ulster Imp, somehow squeezing into the line-up. Visitors were not just die-hard car enthusiasts, but entire families taking a keen interest in the mind-boggling variety of automobiles on show. Owners gave graphic descriptions of discovery and restoration, while picnics were set up on the famous banked racetrack.
By 11am cars were still pouring in, and the total number on the site reached 1100, with nearly 5000 total visitors – making 2013 the most successful and well-attended New Year’s Day gathering to date. If the feast of classic cars wasn’t enough, visitors could also take in the many highlights of the Brooklands museum.
A serene and totally relaxed atmosphere surrounded the event, and for many provided the perfect opportunity to meet friends and chat to owners. As the winter sun set, I departed on roads crowded with historic vehicles – feeling sorry for the owner of a Messerschmitt KR200 bubble car, stopped in a lay-by with the bonnet up! A fantastic start to 2013.