Bubble Bath Rally 2022

Bubble Bath Rally 2022 (Teresa Swinford)Bubble Bath Rally 2022 (Teresa Swinford)

H
eld over the weekend of the 1st – 3rd July 2022, the Bristol Microcar Club Rally, was, so I understand, a deliberately low-key event to test what was a new venue, for the first rally after a two-year, enforced sabbatical!

Sadly, my own ability to attend Rallies of any description has been severely limited for the past ten years or so, but what was the Bath Microcar Rally was always at the top of my agenda, being a West of England event and where I could guarantee to meet up with good, like-minded friends.

I thank Alan Hitchcock for providing the basis and inspiration for this ‘second-hand' report, based largely on his Facebook article, which you can read in full here: (to open in a new tab, control click — Good Weekend). However, I hope the following will achieve a more diverse audience and encourage a repeat of the event in 2023., which in all fairness has struggled a little, for several years now. I would also like to acknowledge Wynford Jones' daughter, Teresa Swinford, who posted a number of photographs of the event on Facebook, one of which I have used, and which were shared by the Rally venue, Sweet's Tea Rooms on their own Facebook page, here: (to open in a new tab, control click — Sweets Tea Rooms).

Big Al reported that having set off early on the 3rd July before the traffic got going, to do the 88 miles from home, near Swindon. to the Rally at Sweet's Tea Rooms, in the heart of the Sedgemoor Levels, between the Nature Reserves of Westhay & Shapwick on the B3151 between Wedmore and Glastonbury. He reported having had a ‘stunningly good run' so possibly arriving a little early, which he says was no bad thing. He wrote that it was good to see that perhaps a half of the cars had been driven to the event, and most of the rest were used for the road run. The original Bath Rally, was, in fact, a day event held in Victoria Park, where folk drove their microcar to meet up. Times change, writes Alan, but that heritage remains. Trojans driven from Harrogate and from deepest Shropshire, and a Berkeley from the Isle of Wight, for instance. Moving the event away from its traditional area should not have changed that, and Indeed the local Somerset lanes were possibly much easier to drive with a Microcar, than Bath, which has tended not to encourage motor-car use in recent times.

Alan writes that the turnout for an event, held at a completely new venue and advertised only a month or so beforehand, was reasonable. A two year, enforced CoviD break, might have also affected turnout, and indeed, Alan went on to write that CoviD had had an impact on this event, as some participants who he expected to see, were having to self-isolate! Alan also thought that the Bond Owners Club AGM, held at the weekend, would have prevented some other stalwarts from attending. Alan mused that friends were missing too, since we have lost some wonderful people over the past two years, including some, who although still with us, were unable to attend due to long term illnesses. Alan wrote that he still failed to get around the field, as so many chums were present to speak with, even if they had not brought a car with them! However, there were new friends, to replace old and he got to meet Louise Barrett of Willam two-seater fame, for instance. All the way from Surrey, but not, unfortunately, with the car.

Alan writes that the venue, Sweet's Tea Rooms, at first sounding like the middle of nowhere, and possibly limiting, was indeed in the middle of nowhere, but conspicuously up for it! It seemed like the Tea Room management has passed on to the next generation, and that they have ideas to increase the services they can offer. So, although Alan believed it was not a ‘campsite' at the present, there was talk of more space and a new toilet block, set away from the Tea Rooms, so it can become a ‘proper campsite'! He noted that temporary event notice had been obtained for the Rally, and some rather good live Glastonbury Ale had been put on tap. This might well become a permanent license soon! Alan reported that access by road, from the M5, was much better than it looked on the map. Two routes, really, one straight there, or one via Wedmore, the direct route being far less troubled by speed limits, including 20mph zones!

Alan remained late into the Sunday evening, enjoying the discussion, supper prepared by the hosts, who remained open late, and more beer, before returning home on empty roads, during the early hours of Monday! A good few were staying Sunday night, or longer, to enjoy a break in the rural Somerset levels. Alan writes that it was agreed by those in attendance, that the message should be ‘DO IT AGAIN'!

So, the date for next year? Easy to remember, being first weekend in July, for those long light evenings. Note Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July!