RREC Central Southern Section
Past Events

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 May 2003

This year's rally was the culmination of almost two year's planning following our desire to hold the rally at the new home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Towards the end of 2002 it was clear that the ground (landscaping) around the new Plant would not be mature enough to take our heavy Club cars. With the help of Project Rolls-Royce, adjacent, available, suitable venues were sought and the choice settled on Goodwood Racecourse. Following the mailing of the yellow flyer over eleven hundred members had indicated an interest in visiting the new Plant, around four hundred and seventy in the Black Tie Dinner and over four hundred motor cars for the Sunday Rally. It was thus established that this year's South of England Rally would consist of three elements over two days. The entry forms were sent out in March 2003 and by 1 May nine hundred members had booked for the Plant tours, one hundred for the Black Tie Dinner and three hundred and seventy motor cars for the Sunday Rally.

With such a large number of members wishing to visit the Manufacturing Plant and to accommodate Surrey Section members (who were celebrating their 20th Anniversary Weekend at Brooklands) it was agreed with Rolls-Royce that there would be six tours on the Saturday and three tours on the Sunday morning. Our Section provided all the marshals for the restricted car parking at the Plant and according to plan, members' cars were received, parked and able to leave without congestion or problems. Our marshals also arranged and guided the parties of twenty members down one side of the Plant buildings to be greeted by RR guides at the entrance near the paint shop. Quite a number of members expressed their appreciation and thanks for the opportunity to tour the Plant. The weather on both days stayed virtually dry which made the job of the marshals so much easier - a big 'thank you' to Tony Leach, Simon Buck, Andrew Honour, Ralph Taylor, Dick Lees, Maurice Pitchford, Eri and Annie Heilijgers, Paul Capper, David Steel, Michael Marriage, Chris Broom, Brian Mayers and Dennis Windows.

The Black Tie Dinner was held in the Charlton Suite overlooking the track at Goodwood Racecourse with views in the opposite direction to Chichester. Our Rolls-Royce guests were Tony Gott and Marnie, Axel Oesterling, Dieter Uldehoven, and Fred and Monika Fruth. We were also pleased to welcome Monty and Ian, and their ladies, from sponsors Montague & Co. The meal was prepared and served by the in-house caterers and over coffee R-R Chairman Tony Gott gave us a brief resume of the current progress of the Company and the Plant.

Ted Meachem's table   Tony Leach's table
At the Saturday evening dinner Tony (Section Chairman) and Daphne Leach hosted a table with R-R Chairman Tony Gott and Marnie,
Eric (Club President) and Grace Barrass, Jane (Club Chairman) and Rob Pedler. Ted (Rally Secretary) and Kate Meachem hosted a table with Fred and Monika Fruth and other guests.   Photos: Kanchu McAllister.

The Sunday Rally Ground was situated on the other side of the road from the racecourse buildings. Our marquees and temporary toilets had been positioned in the previous days, and by 8am both Taylor's and Montague's personnel were setting up. There was a slight problem in that one of the marquees ordered had not turned up. Without the slightest hesitation Doug Groves accepted the situation and began setting up the Spares Stall between the two marquees that were in position. Taylor's agreed to give up one third of their marquee for the Club Shop and Montague & Co kindly moved their wheel stock to provide space in their marquee for the Raffle prize table. What fortitude, generosity and comradeship in a difficult situation! At nine o'clock the gate marshal's 'office' arrived by courtesy of Tony Leach's daughter Alison and soon after a new Rolls-Royce Phantom arrived to be displayed for the day. Richard Smith and his team of marshals took up their positions on the field as did those stalwarts Tommy Welham and Philip Francis on the gate (ably assisted by their wives). The early members started to arrive and the raffle ticket sellers began their task braving the stiff breeze. There was soon a steady stream of Club cars arriving as the wandering Jazz Band began to play. As the morning wore on members who had been touring the Plant also began arriving. The rally ground was quite large but the lines soon had to be extended to accommodate almost four hundred Club cars and over fifty non-Club cars. The local radio station interviewed a number of club members and there was great interest all day in the Phantom motor car. At three o'clock the raffle prize draw took place and was completed just before the first rain shower of the day. Thanks to Clifton and Isabel Spencer for organising the raffle.

Nearly eight hundred pounds of spares changed hands at the Spares Stall thanks to the Groves family, Dick Lees and Michael Marriage. The Club shop reported record takings. Our thanks to both our sponsors Montague & Co and Taylor's who reported very good interest from the membership and a worthwhile day. Our thanks to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd for displaying the Phantom. Thanks to all the marshals, ticket sellers and everyone who helped to make the day a success despite the wind.

Ted Meachem - Section / Rally Secretary

Rolls-Royces on display
Ian Odds' 1914 RR Silver Ghost David Evans' 1923 RR 20hp
Some of the more colourful entries that brightened the day included Ian Odds' purple 1914 RR Silver Ghost Double Cabriolet by Barker, chassis no 20 RB, and David Evans' yellow 1923 RR 20hp Hamshaw Laundaulette, chassis no 58 S1.
Graham Benge interviews Fred Fruth   The new Rolls-Royce Phantom
The new Rolls-Royce Phantom attracted a lot of attention throughout the day. Fred Fruth, General Manager Public Affairs of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, talking about the new car, was interviewed by
Graham Benge for his SpiritFM motoring programme.
Photos: Ian Burt