8th November 2003
by Robin Williams (Evil Dr Fish)
After the massive disappointment of the Throckmorton airfield 'filming day' being cancelled, 62 dejected Esprit owners were faced with a choice of sitting at home crying into their drinks or getting of their backsides and arranging a couple of impromptu, loosely organised regional / local meets.
Those of us who were going to meet at South Mimms services decided would still met up at the slightly more sociable time of 9am and head for Brighton.
After just over an hour of chatting, coffee consumption and map consultation we said goodbye to Tony who unfortunately couldn't come on the run but had met up just to say hi and headed off anticlockwise around the M25 towards Heathrow.
We arranged to meet up with David McKenna as a "Rolling Meet" and called him as we approached the M4 junction and he belted down a slip road! There on the inside lane was a rather nice Yellow GT3 "minding its' own business!" and we made a 70mph rendez-vous on the M25. No encouragement was needed and we made our own entertainment as we made our way around to and down the M23.
Just past Gatwick we paused at Pease Pottage services to pick up Jason and his S4s which, it turned out, was misbehaving a little. As we approached Brighton the traffic started to back up and a *very* hasty U-Turn was made - I wish we had a picture of the face of the driver behind us! A bit of creative navigation later and we were on the strip heading East into the centre of Brighton. Hogging both lanes the five of us rumbled into town and announced our presence!
Generously, it seemed that Brighton had kept a loading bay clear for us, right in front of the Pier. It was the perfect size to squeeze 5 Esprits into.
The locals seemed to take quite an interest in the cars as did a passing photographer. We even met a couple of Lotus 7 / Caterham club members who stopped to chat a while.
While we were waiting for Mike and his 1985 Turbo to arrive we attempted to diagnose Jason's power problem and Derrick Oliver armed with nothing more than the standard Lotus toolkit performed two hasty roadside Ram-Air modifications to Davids' and Adams' cars.
Adam gave us the following review of the modifcations and the work involved... After much thinking about it, and looking at what was involved, I decided that doing the Ram Air thing was a really good idea and well within my abilities. I am not sure about the power difference if any but it really makes the sound amazing. You get a lovely whoosh and a great flutter right behind your ear which really add to the overall driving experience. For those of you, like me, who are not too good at stuff like this or nervous to try it, I would suggesest looking at the LEW modifications page and making sure you have the appropriate tools, which are one screwdriver as found in your toolkit, and a knife & wire cutters if you want to shorten the pipe (I did not as I wanted it to be simple to reverse, and I did not have a cutter to hand) and one Derrick Oliver. The last is an unusual device which does fit rather neatly in the boot of an Esprit.
Mike Ring arrived after an interesting mornings' Esprit-ing of his own and being more familiar with the local area suggested he lead us in a run up to a lovely inn on Beachy Head along some great A roads. Due to his power problems Jason unfortunately had to head back as we set off.
John performed an extremely impressive overtaking manoeuvre around a bus on a blind bend - only to come face to face with a Police traffic car coming the other way - Dave was behind him and saw the copper's face - brilliant - just a shame he didn't have a passenger with a camera!
The A roads turned out to be extremely entertaining and challenging in equal measures and at one point we were being thrown all over the place as the surface was so bumpy. Well... I suppose we *could* have slowed down but wouldn't that have just defeated the point?!
We parked up causing the usual stir and had a meal while we swapped Esprit war stories and compared notes on the journey up.
It was beginning to get dark so Mike led the convoy back towards Crawley before making his way back south and west. We took to the M23 then M25 once again but the traffic was just too heavy to really make the most of it safely. Having thought the convoy had all been split up in the traffic, four of us did manage to meet up at South Mimms once again for a final review of the days activities and to then make our separate ways home.
All in all a fantastic day out which clutched victory from the jaws of defeat and saved us all from a day of Esprit-less tedium. Next is to really make an entrance at the Lotus parts fair at Stoneleigh.....
Derrick Oliver has asked us to add the following information for those who may be interested...If the agreement on my modified genetic cloning products go ahead I may be able to offer the new compact permanently installed Derrick , the Del. Fits in the glovebox of any Lotus and available for emergency use. The Del has many of the features of the Derrick but at a fraction of the size, with it's own mobile technology the Del can communicate with the full size Derrick for those more demanding issues.
The secondary upgrade for the Del is a specialist device known as the 'boy'. The Delboy is especially good for those bargaining situations for ex Russian military stock or if you credibility has been raised a notch too far and needs to be quickly deflated. Available soon from no known shops at all. Totally unreasonably priced. With a 90 day money back guarantee if not totally satisfied (*terms apply) Get your orders in now.
Your life will never be same without a Del.....*only applicable to residents of the moon on production of valid passport and 14 living relatives as proof.
Photo Credits: Adam Gumbiner, Derrick Oliver, Robin Williams