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It is with a sense of pleasure and surprise that I am able to inform you of another Lotus victory in a major motorsport event...!
Sunday 27th September saw the first Harpers Hunt take place around the Sevenoaks area in Kent. What was conceived as a Club Lotus, Lotus-only, North Kent Lotus Group v Sussex Group event was, sadly, poorly attended by members of the club, with just one Sussex entry (Chris Thorpe and Wife in their M100 Elan) and one representative of NKLG (in the shape of Team Underdavies, also in an M100. John Underhay, owner/driver and a regular winner of similar events including two triumphs in the three Komosa Cups run to date, teamed up with fellow Lotus owner Simon Davies). In addition, we had a delightfully diverse line-up of participants: Three VW's (a Karmann Ghia Coupe, a subtly modified Golf VR6, and a not-so-subtle souped-up Polo), a Porsche Boxster, a Toyota MR2 Roadster, a Citroen Ami 8 Estate, an Austin Healey 3000, a Ford Mustang GT, and an unbelieveably "blinged-up" Renault Megane. Oh, and a Lotus Elan+2. And there you have the winner! A father and daughter team full of enthusiasm and determination to win, Team Croft!
At the team briefing, I warned participants that they should not attempt to answer all the questions and achieve all the challenges as there were simply TOO MANY for any team to complete. I am delighted to say Team Croft proved me wrong, managing to get almost all the points possible! We lost the Elan of Team Thorpe at the halfway stage due to prior commitments. We also discovered at lunch, held in the grounds of the National Trust's Knole Park, that Team Mitchell in the Healey had given up the ghost at the third clue, finding it impossible to negotiate the route and spot the answers as he had no navigator/spotter.
In 2nd place, Team Richardson in their beautiful VW Karmann Ghia coupe. 100pts. They were only just pipped to the post, leading on clue points (64 v 62 points) but losing out on The Challenges by two (worth 10 points each).
3rd Team Parfitt (Porsche Boxster) 95pts
4th Team Herbert (VW Polo) 74pts
5th Team Ney (VW Golf) 73pts
6th Team Phillips (Toyota MR2) 56pts
7th Team Underdavies (Lotus Elan) 51pts
8th Team Armstrong (Renault Megane) 49pts
9th Team Redington (Ford Mustang) 43pts. Followed Team Underdavies round the entire route and STILL scored fewer points than them!
10th Team Ireneschild (Citroen Ami Estate) 37pts. Only there for the picnic, but one of the fastest drivers of the event - into and out of the car park at the end!
11th Team Thorpe (Lotus Elan) 28.5pts. Not bad considering they only did half!
12th Team Howard (Honda CRV) 23pts. Arrived last, finished last. He was a good customer of mine...
I could not have put The Hunt on without the help of my son Tom who took care of the tech side of things, putting up and updating the website and sending e-mails, and my wife Andrea for putting her professional skills as a school class-room assistant to good use in marking the answers. I also need to thank them for allowing me the countless hours away from them, planning the route and clues.
Thanks also to Club Lotus for providing a Lotus DVD and Key ring as additional prizes. The DVD went to the highest placed Lotus (the winners) and the Key ring to Team Underdavies for competing and completing. Couldn't send John U home without a prize. Perhaps a year’s free membership for next year’s winner, Club Lotus???
Finally, I would like to sincerely thank all those who trusted me with their day and took part, without whom there would be no event.
PS I was so busy I didn't really get a good look at the cars. Next year!