The Pre-War Minor Network’s Tenth Rally
THE MOONRAKERS’ RALLY
Marlborough, 7th, 8th and 9th June 2019
The 2019 rally will be hosted once again by Ken and Kate Martin and based in the old market and former coaching-stage town of Marlborough in Wiltshire where the 2013 PWMN Rally was held.
Marlborough is a focal point in the chalkland North Wessex Downs – a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The River Kennet flows through the town and the ancient woodland of Savernake Forest, lies to the south east.
The name given to the Rally comes from an old Wiltshire folk story about brandy smugglers which will be revealed to entrants in the Rally Handbook – although curious readers could find it via Google.
Marlborough is on the old strategic route west from London to Bath and beyond. Another main route crosses the town northwards from Salisbury, 30 miles to the south. It became particularly important in the great days of stage-coach travel (170-300 years ago) which led to the construction of large inns for stabling ‘stage’ horses and providing accommodation for travellers. The coming of the Great Western Railway in 1840 through Swindon 15 miles to the north, led to a rapid decline in the coaching trade and the largest coaching inn – the former ‘Castle Inn’ of c1715 – was turned into the imposing centre-piece of the Marlborough College quadrangle at the west end of the town.
There is much archeological evidence close by, of ancient human habitation in the form of earthworks, burial sites, mysterious mounds and rings of massive stones. The Saturday Rally will go close to Stonehenge, but unfortunately there will not be time to visit this site, or see it from the route, as the only vantage points from a car are on the often congested A303 highway. However, an option to visit Avebury – a World Heritage Site with its famous stone circle 6 miles from Marlborough – will be available on Sunday afternoon, which is traditionally free of formal rally arrangements. Avebury is a delightful village with a pub and the National Trust managed Manor House, tithe barn museum, restaurant, tea room and shop. Near to Avebury are the mysterious Silbury Hill and a Neolithic tomb – the West Kennet Long Barrow.
PLANNED OUTLINE RALLY ITINERARY
All entrants will receive a detailed itinerary with times.
Friday 7th June
In the early evening, assemble in the centre of Marlborough at The Castle & Ball Inn to take the important opportunity to spend a pleasant and hopefully enjoyable few hours meeting the other entrants, looking at the cars and receiving the Rally Pack, including the Rally Handbook, from Ken and Kate. It will be necessary to book a table if a meal is required. There are numerous alternative eateries in Marlborough from Rick Stein’s restaurant to take-away kebab shops.
Saturday 8th June
Crews assemble with their cars at a reasonably early time at St George’s Church car park Marlborough (where the 2013 rally started), for the pre-grand-tour gathering and rally group photograph in advance of the start. The Church toilet will be available.
The all-day tour of about 80 miles, will consist of a Grand Circuit of Central Wiltshire, including the Avon and Wylye Valleys, and the vast Salisbury Plain where plenty of evidence of its use since the 19th century for military training will be seen, including a mock village. Coffee, lunch and tea stops are being planned along the way.
At 6.00pm assemble at Marlborough Golf Club, situated on Marlborough Common on the northern edge of the town about half-a-mile from the Town Hall, for the social evening and dinner. This is a very important highlight of the weekend when good food and drink fuel all sorts of conversational topics and lead light-heartedly to the presentation of the annual awards. All rally attendees are encouraged to attend this function – in fact it is almost obligatory! Newcomers can be assured that no one will be left in a corner on their own and a good social evening can be anticipated, as has been the case at the past nine rallies.
The dinner will consist of a two-course hot-buffet with several options of mains, vegetables and desert courses to choose from, including for vegetarians. This avoids the need to send out menus to entrants and it is less expensive. This option also often provides opportunities for second helpings! The club bar will be open and wine can be bought for the table.
Sunday 9th June
Crews assemble with their cars at a reasonably early time at the Marlborough Golf Club car park for more banter and photographs before leaving for the half-day tour – the afternoon being free of rally arrangements.
The tour will be within the North Wessex Downs, leaving Marlborough along the Kennet Valley to Ramsbury, Hungerford and Kintbury, before turning south, passing from Wiltshire into the West Berkshire and Hampshire Downs affording some wonderful views. A coffee stop is being planned and there will be a further option to stop at the Crofton Beam Engines café and a look around the engine and pumping house if desired. Wilton Windmill is also very close by. The distance covered will be about 45 miles back to Marlborough.
An option will be given in the Rally Handbook to extend the tour through the Vale of Pewsey on to Avebury to see the attractions mentioned above. The total mileage back to Marlborough with this option will be about 60miles.
In the early evening a farewell gathering will be held at The Castle & Ball Inn for those able to stay on. At this time as in the past, stories of the weekend’s events are expected to be discussed, embellished and possibly laughed at, over another drink or two. Once again it will be advisable to book a table if a meal is required.
The main purpose of the rally is to have fun with our old cars in the good company of like-minded people. The previous nine rallies have been acclaimed by entrants for the way they have combined good vintage motoring through wonderful countryside, with ample opportunities to meet old friends and make new ones. An important and notable feature of the previous rallies is the way in which first-time entrants are made welcome and brought into the fold.
The rally is non-competitive and a Rally Handbook and Rally Name-Plate with Number (to fit onto the car) are supplied to all entrants on the Friday evening. Clear tested route instructions are given in the illustrated Handbook together with maps and information such as telephone numbers of the hosts, a list of entrants’ names and their car details, the location of petrol stations, and a few general notes about the sites and countryside that the routes pass through.
The tours will of course be Morris Minor friendly on mainly traffic-free lanes and roads through beautiful countryside, villages and some small towns, with just a few low-gear hills.
The Rally Entry Form must be filled in, signed and returned by each entrant to the organisers. There are several ways indicated on the form to pay the Rally Fee, which aims to cover the essential costs. A further request will be made later for monies to cover any of the options that are taken up, including the all-important Saturday evening dinner.
Ken and Kate Martin are looking forward to welcoming entrants to the rally in Marlborough once again and hope that this event will build on the previous successes and shine a spotlight on Morris Minors and their owners, as well as the others in MG Midgets, Wolseley Hornets and different old cars who like joining us and will be made very welcome.