Lords Of The Dust!

Driving a Moke meant special protection

Words and photos by Craig Watson.

This year’s Hay may have been the driest and dustiest on record, but even the dust couldn’t tarnish the smiles of all who attended.

Due to the on-going drought, which has affected the Hay area as badly as any other in the country, there was not a green blade of grass to be seen on the property of Ian and Stacey Lugsden, where the motorkhana is held. With nothing to hold the ground together, and no decent rain for over a year, the motorkhana area was a dust bowl as soon as the first wheels turned in anger.

Within an hour, the dust being kicked up by the 70 or so Minis and Mokes, and a handful of other cars, was so thick at times that many competitors were taking wrong directions, as the flags vanished from view. Some other competitors paused momentarily for the dust to clear, before continuing on.

With six tests being conducted concurrently, and running all day, the entire area was under a brown haze.

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This is the face of one of the true heroes of the Hay Mini Nationals, Julie Potts.

Julie didn’t win any thing in the motorkhana. Nor did she overcome formidable odds in the Hay Heroes Challenge. She was one of the many tireless volunteer officials, who stood at Their posts all Sunday, recording times of competitors in arguably the driest and dustiest Hay on record.

If you thought conditions in the motorkhana were difficult for drivers – often losing there way, missing flags and, in one case, even ending up on the wrong course, because of the thick choking dust – then spare a thought for all those officials who bore the brunt of the conditions without complaint.

The attitude of these wonderful people summed up the whole spirit of the event – that no matter what the weather, or how furious the competition, the Hay Mini Nationals are about friends coming together and having fun, with the competition of (slightly) secondary importance.

Without these friendly and enthusiastic officials, who brave wind, rain, heat and dust, and come back year after year to do it again, club-level (and indeed even national and international level) motorsport simply wouldn’t happen.

So, to all the volunteer officials at all our events, The Mini Experience extends a big Thankyou. Watto.

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