44th Australian Hay Mini Nationals

In a controversial first, the 44th Australian Hay Mini Nationals was won outright by a non-Mini. It was also the first time that a woman has won the event, when Corinne East-Johnston took the honours in a Mazda 121.

Corrinne, from the Mini Car Club of NSW, is clearly no slouch behind the wheel, but the event is the most difficult motorkhana to win in Australia. After two runs each over six tests, the difference separating the top ten drivers was a mere 4.67 seconds.

Michael “Fly” Heslewood, president of the MCCNSW, finished second outright, taking the JKS trophy for the first Mini-based vehicle in his Moke – only 0.04 sec behind Corrinne.

Corrinne said later that she understood Fly’s disappointment completely, having been beaten into second place by the same margin a few years ago.

The Hay Mini Nationals has been held in the same area, almost exactly half way between Sydney and Adelaide around the Outback township of Hay, since 1968 – only once being cancelled due to flooding.

These days the weekend begins with a parade through the main street of the town on Saturday morning, with the cars turning around at the southern end of the township and returning – ensuring everyone has a chance to get plenty of photos.

The Show’n’Shine takes place in Moppett St, which is closed over one block in the centre of town to accommodate the growing number of Minis. This year’s show attracted the most spectators I have ever seen, with the street a swirling mass of humanity for much of the afternoon. A number of local community groups took advantage of the day as well, setting up food and craft stalls along one side of the street.

The six classes are becoming more hotly contested each year, and the overall quality of the cars continues to improve. Bob Moylan won Best Original BMC/Morris with his recently restored yellow Morris 850 (with number plates BMC848) and it is good to see more people prepared to trailer a car all the way to Hay just for the Show’n’Shine. The show began as a bit of a filler event, to give everyone something to do on the Saturday afternoon, and is now becoming more seriously contested and respected as an event in its own right.

Sunday remains the main feature of the weekend, though. Weather this year was perfect, and the conditions for farmers are the best in years. This meant that the motorkhana ground out at the property of local Toyota dealer Ian Lugsden and family had plenty of grass coverage. However, because of the dry weather on the day, the dirt was soon flying and the air filled with dust.

If you would like to read the rest of this story, order your copy of Issue 28 of The Mini Experience. <plumshop>50</plumshop> <plumshop>51</plumshop>

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