LAON, FRANCE 28-30 MAY 2011
By Sue & Graham Spencer
After enjoying Laon in 2008, despite the fact we got everyone lost when we acted as lead car (well, except for Alan who saw the sign saying which route to take), we decided to make a return visit. This time we were accompanied by our friends John and Bridget Trotman from the Wycombe MGOC in their MGTF.
Laon made us truly welcome, even decking out the streets with Union Jacks – and arranged absolutely perfect weather.
This year’s event was themed British Classic Cars and it certainly was an invasion of the Brits. The entry list was for 689 cars to participate of which, amazingly, 112 were MG’s, but even this was topped by Triumphs which had a staggering 118 entries. I must report that Sue was unfaithful and fell in love with an immaculate primrose yellow TR5 – but I couldn’t blame her, it was beautiful.
Saturday consisted of the cars being split into three groups, then doing a 110 km run through the local villages with a halfway break in St Quentin where everyone was provided with a picnic lunch, and being France this consisted of a baguette and beer. The morning tulip run was accomplished at quite a restricted pace as there were a lot of other cars, so in the afternoon we made a point of being one of the first cars away (with 600+ cars it can get a little congested). Our plan worked and we were able to enjoy a wonderful traffic free drive back to Laon Hippodrome where we were given champagne in a souvenir glass. This was followed by live music and a BBQ, which we opted to miss as we had found an excellent restaurant in town.
Sunday’s events started with a champagne reception party in the Town Hall from where it was possible to have an amazing, elevated view of the main square packed with classics. Being France, everyone then took an extended lunch. This was then followed by a parade around a closed street circuit. This consisted of a series of hair pin bends leading up to the old Medieval town with its narrow cobbled streets and then out through the new part of the town. As the afternoon proceeded, the pace of some of the cars increased and everyone had a lot of fun!! This was followed by another party in the Town Hall.
That evening we joined up with the Sunbeam Tiger Club (boy, those lads have got some loud exhausts!) and invaded a quiet little village for dinner. This brought the locals out with their cameras.
The homeward journey was made in baking sunshine with temperatures reaching 29 degrees but as we were travelling north the sun was behind us and with fantastic visibility. It was one of those days that made you buy your MG in the first place and do what many people now consider to be anti social – driving for fun!! An absolutely brilliant event.