HAY MINI NATIONALS – A ONE OF A KIND RACE.
Once a year, MINI enthusiasts from all over Australia gather in Hay, in regional New South Wales, to share in their love for their cars. The event’s organiser, Declan Dwyer, says it’s a grass-roots festival that brings people together, and has seen generations of MINI fans grow their love for the cars. As well as a street parade, the event includes a motorkhana, testing the skills of drivers as young as 12 years old. The race often takes a back seat though – the focus of the weekend is being among the MINI community.
Russell Kerwin, Kyabram, Victoria
1975 Clubman GT (a clone)
“After I got back from Vietnam, when I was younger, I bought a Mini. We had a couple of little kids so I traded it in for a Mini DeLuxe. Then I bought a Cooper S, which I hillclimbed a lot. They’re just wonderful little things. This one is made out of a couple of Minis we found in a paddock.
You even notice it on the roads, when you see traffic coming towards you, people always wave to you when you’re driving a MINI. And everywhere you go, someone will come up and talk to you, everyone has a MINI story. Mate, they are just so much fun to drive. What more do you need to say?”
Craig Adams, Adelaide, South Australia
Mini Cooper S
“I’m a rally co-driver, and my dad was a rally co-driver, so I followed in his footsteps. There’s something about MINIs that you can’t quite put your finger on. They’re iconic, they’re individual – even though they all look similar, they’re pretty unique. I think everyone who has a MINI has made it their own in some way. Even in the 60s and 70s, when all the famous rockstars had them, they were personalised in some way.”
“MINI owners come from all walks of life and all backgrounds, and all have this shared interest. Everyone is willing to help, everyone shares advice. It’s amazing how many people love something so much. This is my forever car. There will be another one eventually, but this is my pride and joy."
Ken Bracken, Melbourne, Victoria
1965 Mini Ute
“I did my apprenticeship working on Minis back in the early 1960s. When I was 18 I bought a Morris 850, mum liked it so much she took it, and I bought a 1963 Mini Cooper. In a minute of madness I sold it. About 10 years ago I got the bug for Minis again, and I bought a restored Mini Cooper S from South Australia, then another one that had come up for sale in New Zealand.
They’re a great little car, they handle well, and they go really quick. The ute that I’ve got, I’ve done that up to racing specs. I love being able to go fast in them.
The MINI community is terrific – you meet a lot of lovely people, and also to get ideas on how they feel about their cars and the passion that they’ve got for their cars and the detail they go to. What I’ve found interesting over the past few years is the number of young people racing these days, it’s great. It makes me feel like MINIs are being revived.”