Brian Poole offers this advice to those who may consider organising a meeting with other members. Brian is well placed to offer this advice having now arranged two very successful day drives, most recently the North Wales drive around Great Orme Head where Dave Maddock helped out with his local knowledge. I really hope that they will inspire some further runs as I know how much people enjoy them. Thank you Brian and Dave..
New Barchetta ownership in 2011 and two to three years of never seeing or meeting any other owner led me to believe that I was the only Barchetta in North Staffordshire and surrounding counties!
I often read on Facebook,
“Love your photos. That is near me, I would have joined you if I had known.”
“How about members living in such and such an area having a meeting?”
“Let me know when you’re having a meeting in my area?
These comments come to nothing and are lost the next day as they slide down the Facebook listings / messages. However, on the UK Owners’ Club Website pages events are advertised and simple to access.
The UK Barchetta Owners’ Club Website seeks volunteers to organise or help organise events around the country. These can be as simple as a Sunday lunch meet or a day drive. We are invited to come forward with suggestions of planned trips.
I have now done this twice. I have been assisted by The Club, through Martin Garrad who has contacted members living within a reasonable travelling distance and then arranged for the event to be advertised on the website.
Here are my suggestions for locally arranged meetings:
The Sunday Lunch Meet:
A local pub with a nice beer garden, canal or riverside location will suit my requirements. Alternatively a tourist destination spot, we all have somewhere that we like to go for a short ride out, or a local car show etc. That is where I first met another member of The Owners’ Club and have enjoined other meetings with them since. It is easy to arrange and simple to ask others to join you.
A Day Drive Around Your Own Area:
Easily arranged and it’s surprising who and how many members could turn up. My experience is to plan for and expect four Barchettas and be delighted if seven arrive! In all honesty too many cars raises the risk of parking issues and keeping a group together, especially in towns. Martin has collated and circulated a list of attendees. With owners’ permission mobile numbers can be used to keep in touch with each other.
A Full Day Out:
Choose somewhere that has ample parking for the start meeting point. Supermarkets, garden centres or any other Sunday shopping outlets can be ideal; in particular they should have toilets and possibly a cafe that early arrivals can use.
I recommend a mid morning start time which will allow members travelling slightly further afield to be included. This is the opportunity for people to mingle, use the facilities and introduce themselves. It is always fascinating to see and compare cars.
My experience is that your drive doesn’t have to be of any great mileage, it just needs several places of interest along the route to stop and regroup. Remember car parking, toilets and snacks. My wife Hanna noticed that at each stop, as people become friendly, it takes a little longer to get going again. If you are able to produce a basic map with post-coded way-marks for your stops it will lessen the risk of losing anyone. You will be familiar with the route and can lead the convoy.
The final stop doesn’t have to be the start, try to identify a beer garden or similar venue where members can continue to relax and really get to know each other. Possibly have a meal for those travelling from out of the area. It also gives you the opportunity to find out how successful the day was, you can ask for suggestions. You may also be able to encourage someone else to arrange their own meeting!
Finally if the day and route prove popular you may consider repeating the same route, or with minor changes the following year.
The Club does require a simple disclaimer to be signed before an event. This is a reminder to comply with traffic laws and also to obey the golden rule when in a convoy of “Never overtake another Barchetta except in an emergency.”
Hopefully, together, we can end the disappointment of members looking for meetings that they have already missed or are never arranged.
Hope to see you at a Club meeting near you soon!