IOW Figaro Rally 2014

Over the 13th/14th September 2014 35 Figaros (some from Europe) set off from the Lakeside Hotel to explore the stunning scenery and outstanding natural beauty of the Isle of Wight. The locals promised us sunshine and delivered this is buckets! The busy schedule included Ventor Esplanade, Ventor Botanic Gardens, The Needles, Yarmouth, Cowes, Shanklin, Sandown, Culver Downs, Vintage Locations, Ryde and the Garlic Farm! The Dinner/Dance on Saturday evening also went down well with lots of drinking & dancing and even a 77th Birthday (Barbara xxx).

Our weekend started really early on Saturday morning; with Foxy checked, cleaned and loaded up we headed off to Portsmouth for the 8am ferry, collecting our first convoy of the weekend with Angela and Patricia joining us in the lovely blue Bella at Arundel. Getting to Portsmouth took no time at all, and we passed some amazing cars going in opposite direction heading to the Goodwood Revival. We got to Portsmouth too early so we had a coffee and some croissants and were able to get the 7.30am ferry. Just 45 minutes later we were in the Isle of Wight. 5 minutes from the Ferry Port at Fishbourne we found the hotel, we knew we were in the right place as one of the first things we saw was a line of parked Figgys glinting in the sunshine. After dropping off our bags, a quick walk round and some more tea we began meeting up with other owners and it was so nice to put faces to names (Hello Colin and Lesley, aka Mr. Boatman and Beloved). Kevin gathered us all together in the car park and more, more and more Figaro’s arrived, all the roofs came down. The briefing started, and Kevin got his pointer out. Lots of cheering and clapping to welcome couples from France, Holland and even Scotland.

The convoy left the hotel and you can imagine how great we all looked snaking down the hotel drive. We headed off to Ventnor Esplanade, following the convoy was fine until the traffic lights did their best to split us up, then the fun really started as we got lost in groups, meeting up at junctions and watching peoples reactions as they realised how many Figaro’s were passing. We found our way to Ventnor Botanic Gardens which was a beautiful spot, we had more tea and more photos. Travelling along the Military Road was one of my highlights the views were amazing and the sight of 30 plus Figaro’s in a long stream was breathtaking. After slight changes to the route we headed off to the Needles – time for Kevin to rush around trying to get photos of us all by our cars, he nearly managed it, and time for me to sample some ice cream. Yarmouth was our lunch stop although slightly later than planned and it had some lovely little lanes and shops to explore and a seafront to watch the boats. On our way to Cowes next and the convoy managed to get split up again, we were leading at one time only to be meet by another group coming from a different direction, so we joined them and found a car park, suddenly everyone else arrived and it was a joy to see everyone joining us. A quick nip into East Cowes for a walk and then off we went again, some managed the Cowes chain ferry, but after following a blue fig (won’t mention names Kevin) we went the wrong way and following a another lovely Blue fig with sat nav (thank you Rebekah) we got back to the hotel. Everyone meeting up in the car park to tell the funny stories about their journeys and how wonderful it was to be together. Time for another cup of tea and then get ready for the dinner dance, food was excellent, drinks were flowing and as for the dancing!!!!

Sunday started with well deserved full English and the 9.30am briefing, again outside in the sunshine, more photo opportunities and Kevin got his pointer out again!

The lead Fig today was the beautiful gold one driven by Valerie as she’s a local girl. We all set off to Shanklin Esplanade, sun shining and roofs down, waving and beeping at everyone, then a quick park up at Sandown Esplanade for some more photos and admiring public, Foxy and Bella managed to squeeze into one parking space. Culver Down was the next stop after another scenic drive, we all got into the car park and the views were amazing almost the full view of the island, after numerous photos we slowly wound our way down to visit Vintage Vacations in Ashey, this beautiful campsite is surrounded by shiny airstream caravans. After parking in a long row though the middle of it we were treated to home made cake with teas and coffee in china cups and saucers, the sun was warm and the caravans very inviting all with vintage interiors, we were sorry to leave.

But our next visit was into Ryde were we were stopping at a Charity Classic car show we shoe-horned all the figs into our allocated parking space, we were able to put info. boards and flyers up, there was a huge interest by the public. Some of the other cars on show were beautiful too. We gradually managed to leave Ryde Esplanade and after another fun-packed mystery tour (thank you Dan) we arrived a the Garlic Farm another lovely venue, really pretty and interesting with some sweet little guinea pigs.

Our final journey was back to the hotel to collect our bags and say our final farewells. Foxy and Bella headed back to the ferry port and once on the ferry we were joined by Marlene and Eric, and Clare and partner who perhaps needed their coffee more than most. It was a great weekend, many thanks to Kevin, Sue and everyone involved in making it so special.

See you next year Helen Robinson