Saturday, 19 November 2016

'Run The Ring' M25 VW Charity Cruise. (part 1 of 2)

Whilst browsing some Volkswagen groups on Facebook a while ago I spotted a post from a guy called John Emberton who for a joke posted the statement 'who wants to run my ring?'. He was referring to a photo he put up of the M25 motorway and did anyone want to drive around the full length of the motorway (the 'ring' part plays on the Nurburgring race track in Germany) These 2 posts from John generated lots of interest from other people who were all saying what a great idea. John soon realised this event, if it happened could be the longest cruise of Volkswagen Transporters ever seen in the U.K. So John started a new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/M25VWRunTheRing/. This new page generated so much interest that the page had over 1000 members in the first week!. To date there is just over 3000 members. One of these members was Vicky who has been running the Volksfest show for over 16 years and who is an active fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust, so she asked John if he would mind trying to raise some money for this worthwhile cause, and John agreed without hesitation. Another member Anita offered her help with the marketing and assistance with the branding and clothing. The aim of the event was to create the longest cruise of Volkswagen's the U.K. had ever seen and whilst doing it generate a load of cash for The Teenage Caner Trust. The event quickly came together and for a few weeks my Facebook feed was bombarded with posts from this group, all saying the same thing 'what a great idea', and 'count me in' etc. The event was arranged to take place on Sunday 25th September 2016, (which incidentally is the same weekend the M25 opened some 25 years ago!) and was open to all Volkswagen's. There will be 4 official start locations at the various service stations around the M25: (South Mimms, Lakeside / Thurrock, Clackets Lane and Cobham). How it would work is, the first group would leave the first service station in convoy at a pre designated time, then as they passed the next service station that group would leave their service station and join the back of the convoy, when the convoy passed the third services that group would also join the at the back and so on. After very positive meetings with both the Police and the Highways Agency who both allowed the event to go ahead, John reiterated on the Facebook page that the event was a 50 / 55 mph cruise and not a race. For a small entry fee we could purchase 'Run the Ring' stickers to put on our vehicle not only to let the authorities know that we were part of the cruise but also to promote the event as we cruised around the 117 miles of the London orbital motorway. From the main 'Run the Ring' Facebook page other run the ring pages appeared from all over the South of England from members who were organising their own meeting point on the day, before cruising to their respective M25 services to meet all the other groups before starting the main cruise. Myself and a few friends from Aylesbury joined the 'Hemel and Watford Ringers' page, as Hemel Hempstead is just a few miles down the road from us. I met up with Dave and Angela, and Simon and Amanda for the short 15 minute drive over to Hemel bright and early on the Sunday morning. John had a figure in his mind of possibly raising £10,000 for the Teenage Caner Trust from this event, and as I type this I have just read that John has presented the Caner Trust with a cheque £9,509 but with the gift aid included comes out at a whopping £10,017.43. A huge well done to John, Anita and Vicky (and all the other people who helped to organise the event who I don't know about) and a big special thanks and well done to the hundreds and hundreds of people who participated and donated all that money and who made this memorable event happen. 
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My 1969 bay as I pull into the South Mimms
services which was the closest services to us.
I had placed the 'Run the Ring' low tack
stickers on the cab doors which are now on my
workshop windows. We arrived quite early at
South Mimms and already the car park had
numerous Volkswagen's of all descriptions
parked up.

But before we got to South Mimms we met all
the 'Hemel and Watford ringers' in the car park
of the local Halfords store in Hemel Hempstead.
Luckily there was a McDonald's close by, so
that breakfast sorted. I've just noticed my poor
attempt at parking.. Well it was early on a
Sunday morning and on an empty stomach!.

The Halfords car park had a nice variety of
Volkswagen's all parked up. The Hemel and
Watford ringers were a nice bunch of guy's
who made us feel welcome.

A good side view of my microbus and how
badly I'm parked.! It does look overcast in this
photo but the forecast was good with little
chance of rain.

My microbus and Dave and Angela's blue and
white spilt screen bus at the Halfords meeting
point. We had about 15 minutes before the convoy
left Hemel, so just enough time for a breakfast.
After a while we started our engines and headed
in convoy for South Mimms services on the M25.

After a short drive from Hemel we arrived at
South Mimms. My bay and a gorgeous split
screen owned by one of the Hemel ringers.
I must have woken up now because I'm
actually parked inside the parking bay.!!

We had about an hour to kill before the convoy
passed our services so I took the opportunity
to have a wander around and take some photos.

This stunning Caddy looked amazing with it's
gold paint and lowered stance. This really was
a nice clean car that was parked next to an
equally nice sierra yellow (I think) early bay
that looks like a Westfalia.

This lovely Red 1980 T25 looked pretty cool. I
did like the overall look of this bus.

This stunning restored 1958 LHD Swiss army
radio communications split screen bus belongs
to a Facebook friend of mine, James. The bus
had a bare metal respray 4 years ago and this
year has had a full overhaul of the brakes and
suspension. This bus has never been welded
and is totally solid throughout.  

The paint is Ducati red with hand painted sign
writing. This bus has a new 1776cc engine with
electronic ignition, external oil filter with a deep
sump and running genuine Webber 44 idf's.
This bus retains many features from it's army
radio van days including internal signage,
grenade bars, map table and map pocket.
James has many plans for this bus, and I'm sure
I'll see it at various shows throughout next years
season so as and when these plans take shape
I'll photograph it and let you all know.

A great variety of air-cooled buses took part
in this great event. The sheer number of
both air-cooled and water cooled Volkswagen's
at the South Mimms services was amazing.

This gorgeous lowered bug looked fantastic.
I do like the 'swan neck' mirrors and the painted
steel wheels on this lovely old bug.

I do have a liking for panel vans and this 1978
pastel blue and white late bay was really nice.
This van was so clean and straight, and that 3
bow roof rack suited the sleek look perfectly. 

More air-cooled vehicles at South Mimms. The
majority of Volkswagen's that took part were
water cooled T4's & T5's , which is fine, but 

maybe next year hopefully the number of 
air-cooled vehicles will increase.

The South Mimms services didn't know what
had hit them when all the participating VW's
started to arrive, we literally took over the car
park. There must have been hundreds of VW's
of all descriptions parked up waiting for the
convoy to reach us. 

John and the team had the foresight to have
a support vehicle running the ring with us. I'm
not sure if anyone required the services of this
van, but I hope not.

This lovely 1964 two tone green split screen
slowly entered the services looking for a spot 
to park up. This really was a nice old splitty.

The old split slowly cruised past looking for a
spare parking place. This bus is proudly
displaying the 'Run the Ring' stickers as most of
the participating vehicles did. 

The variety of Volkswagen's was amazing and 
1981 green and white T25 with a pop top looked
great. 

The car park at the services was just like a
club meet with everyone walking around and
chatting whilst taking photos. Volkswagen's
are far as the eye can see...

Whichever direction you turned all you could
see were Volkswagen's belonging to the people
now know as 'Ringers'.

The car park was crammed with all types of
Volkswagen, both new and old and both water
and air cooled. 

The procession of Volkswagen's entering the
services just went on and on for over an hour. 

The procession of Volkswagen's entering the
services just went on and on.


I did like this 1979 late bay simply because the
paint scheme was so different and it really stood
out from the others.

This 1986 T25 looked really cool in it's purple
paint and tinted windows. I do like these T25's
and looking at this bus it's easy to see why.

'Ruby' the 1971 high top early bay also joined
the mass of Volkswagen's at South Mimms.
This really was a nice looking bus and that
high top must provide so much more room and
comfort than the tin top bays.

The procession of Volkswagen's entering the
services just went on and on. 

The majority of vehicles were T4's / T5's and
they came in all colours, all years and all styles.
I did think about going along in my T4, but
decided I just had to go in my early bay.

This lovely T5 had been wrapped in this super
cool design.

The 'Ringers' are still entering the services in
a steady constant flow, it was an amazing
sight to see so many Volkswagen's turn out
for this worthwhile cause... and this was just
at the South Mimms services!

This 1971 early bay looked like a nice honest
bus. I did like the ride height this bus had and
the colour scheme.

I don't want to repeat myself, but they are still
entering the services! T4's, T5's, T25's the
response to this Facebook charity event was
amazing.

This T5 was the 'Mystery Machine' and even
had Scooby Doo waving from the side window.

Will the steady flow of Volkswagen's ever end?

The more I look at this lovely T4, the more I
like it. That really is a nice paint scheme.

This white over black early bay looked cool, I
do like high riding early bays, and this was no
exception. The custom nerf bars at the front
looked cool.

It was great to see so many styles of T4's, as
 it gave me some ideas for my T4. I don't know
if there was a count of just how many vehicles
were at South Mimms, but I think it has to be
around the 200 hundred mark, easily.

The last bus to finish part 1 of this blog review
is this lovely 1971 silver blue and white early
bay. The colour was unusual but it looked really
nice and suited the bus.

So that was the first of a two part review on this
excellent charity VW cruise. Next Saturday will
be the second instalment where you can see
plenty more top quality Volkswagen's cruising
 the M25 motorway, photos from myself and
some of the other participants that took part,
 so be sure to come back next week.

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