Fun, fancy dress and moun­tain rounds at Clas­sic Mini United’s Tennessee bash.

Mini Magazine - - Contents - Words Alex Kins­man Pho­tog­ra­phy Alex Kins­man, Mike Guido

Clowns have been in the news for all the wrong rea­sons in the UK re­cently, but it’s all a lot rosier in the USA. The World’s Fastest Clown, a.k.a. Mike Guido, as­sem­bled his Clas­sic Mini United faith­ful in the moun­tains of North­ern Tennessee for the Hawai­ian-themed Mini 57.

With cars driven and towed to Kingsport from all over the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, as well as vis­i­tors from Canada and the UK, there was an air of ea­ger an­tic­i­pa­tion in the KOA camp­ground as the three days of driving got un­der­way early on the first morn­ing. Split into two driving groups, spir­ited and tour­ing to suit the (le­gal) speed am­bi­tions of the driv­ers, 60-odd cars set off for 112 miles of twist­ing roads and steeply cam­bered bends. Aside from stun­ning views and long lines of cars, the af­ter­noon’s high­lights were a visit to Bris­tol Mo­tor Speed­way and a trip to a moon­shine dis­tillery – com­plete with free sam­ples for the pas­sen­gers! The day fin­ished late into the evening with the tra­di­tional sun­set ice cream cruise, fol­lowed by the much an­tic­i­pated night­time scav­enger hunt. Teams went in many di­rec­tions search­ing in the dark of night for answers to the in­ten­tion­ally vague clues. The ma­jor­ity of the Minis came fly­ing in to the fin­ish just sec­onds be­fore the 10pm time limit, with the adrenalin and sto­ries last­ing for hours.

Day two saw the same cav­al­cade of cars head­ing off for an­other 120 miles of up­py­downy roller­coaster roads through the North Carolina moun­tains. The evening party in­cluded the swap meet, Hawai­ian Tacky Tourist con­test, and the pre­mier of the 2016 In­ter­na­tional Mini Film Fes­ti­val. Films from all around the world were sub­mit­ted, with a mu­si­cal of­fer­ing from Lithua­nia amongst the en­ter­tain­ing pro­duc­tions.

The fi­nal 180-mile drive on day three to the Ken­tucky coal mines was greeted in some ar­eas with some fog and a light driz­zle, which made the steep moun­tain climb and de­scent a thrilling ride. While the ma­jor­ity of cars headed out on the drive, oth­ers made their own en­ter­tain­ment be­fore a fi­nal night of rev­elry back at the camp­ground. A DJ closed the night out and even in­tro­duced ‘Liv­ing Next Door to Alice’ to the US Mini scene!

For more info on CMU, fu­ture events, and to see the Film Fes­ti­val videos, go to www.clas­sicmi­

Tiny, the moon­shiner, did just about fit in a Mini.

Cool mod­i­fied Moke.

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