Brits on the Bay returns!
by Paul Salm
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Well, folks, as an on-again and off-again, somewhat loyal correspondent (boy, do I miss Richard Lewis -- God rest his soul), I will attempt to bring our faithful crowd up to speed on the happenings within that most famous, illustrious, and, well, the only real all-British car club in Northwest Florida.
(Note "Northwest Florida," as we also acknowledge our close friends in the South Alabama British Car Club and the Mardi Gras MG Club in our neighboring state.)
Yes, the Panhandle British Car Association is still alive and well in the westernmost portion of Florida.
While many local and not-so-local events have been celebrated and attended by various club members over the past few months, we are extremely proud and delighted to report the very successful completion of the 28th Annual Brits on the Bay all-British car show - in this case "Brits on the Bay 2.0," as the usually annual show had been cancelled the last two years. We paid tribute to that icon of space, efficiency and performance, the Classic Mini.
The show weekend officially began with a tour of the National Naval Aviation Museum on Friday, the 22nd. A highly prized event, it is difficult to accommodate all requests due to the security posture on the Pensacola naval base. But this year, Cam (Leonard) again provided a thoroughly enjoyable and educational tour to 14 out-of- town show attendees. Many thanks to Cam for his selfless attention to this essential event.
Aside from the show proper, the other featured and, for some attendees, truly best part of the weekend was the Red Beans & Rice Welcome Party, held at the Pensacola Museum of Commerce.
On Saturday, the 23rd, with ideal weather and in the perfect setting of historic Seville Square in downtown Pensacola, we hosted 112 LBCs, their justly proud owners and hundreds of admirers.
While the featured marque as mentioned was the original Mini (pre-2001), of which there were five, the field field held all mannere of fantastic vehicles, from a 1930 MG to late-model Jaguars and Aston Martins, with Triumphs and MGs, and of course Minis, new and old.
This year's show included an added attraction, valve cover racing, revived after pondering the merits of such frivolity and, of course, the ability to police those prone to bending the rules, which appear to be as many as there are clubs who enjoy the pastime. In this case, it proved to be insanely entertaining with all the entrants and their unique "racers." First place went to Eddie Toenes and his "junkyard Healey" rendition, followed by Bill Weeks and Fred Veenschoten, while the award for best design went to Shelby Bruno. All were truly artful, if not exactly predictable on the track.
While the success of the show is certainly attributable to the many PBCA members who devoted countless hours to the event, it can hardly be expected or even dreamed of without the attendance of likeminded aficionados whose pride of ownership extends to a willingness to share their things of beauty with the public. We thank each and every one of you for making whatever effort necessary to celebrate this love of the LBC with us.
(While we continue through the remainder of the year with various events and shows on the schedule, we leave you with the following admonition: To enjoy the same wonderful venue, same ideal weather, same celebration of LBCs, friendship and sharing of good food, mark your calendars for 14 and 15 April 2023. See you then.)
As for recognizing PBCA members, it is impossible to thank everyone, but in my foolishness I will try:
Show Chairman Bill Weeks, for somehow, maybe inadvertently raising his hand at the wrong time (as he is also Club President - is Bob Manske's hand in this?), doing a superb job of resurrecting the show following its two-year hiatus;
Keith Sanders, outgoing President and emcee emeritus, who had us on track for the 2021 show and well, you know how that turned out, for being a key player in 2022; and
Fred Veenschoten and his crew for the always difficult task of parking the many classes on the field.
Thanks also to Bob and Risa Manske, assisted by Paul and Mollie Reese, for the Welcome Party; Joe Stephens for his RV; Rich Willows, Liz and Tim Maynard for helping out at registration; Mike Japp and his son Thomas for photos; Curt Derby for the award and T-shirt artwork; Tom Schmitz for sponsor procurement; Taber Tompkins for award and sponsor plaques; Franz Bachmann and Eddie Toenes for special award plaques; Donna Weeks and Gene and Eve Wilcox, Monica Bachmann, Bridget Wakeman and Jeff Olive for ticket and raffle sales; and numerous others for their work.
Deepest apologies to anyone I missed.