Long Distance Runs
Social runs form an important part of the life of The Lotus Register. Apart form the regular breakfast runs, the club organises long distance events that involves the cars and crews in round trips of at least a thousand kilometers.
The run from Gauteng to Pietermaritzburg for Cars in the Park, is a long standing TLR Tradition. Like most things, it started in a small way with only a few teams making the trip. Less than ten years ago there were seven Lotus Sevens at the show, half of which were from the TLR. 1999 saw more than forty Sevens. Since the death of Colin Chapman, the run has been known as the Chapman Memorial Run and teams have earned special regalia and dashboard plaques to mark their participation.
The run generally takes the form of a dash to Maritzburg on the Saturday morning, with some sort of social function on the Saturday evening, the show on Sunday, followed by the dash back on the Sunday afternoon.
The comaraderie on a long distance trip such as this is wonderful and one finds oneself invariably helping another club member with some instant repairs. The runs are well organised, with at least one sweeper in a ‘plastic’ bringing up the rear and all crews in cell-phone contact. Not that it is easy to hear a cell-phone ringing in a Lotus!
The second long distance run each year takes in a different destination every time. This is also very enjoyable and specific routes of interest are planned. Some recent events have been a weekend in the Eastern Transvaal – arguably some of the best Lotus roads in the world – and the 1997 Birthday Bash in the Berg, where we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Lotus Seven in style in the Drakensberg. We were aiming to get forty Sevens for the fortieth birthday and achieved this target in collaboration with our affiliate, the Seven Car Club of Natal. This was the first event where the Natal people also travelled a distance greater than the 80km from Durban to Maritzburg.
In 1998, the Natal Club joined TLR for a memorable weekend in the Golden Gate. This was originally planned as a visit to Lesotho to the Katse Dam, which had to be cancelled at short notice when an armed uprising took place in that country, followed by Military intervention by South Africa. However, some TLR crews actually made it through to Katse as they had done a recce run some months before. Once across the border, they found themselves on a 55km trip on good tar each way over the mountains, with 105 bends. Pity that the Katse trip was foiled by a minor war, but the good news is that this run still has to happen.
1999 saw South Africa celebrate the centenary of the Anglo-Boer War. The lotus Register made the most of this by undertaking a trip to the Battlefields of Natal to witness the re-enactment of the Battle of Talana and the cavalry ride of Elandslaagte near Dundee.