MX5 - Car Club South Australia

MX-5 25th Anniversary Challenge Report

Our aim for the 25th Anniversary of the MX-5 was to assemble a record number of cars at the National Motor Museum on Monday 6th of October 2015. 

To do this we had 5 key people and a constrained budget.   Our goals were modest given our Club membership was about 160 people – 60 MX-5s.  What did we achieve?   121 MX-5s and 208 people came to the party.  A record in South Australia no doubt and more than likely a record in Australia for MX-5 in the once spot!  We’re open to a challenge on this.


Image courtesy of Ben Sale

Were the organising team nervous at any stage?  Yes we were but we never lost faith.  We only had about 40 cars with two weeks to run.  We then went on an advertising rampage.  Using the electronic media and with great cooperation from Pauline Renner at the National Motor Museum, Alicia Bruccoleri from Mazda Australia’s National Marketing Department, and local News Ltd newspapers, word spread like wildfire.   Within a week numbers had more than doubled.  Our goal was about 80 -100 cars and we had achieved the minimum.  And then a final blast with a full on advertising campaign including posters and ‘business cards’ which we attached to every MX-5 we saw.   With about 4 days to go we had 100 cars and the entry forms were still rolling in.   There was a deluge in the last 48 hours.   So the final tally of 123 cars was beyond all of our wildest imaginations.

While we benefited greatly from the generosity of Pauline Renner and the Motor Museum in offering us the fabulous setting on the lawn area amongst the trees, we had to be careful not to commit to risky expenditure early.  But we needed a comprehensive plan to park and present the cars and we had to create a focal area with ‘atmosphere’ to foster social interaction.

On the day everything looked set, except the weather.  A warm day with strong gusty winds were forecast with a cold-front and showers mid afternoon.   A nightmare.   Fortunately, the wind was tolerable and although overcast it was warm with only an odd spot of rain.   This did not deter people but it did put the brakes on our planned airborne photography.

One of our members, Peter Knights, had his remote-controlled quad-copter UAV with Go-Pro camera ready to capture the spectacle of all of the cars and people from the air

Early Quadcopter pic courtesy Peter Knights

Early Quadcopter pic courtesy Peter Knights

that would surpass any shots possible from ground level.    Despite the wind, he did get three images but lost his video link and ability to frame the picture. That would have made a priceless record of the event.


Image courtesy of Ben Sale

I arrived at 9.30am – some minutes late due to a radio interview, and was knocked out by the hive of industry occurring as I drove through the gate.  The team spirit of all of our members was proof positive we have a strong club.  Some had been assigned tasks but others just pitched in and kept it up all day!    I must confess I had one of the ‘lighter’ tasks in charge of balloon inflation and distribution.    With a team of about six (other big-kids) we set about filling 100 balloons with helium and tying them to the cars.  There were explosions, squeals and laughter a plenty as balloons burst or sailed skyward after helpers forgot helium makes balloons lighter than air and they needed to be tethered.

The day proceeded to plan in an orderly and relaxed atmosphere.   There was no great wait at the food and drinks mobiles and people took advantage of the tables, chairs, hay bales and music to make the most of what was essentially a great picnic setting.

1st: Owner, salesman & service tech- Peter Knights image

1st: Owner, Salesman & Service Tech – Courtesy Peter Knights

We were also lucky to have at the event, the first MX-5 sold in South Australia as well as its owner, Mr Philip Harding, the Paradise Motors salesman who sold the car to Philip, Dennis Tompkins, and the technician who completed the delivery service on that car, Marque Le Maistre.   Although Philip has passed the car to his son Steve, he was very proud to have it in his hands again on the day.   And like all good marques with proud owners, it was in truly remarkable condition.   Phillip was kind enough to give us a personal insight into how he came to buy it, become attached to it and keep it in the family.

Our other special guest was Ben Sale.  Ben is from the Victorian Club and had the recent good fortune to be sponsored to the world launch of the forthcoming 4th generation ND model MX-5 in Monterey, California.   He spoke briefly about the experience and his impressions of the 2015 ND MX-5 and then mixed in with the crowd to continue the exchange.   Ben also runs a digital media and vision business and kindly set up a video presentation in the foyer of the Motor Museum, which I noticed drew quite an audience throughout the day.

To finish the day we had a bit of fun drawing the entry-ticket raffle for which Paradise Mazda and Jarrett Mazda had kindly donated prizes.

Almost on cue at 2.30pm the wind gusts picked up as the weather front moved through.  It was a quick pack up and an orderly departure from a wonderful event.

As the President of the Club it was rewarding indeed to see members so willing to pitch in and share the load on the day.   Thank you all.  To Poppy and Dennis Hawkins and Kari Soutter a special thanks to each of you for your dedication, commitment and time as organisers without which this memorable event would not have occurred.   David Jarrett was unable to continue on the organising committee because of a health issue but I know he too would have been at the forefront of the day and have enjoyed every minute.

And now for the 25th Anniversary of the MX-5 Club of SA – next October?

Des Long
MX-5 Club of S.A.

And Dennis Hawkins – our esteemed master planner – writes:

A wonderful day, partly down to the detailed planning and selection of just the right people particularly with regard to assisting entrants to access the grounds and park quickly and safely.  The levels of cooperation were all that could have been wished for on the part of all concerned.  You may not have noticed as you were busy all day, that each Marshal looked after the same MX-5 model that he owned and with regard to the competition cars, the Marshals were racers themselves with a special relationship to drivers.

Peter Emes said “this will go down in history as the greatest thing that the club has done”.

Ed McCaul said “this is the largest number of MX-5’s that I have ever seen”.

Coming from two of the long term club members, their comments mean more to me than any other recognition.

I think that the event has captured respect and admiration from the Adelaide Motoring Community and especially the power brokers whom we seldom mix with.  This caps off a year during which we have made significant impact beyond the sphere of club members.

The Planner

The Planner

The non-club member response was almost overwhelming and the appearance of so many young people was exactly what we have needed for a decade.

David Jarrett would have been very satisfied with the outcome, the sub-committee carried forward his vision, with good humour and intelligent commitment.

I think that the Mazda Dealers must be amazed at what we achieved, they did not expect such consumer support/response.  Similarly, the diverse media source has been a revelation and the regional papers that Poppy and I wrote/spoke with helped us to reach a wider audience.  I have had follow up calls so it really works.

Pauline was a pleasure to work with and I know that we are welcome there in the future due in no small part to the way we conducted ourselves and also how we cleaned up the grounds.  People remember these things for a very long time.

Finally, it was impressive the way so many club members pitched in to help with any and all tasks required on the day.  In particular, the women carried the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing a contributing role in the day and I know the committee was equally thrilled by the phenomenal success of this event.

Dennis Hawkins
Motorsport Member
MX-5 Club of SA