New competition entrant experience

I had a great time at the National Rally although I do not think I would enter my car in the competition again.

No sour grapes here…I am just disillusioned.

On arrival to the allotted “lightly modified MK1 section” I had not even so much as opened my boot to begin the fettling work when a judge sauntered over and started to point out the deficiencies in my car.

Clearly I had a lot to learn and the gentleman was going to make damn sure I did. As I polished various panels further misdemeanours were pointed out. I was completely deflated and close to turning the car around and leaving to park in the field with the majority of members.

The actual judging process was not too unnerving but clearly I had a lot to learn and it was quite clear I hadn’t a hope of a prize. As soon as I started to lose a mark for creased leather I knew my quest for done for.

I pointed out that the seats were 25 years old and had seen many bottoms over the years but with no rips or tears I had preferred to keep the patina and originality.  When being compared to cars in the same category that have had full interior refurb it started to dawn on me that my quest to keep a car original (all bar a few modifications - upgraded radio, wind blocker etc) was foolhardy in the competition arena.

I don’t blame the judges, they did a fantastic job as always. However, I do think the entry classification/categories need to be reconsidered. It is unjust to judge a lightly modified restored special edition against a car that has been totally overhauled and perhaps no longer resembles the original edition in any respect.

Due to the “advice” metered out before the judging began (immediately on arrival) and the non compatibility of cars in each class I have decided not to enter future competitions.



For some the cut and thrust of competing is addictive but for me it was an experience in humility and feeling uncomfortable.

I was naively thinking that the OC would welcome and praise members for keeping some of the early rarer special editions alive but this was not in evidence in the competition.


Overall I had a good day. The rally was excellent. I did wonder whether the PA system might have been better event wide so that what was going on in the area (presentation of trophies etc) could be heard. But I imagine a humongous amount of work went into the planning and prep and the result was clear for all to see.


Thanks to everyone for your hard work. It was my first National Rally and first time of entering the competition. I will certainly attend the National Rally next year but not the competition.







I think there are a few tricks with a hair dryer to shrink leather and remove any apparent sagginess. Won’t remove cracks though.

Surprised a windblocker is enough to make a car “lightly modified”, unless its one of those Mk2 efforts, where you’ve drilled the seatbelt tower. If you do change your mind, I would remove that, put up with being marked down on a radio, until you find a MSSS unit (does anyone actually check they work? Check ads on Miataforum), and be judged as a standard car.

I’ve only done competitions twice, both for a laugh. Isle of Man in 2000, where we were all shocked when the RAC judges started measuring paint thickness… and Tatton Park, because the competition area was near the autojmble, so I didn’t have to carry stuff so far. Back then, no judges, and winners were chosen by popular vote (so some of us deliberately voted for the tattiest car). So competitions are not my thing. I felt strangely disinterested in the competition cars.


Thank you for your reply.


I don’t think i will change my mind. For me the purpose of entering  a competition is to win or at least be rated. Being honest it is also a good way to show off the car.


However, if a “lightly modified” but sympathetically and structurally restored car (to preserve the longevity of the special edition) is compared to a lightly modified but unrecognisable edition I can’t envisage ever picking up a trophy.


That said I had a good day out and would certainly attend another rally.







I would have entered my 93 import but did not receive confermation of entry and was told by accom org that there was non available ,so we had a trip around n derbyshire and a very nice lunch at the HARDWICK INN. I may enter next year but may not Grumpy mick !!!

At least you had a go Sonue as a number of us encouraged you to do so my apologies for that.

The judges would no doubt fall over laughing if I was to enter our Eunos, owned for over 10 years or my MK1, owned for almost 16 years. I would expect nothing less and to be honest would find owning an immaculate car rather stressful.

The main thing is that you enjoy ownership and use the car as intended without worrying too much  - that is where the real fun and enlightenment is.

Best wishes     

Absolutely no apologies necessary. It was a good day out and a brilliant excuse to drive the car a long distance in order to attend.

As far as I am concerned I had a go at the competition. Something else to tick off my bucket list.








Should of told him to piss off



…and then given him an accurate critique of something he cares about, perhaps his wife:-) 


But that would have constituted rudeness and I did not wish to lower myself to his level. 


Sorry to hear that you did not have a good experience. I was also a new entrant but as my 6 year old Kuro is pretty much as new so Its not surprising I didn’t have any such issues with the judges.

Winning the lightly modded class was a bonus for me but in the end wasn’t the important bit. That was actually meeting and chatting to other owners who were viewing and complimenting the cars. Not to mention the other competitors who were all a gr8 bunch.

I don’t believe anyone who owned a competition car should be made to feel deflated. All of the ones I looked at were great examples of the various Mk’s and deserve respect for the time and effort the owners have put into them to make them look as good as they did.

Judging must be a difficult process but if done in a sensitive manner need not make anyone feel that way.

Moving forward perhaps the judges can learn something from this… they should not be commenting on entrants cars before they start the judging process?



I did see your excellent car and it came as no surprise that you won.

It was a well deserved trophy.



My apologies, it was of an attempt to bring humour into this situation on my part. 

On a serious note though, unforgivable and controlling behaviour. Unless this judge was genuinely trying to give you good advice his comments were indulgent and unnecessary.    


I certainly took it as humour so no apologies necessary.


I am not at all adverse to receiving good advice and will always listen and try and learn. In this instance the advice worked against me and all I kept thinking was that my car wasn’t good enough to be entered. 

I have benefited from the wisdom of others in this club and I wouldn’t want that to stop. However, wisdom and advice can be construed as criticism if delivered in such a way as to belittle someone.


Lets assume or settle on the “judge” was trying to be helpful. Perhaps in future he should consider the timing and delivery of his wisdom.


I didn’t attend the rally yesterday (due to a family business commitment in the morning and evening) but I wouldn’t even bother to enter my Mk2 because I’ve seen the lengths the prize winners have to go to (and in some cases the cars look like they are museum display pieces not for driving). My car is for driving, not for showing off.

But it’s strange how some people can’t resist any opportunity to try to “put down” cars belonging others, or in some cases, talk utter rubbish. I have another little sports car (not a Mazda), built by myself from a bare chassis. I often get these “experts” who come up and spout complete nonsense about it while they try to “educate” those there with them (including me at times). This actually occurred yesterday afternoon. I got a chance to drive the car for a couple of hours and stopped for a coffee in a bikers’ cafe. I hadn’t even got out of the car before a group of bikers came over to see it. The group “geek” appeared and immediately started telling his pals how these cars were built from Citroen parts etc etc. It’s definitely NOT Citroen (has no connection with that company whatsoever) and I couldn’t help correcting him (wish I’d let him dig a bigger hole for himself in retrospect). I don’t think he believed me; I pointed out that the car wasn’t front wheel drive for a start. He seemed quite taken aback and walked off!

To be honest when I saw some of the cars in the competition I started looking around for the trailers they must have been brought to the show on because I couldn’t believe they’d actually seen the road for any significant mileage for years.

There was one I noticed had the gaps between the treads on the tyres polished.


I would hope so too. Dirty tyres is a cardinal sin. I think competitors should be made to fit “show wheels and tyres”







I too had a very enjoyable day at the rally and entered the comp with the intention of winning nothing, as it happens my score sheet was considerably better than my first entry at Goodwood the thing that has made me think about not entering again was the moaning at the end about the judges decision to get a score changed.

I excepted my score as it was judged may be I should have complained.

Again thank you to all concerned in the organising of a great day out




There is a slight Citroen connection



And on the back of every Eunos Roadster handbook and service book:



Citroens were sold in Japan through Eunos dealerships, and were included in model brochures.


At least one of the Arrivals photos has a non-racing MX5 on a trailer.