The MX-5 may be one of the younger classics in our hobby but the phenomenal enthusiasm for Mazda’s open-top icon helped its 6500-strong following to take the gong for C&SC Club of the Year 2011, endorsing the world’s most popular sports car as a bona fide classic.
Some 500 new members and 1000-plus record turnouts at its annual Spring and National rallies – plus the appointment of a motor sport co-ordinator to massively boost the club’s competition scene – all helped to persuade the judges this year.
Other club achievements included its 20th-anniversary celebration of Mazda’s 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours win, with which the marque racked up two records: it became the only Japanese team to win the race, the only victory so far by a rotary-powered racer.
The accolade was the penultimate of 14 annual awards to be made in front of a 300-strong turnout at the presentation at Birmingham’s Hilton Metropole on Saturday night, the second day of this year’s Classic Motor Show.
The club’s National Events and Exhibitions Team Leader, Peter Jakeways (below, right), accepted the award from Gary Long of awards-sponsor Lancaster Insurance.
A delighted Jakeways said: “I was absolutely stunned! We didn’t think we’d win anything because traditionally we don’t get the respect in the classic car club community."
“I don’t know if that's because the cars are too young or because they’re Japanese but we’ve finally got the recognition the MX-5 deserves,” he added.
His own Brilliant Black 1992 Eunos starred on the club’s stand at the Classic Motor Show this year, along with Ian McHattie’s 1996 1.8S, which was a Megiuar’s concours contender at last year’s show.
Jakeways reckons that the award has added to club members’ enthusiasm to continue to demonstrate their passion for the model: “Next year we’re planning a dedicated display at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power and we’ll also be taking part in the London to Brighton Kit and Sports Car Run.”
He puts the huge interest in the MX-5 down to the model’s affordability and rewarding performance: “You get a lot of the feel of small classics such as a Lotus Elan without the maintenance costs and reliability issues.”
The awards ceremony featured a double recognition for the club after its popular website (above) was runner-up for Best Club Website 2011, which was won by the Morris Commercial J, J/B and Austin 101 Register’s site, the brainchild of Harvey Pitcher.
The MX-5 Owners' Club's recognition follows the club’s award for Club Magazine of the Year back in 2008, when its Soft Top Hardtop monthly publication (below) impressed the judges.
See: Classic & Sports Car Club Awards 2011 for a full list of winners.