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GP Journey

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED ON MY WILD MINI ADVENTURE.

When life-long MINI fan Nick Fish managed to bag himself a rare MINI John Cooper Works GP, he knew he needed to plan an extra special trip to get acquainted with it. He’d initially planned to take on the Scottish North Coast 500 with his Dad on their motorcycles, but after he passed away the plans fell by the wayside. Until now.

After 14 days and 500 coastal miles, Nick and his MINI John Cooper Works GP had completed one of the world's most iconic coastal touring routes. An emotionally-loaded, life-changing trip. After all those miles, what did Nick learn? He’s here to tell us the top five things he discovered during that mammoth adventure, and what it means to him to drive MINI.

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1. I DISCOVERED THAT MINI’S IN MY DNA.

Nick’s coastal trip sparked MINI memories that stretched way back to his childhood, “I remember vividly to this day, Dad coming home with a brand-new Mini Sprite in electric blue with herringbone grey interior”. His family’s passion for all things MINI inspired a legacy, with Nick going on to own a Mini Seven Edition after passing his test.

2. I LEARNED TO TRUST MY GUT INSTINCT.

As Nick drove down untarnished winding Scottish ‘B’ roads, he knew he’d made the right decision. As soon as he spied the concept, he knew the MINI John Cooper Works GP was the car for him, “I was working at Goodwood Festival of Speed and fell in love with the GP3 concept” he remembers. “The noise it made, and the presence it had on the track. I knew it was the next car I had to have”.

But it wasn’t smooth sailing. Nick put his name down with his MINI Centre, but wasn’t able to secure one. “I thought I'd missed my opportunity to get my hands on the GP. I was watching videos on Instagram and YouTube of people driving them and it filled me with envy”. But sometimes, the universe throws you a bone. “I heard a rumour that a local MINI Centre had a cancelled order. Wasting no time I rang them up and secured the car over the phone. Car No.2055 was mine”.

And his new MINI didn’t disappoint. “It gets better with every mile I put on it, the exhaust is deeper and pops on demand, the brakes more responsive, throttle is sharper and MPG definitely has improved. But what I think I have gained most from the trip is the ability to rely on the car”.

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3. I’M MORE OF A PERFECTIONIST THAN I THOUGHT.

With a love of camping and the outdoors, Nick didn’t realise how much the North Coast 500’s rugged roads would bother him. “Note to anyone thinking of doing the trip who is as persnickety as me, get the front end PPF’d as getting a stone chip whilst doing the trip is inevitable”.

4. GETTING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL.

After months of planning, the sight of Scotland’s fluffy cows made the whole trip worthwhile. And with nights camping out under the stars, it felt good to connect with nature again. Even if it resulted in broken sleep.

“After a full day of driving, we were exhausted. So we decided to catch the remainder of the Scottish sun and camp on an elevated spot that overlooked a small, quiet bay. With the MINI in sight, of course. That night it was extremely windy and I didn’t sleep a wink as I was listening out for any noise near the car”.

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5. THERE’S SO MUCH ADVENTURE HERE IN THE UK.

Something almost all of us have discovered this year is just how much beauty and adventure is on our doorstep. And Nick found out for himself as he travelled down one beautiful road after another along the North Coast 500.

“The West Coast was the most amazing and picturesque landscape of the whole trip” he recalled “The highlight of the trip was the Bealach Na Bà range. The road starts at the top of a mountain that obscures your vision and leads you to believe it’s going to be a disappointment, but as soon as you turn the car into the first bend the road opens up and the winding nature of the road develops”.

Share your own MINI adventures with us on Instagram using #MINIMoments.