I’ve always been a “Gearhead Gal,” and always will be. I mean, c’mon, how can you not when you have a dad like mine? I grew up in the shop, covered in grease, and surrounded by beautiful cars. We’ve owned all types of them, but we’ve always had a thing for MGs (we’re on number 18 now). Something about them is not only special but breathtaking, too.
The first one I remember, and actually got to work on, was Melissa. She was an ’80 MGB LE that we had when I was in preschool. From learning how to clean and wax her and feeling all “big and important” when daddy let me crawl under the car with him and watch, to begging that we drive her to school (even though it was less than a mile away and we normally walked), I have many wonderful memories with her that I will never forget. However, my favorite car we’ve ever had (and that’s saying a lot) is Maggie. Not only has she been in the family longer than I have, but she’s been through a lot with me.
In February 2013, we drug our little Mags out of the garage for the first time in over 10 years and revived her to run in the Moss Motoring Challenge. We wanted to have some fun and raise money for Autism and Breast Cancer Awareness. Obviously we had no idea what we were getting into, and definitely got in over our heads, but at the end of the long haul, Maggie was named the Grand Champion. I remember when my dad texted me that we won. I was sitting in the middle of my 9th grade biology class and my friends looked at me like I was crazy when a huge smile stretched across my face. But even better was when I saw my aunt and uncle for the first time after that, and they hugged me with slight shimmers of happy tears in their eyes. We drove for them, and all that they’ve gone through with cancer and autism.
We had so much fun in the first year that we had to try again. This year’s challenge was quite a crazy, yet extremely awesome year. I was used to taking daddy-daughter trips during the summer, but the one we took in 2014 was a whole new ballgame. Not only was it my first long trip in an old British sports car, but it was the trip that I first learned how to drive a standard. Of course, it had its ups and downs. Like when 15 minutes into the trip I accidentally down-shifted to 2nd instead of up to 4th and then continued speeding up to get on the interstate…but hey, duck tape fixes everything.
There are many memories from that trip that I will never forget. Accidentally finding Hutchinson County; eating at our favorite place in Albuquerque; and having to stop at a gas station and play cards for a while because Maggie was overheating in the middle of the desert in Arizona are a few of them. Driving in Malibu, California with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other, stopping to take in the beauty of the lakes and mountains in Utah, being overwhelmed by scary “actors” on Hollywood Boulevard (we found it funny later on), having a lunch date with David Stuursma and the Miata “Hope” stick out also. So too were things like watching the fountain show in Las Vegas, meeting some super sweet fellow car fanatics in Colorado (and Olive… my new favorite MGA), laughing like crazy and singing at the top of our lungs with the top down in the middle of nowhere… I could go on forever about that wonderful trip.
The thing is, there’s just something about an MG and an open road that puts a smile on my face. The past two years of running the Moss Challenge have not only led to wonderful and hilarious memories, but it has taught me a lot. I learned how to check the oil and about what to watch AND listen for when driving. I also learned some important life lessons. I learned not to take things for granted, and that the little things you do to help can make a really big impact in someone’s life and touch their hearts.
I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to run the Challenge the past two years, and they definitely have a special place in my heart. I’ve also grown very, very attached to my Maggie, but I also have a new girl in my life now as well: my 2010 Mazda Miata MX5 named Hailey. I don’t have my license yet, but my dad will labor with me. Can’t wait to run the 2015 Moss Motoring Challenge this next year. Hopefully the miles will be as memorable and I will get to meet some more great people along the way.
By Madison Hutchinson