2016 Club Events
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National Kit Car Motor Show
Stoneleigh Park Showground, near Kenilworth
Report by Events Co-ordinator, Tony Tucker
The weather was better than last year with no rain on Sunday and some sunshine at times, particularly early on when the drive up the M40 was very pleasant. Our turnout, however, having reached its lowest ever last year with only ten cars (as opposed to the regular 25-35 we used to get), plunged to a new low this time with only eight cars present on Sunday (not counting Len's ... er ... Ferrari). Very disappointing indeed.
The dealers in the halls were again down on previous years, although there were a number of opportunities for picking up parts and accessories at bargain prices. Peter Bailey, always the most loyal and longest lasting of the UK Speedster manufacturers, was showing off a couple of very nice Chesils and, surprisingly, Pilgrim were there with a new Speedster! Yes, thay are back in the market with a demonstrator built by Dave Tassell and with a fai bit of publicity, although they are only offering the car in kit form to begin with. Vernon and I quizzed them in some detail and it has to be said that they may not have everything totally ironed out yet. The car looks quite nice though.
Despite better weather than in recent years, the overall number of clubs, cars and members of the public visiting the show were all a bit down again and the busy feel of former times was missing. Bacon rolls, which went up to £3 a few years ago, were on sale this year at £4.70! When I asked the guy running one of the food vans why this was, he told me that Stoneleigh Park had been taken over by new management in the last couple of years and that prices of all food items were dictated by the site management, with the individual sellers having no input. "These are not our own normal prices," he said, "but are standardised across the whole site by the management"
With only eight cars to select from, the Club's 'Best in Show' award required less judging time than in the past! Last year's winner, Franco was present and his car was gain a real eye-catcher - a very fine example of a self-built car that does its woner proud. We decided, however, to give the Salver and Trophy to William Welch, whose black Speedster, which he has owned for many years, has undergone a big re-vamp, with no expense spared. It looks superb with the new suspension creating minimal ground clearance, an impressive new engine and lots of fine detailing. William has been a Club member for a long time and was very pleased to get recognition for his efforts in creating a very fine Speedster indeed. Franco also appeared pleased to receive the well deserved runner-up prize of a year's free subscription to TKC magazine.
click on any image to enlarge
For once we had a Spyder in attendance with Trevor Hughes turning up in his lovely 550. I am sure that most member have heard, on more than one occasion, my proud boast that my car must have a unique number-plate, bearing as it does the initials of the owner (AJT) and the model of the car (356A). Well, there are now two of us, because Trevor as acquired 550 TH. I found my number by sheer chance but Trevor's is the result of long and painstaking research. I think the fact that the two of us have this distinction is appropriate, as Trevor was one of the first Club members I met, some fifteen years ago at an 'air-cooled' event at Brooklands - nothing to do with the Club, but soon after I'd bought my Speedster and gone to the event on my own.
Although I had originally thought about staying overnight at Stoneleigh, as I have done for the last fifteen years, I opted to come home after the first day this year. The Old Mill at Baginton has put its prices up and the Blackdown Village cheap accommodation on the site at Stoneleigh Park has closed down for good. In the past we have had up to twenty members (including partners) staying at the old Mill, plus quite a few camping on-site, and the overnight stay was very enjoyable.
This year, with Club Administrator Rob Jones not being able to attend the show, there was no-one staying overnight, so I saw little point in spending the evening in the hotel on my own, just to be able to open up our marquee on Monday for what has amounted in the last couple of years to, at most, half a dozen members, two of whom were Rob and myself.
So, apologies to any members who turned up and found the marquee unopened on Monday but, without having had any contact from anyone telling me they were going to attend on that day, I opted for the Sunday only.
Although we have a great tradition at this event, I can see no point in continuing to pay the very large sum of money involved in hiring the marquee and, unless we have an assurance of a much bigger turnout, I would think that any future attendance at the Stoneleigh Park show will need to be limited to a plot for the cars and, perhaps our own little gazebo.
Report from Tony Tucker, Events Co-ordinator
EDITORS NOTE: At the Club AGM in July is was AGREED that with declining attendance the hire of the marquee can no longer be justified. Although it is a two-day event and some members may prefer to attend on the Monday, the major Club day has always been the Sunday. As a result it was AGREED that Sunday will continue to be the day when the Club's Top Car Award will take place.
I attended Stoneliegh 20 years ago when I was looking for a Speedster kit supplier. When I was re-united with my completed car I felt I no longer had a need to visit Stoneleigh, preferring Classic Car and Historic Motor Sports events. I have been going to the Donington Historic Festival for the last few years and this is such an excellent event, supported by our friends at TIPEC that I will probably continue to do so. The fact that this popular event has occured on the same weekend as Stoneleigh may go some way to explaining the declining attendance there.
In 2017 there is an opportunity to attend both events as Donington is on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday 28th-30th April, and the Kit Car Show is on Sunday/Monday 30th April/1st May.