Kelmarsh and Billing were the two main shows this year and, of course, the beloved Marjorie and myself went to both of them.
The less said about the B&B we stayed at near Kelmarsh the better I think – suffice it to say that next year we will definitely find somewhere other than The George at Desborough!
You will find comprehensive reviews of Kelmarsh in the last issue of LRM and Billing in this month’s, but let’s just say, from our point of view that we enjoyed both shows.
There were lots of old friends at Kelmarsh and Billing, plenty of trade stands and club displays, not to mention a variety of events. I’m not sure if there was an off-road course at Kelmarsh [ There was and it was brilliant – Ed.] but, of course, the main event at Billing, on Richard Arrowsmith’s farm (across the river from the actual Billing Aquadrome), was the off-road course originally set out many years ago by David Mitchell, which has been very professionally marshalled by Charlie Thorn and his bunch for a long, long time.
In fact, this year there was another offroad course, so you got two for your money.
As usual, at Kelmarsh, Diana Tigwell – aka the Voice of Land Rover Shows – kept the main arena going with her witty commentating and interviews.
What on earth are we going to do with ourselves now that Diana has finally retired? It’s a question a lot of us Land Rover fans are asking, All I know is that whoever takes over from her will have to try very hard to match up... she is a lagend in our community.
Again, Diana asked Dave Barker, David Mitchell and myself to hand out certificates of merit to our favourite vehicles, spotted as we wandered the show grounds.
If you found one on your vehicle you can be justifiably pleased that we picked it out. There wasn’t always a driver on hand so I can’t give all the information here, but I did hand one out to a red V8 Series I with a trailer, belonging to a chap called John, surname unknown.
Then, there was a truly lovely and seemingly original brown Series III with County stripes and a Macmillan Challenge sticker. I was told that the owner of said Lightweight was called Andy, and he had driven it all the way from his home in Germany.
Paul Aston owned the tidy red and yellow Series II Forward Control and Stephen Davis had an extremely well-sorted 1995 Discovery wearing camo.
We chatted for a while to Andy Kendall and his wife Rhian who
had travelled from South Wales in Katy, their 127 ambulance converted into a camper. Still a work-in-progress, they said, but a lovely expedition vehicle already and worthy of a prize.
As ever we spent a lot of time – at both shows – with our good friends George and Pat Simmons from California. Between us we think they’ve been coming over to the UK for around 19 years... Always such good company at any Land Rover show.
A show is a show. There are always lots of buddies to find and natter with, plenty of vehicles to look at and, if you are so inclined, an abundance of items to buy. Once again, I met new friends and chatted to LRM readers.
The two shows being so close together, not only in terms of date but also location, was a bit of an oddity but if you managed to get to both – or either – then I’m assuming you must have enjoyed yourself.
Did either suffer because of the other? I don’t know. How is that quantifiable? I guess it’s down to the organisers and traders to answer. Did everyone, or anyone, make money? I do know that if you were a visitor to either, then you really should have had a good time.
I don’t know if the rumours about next year in terms of dates are true, so I’m not going to repeat any of them here as they may well be confirmed or denied by the time you read this. What I do know is that if there are two shows again and it is humanly possible my Marjorie and me will be happy to attend both. Although we may not use the M6 toll road next time. While it avoided the mess that is the Birmingham Spaghetti Junction and kept us moving, the services where we decided to stop for lunch, were packed out – we even struggled to find somewhere to park.
Many years ago I wrote a piece about road humps (or sleeping policemen as some of us refer to them) and 20 mph limits. I said that, on the one hand, everyone was talking about using less fuel and, therefore, causing less pollution and, on the other hand, motorists were being forced to drive in lower gears – therefore using more fuel and producing more pollution. Now, I read that the Government is handing out grants so that local highways authorities can remove speed bumps to help cause less pollution.
Frank has been involved with Land Rovers for more years than he cares to remember. These days he drives an L322 Range Rover
“The two shows [Kelmarsh and Billing] being so close together, in date and location, was an oddity”