ON THE MOVE
Confusion surrounding the VBOA National Rally’s future has dominated the Vauxhall community’s social media feeds in recent weeks…
Plans for the future of the VBOA National Rally.
As summarised in this issue’s news pages, the biggest talking point among Vauxhall enthusiasts since our last issue has been the relocation – and apparent re-relocation – of the Vauxhall Bedford Opel Association (VBOA)’s National Rally following 2018’s event held at Market Harborough Showground. You can read all about the show by ordering a copy of our last issue (visit bit.ly/issuespv).
“We’re grateful to LMF Vauxhall boss, Steve Crook, and his team at for hosting a great National Rally two years on the bounce,” says VBOA Chairman, Shaun Broadbent, in response to Steve taking the reins and offering the
show a new home following its sudden and unexpected dismissal from Billing Aquadrome, the holiday park the VBOA bash took place at for more than three decades. We covered the circumstances surrounding the Northamptonshire venue’s decision to dismiss car shows at the time the changes occurred, but in short, thennew management at Billing Aquadrome introduced new direction amounting to an increased number of static caravans (eating into event space) and an immediate notice to all car shows they’d need to find a new home. Seemingly oblivious to the fact many people treated the affected shows as the focal point of a holiday (many VBOA National Rally attendees stayed on site with friends and family a week either side of the yearly gathering of great Griffins), it didn’t take long for Billing’s management to notice a significant dent in its coffers.
As one might expect from a venue hosting an event for the first time, Market Harborough Showground wasn’t without its problems. Poor layout, insufficient facilities and enough dust to make your freshly cleaned Vauxhall appear as though it had just completed the Paris-Dakar rally were some of the complaints levelled at Steve’s team in 2017. In response to this feedback, significant efforts to right wrongs were implemented in time for the 2018 show, which as anyone who attended will attest, was a hugely positive leap forward. Many of the VBOA’s clubs, however, remained unconvinced of the venue’s suitability for being a permanent home for the show, particularly in view of the fact there was no longer an opportunity for families to make a holiday of the occasion without occupying camping or hotel space at a different location.
CHANGE OF HEART
Meanwhile, representatives from Billing Aquadrome suggested they’d like to reintroduce car shows to the holiday park’s calendar. Many show organisers accepted invitations to return to Billing earlier in the year, and it was undoubtedly this news which encouraged VBOA- affiliated club representatives to ask the association’s ruling committee to look at a move from Market Harborough in advance of the 2019 National Rally. “You can’t please all people at all times,” says Shaun. “Many club members loved the show at Market Harborough, but others were crying out for a return to Billing Aquadrome. We talked with the guys at Billing and then presented options for club representatives to take back to their members. We allowed for a two-week consultation period and then invited those same reps to cast a vote on behalf of their members, the results dictating where the next VBOA National Rally would take place. Social media posts suggested a move back to Billing was a foregone conclusion, which simply wasn’t the
case. The truth of the matter is we found ourselves with a split result, but more importantly, many of those who voted for Market Harborough Showground said they wouldn’t return to Billing as a matter of principle, whereas the vast majority of those who voted for Billing said they weren’t prepared to be take their clubs back to Market Harborough Showground!” new ground With no clear outcome in sight, a delegation of ten VBOA committee members and show organisers visited Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire. “Sywell offers more opportunity for varied show content than either of the two venues we were talking about,” confirms Shaun. “It’s also a place with no previous VBOA history, meaning it’s neutral as far as club allegiances are concerned. We announced the fact the invitation to vote for either Billing Aquadrome or Market Harborough Showground had resulted in a draw, and that the committee had taken the decision to hold the show at Sywell after being thrown a lifeline by its owners. Following initial grumbling and confusion from some quarters, we’re pleased to have secured support from all clubs.”
The show is confirmed to take place at Sywell between the 5th and 7th July 2019. Various food vendors will be present, as well as an established café and restaurant. There’s also a hotel for those who don’t wish to camp.
Perhaps the most surprising change to the show is the introduction of live action, a feature which proved irresistible thanks to the availability of the venue’s runway. Although not quite a quarter-mile drag racing strip, it’s long enough for attendees to have a go at trying to smash their 0-60mph times. Trophies will be awarded to each of the weekend’s best performers.
Children’s entertainment is already secured in the form of a bucking bronco and a climbing wall, with more features to be announced in the coming weeks. There will also be the ‘VBOA Inter Family Challenge’, where parents and children can team-up and participate in various events, encouraging cross-club collaboration and friendly competition. Live music is due to take place in Sywell’s hangar, while the familiar presence of club displays, an autojumble, vehicle parades and the VBOA Chairman’s Cup competition will please many of our readers.
The 2019 VBOA National Rally will be open to the general public, enabling those outside the Vauxhall scene to witness the very best of what the association’s clubs have to offer. Tickets can be purchased through club representatives or at the VBOA’s website. Visit vboa.org.uk for further information, and be sure to follow the association’s social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter for more news about the show as it unfolds.
Lmf’s help in finding a post-Billing home for the VBoa national rally was astra-nomical!
Sywell’s runway offers attendees the opportunity to test their 0-60mph times one from the top, two from the middle and one from the bottom a Halfords touch-up stick will sort that, mate
Back to Billing? See you at Sywell! Keep ‘em peeled for Graham Kerr’s Chevette HSR in a forthcoming issue