Con­fu­sion sur­round­ing the VBOA Na­tional Rally’s fu­ture has dom­i­nated the Vauxhall com­mu­nity’s so­cial me­dia feeds in re­cent weeks…

Performance Vauxhall - - NEWS -

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.


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

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