Two VBOA meetings and the All Vauxhall Rally at Billing have taken place since my last “ VBOAM”.
Despite the confusion over dates, or even if the event was to be held at all, all the club representatives felt that the Rally had generally been a success. Considering the generally awful summer this year, the weather was considerate to a degree, with Sunday being particularly pleasant. Great credit for the success of the event goes to the small organising team of John Ankerman, Colin Robbins, Barry Harvey and Anne Norris. All had far too much to do on the day and we agreed that this situation could not be allowed to continue for future years. I am pleased to say that a number of additional volunteers came forward to help with next year’s event which will take place on July 9th and 10th. Note that the event will revert to two days next year, a unanimous decision of the meeting.
Although overall it was a good event, there was still plenty of room for improvement, particularly in the cleanliness and condition of the facilities at the Billing venue. This will be strongly followed up by John Ankerman with the Billing management. It was also accepted that the entry sticker system had not been effective and John apologised for this but last minute hitches had intervened. Everyone felt the system should be retained for next year but with a rethink to ensure its effectiveness and a number of good suggestions were put forward.
Perhaps it was the shorter days, but thankfully there was no repeat of the disturbances encountered in past years. However, there were a few wheelie merchants evident at times (who on earth are they trying to impress in that company?) and one potentially dangerous incident where a massive firework was detonated in the early hours. I will be writing to the culprits (not club members, but a trade exhibitor) to bar them from future events.
The PA system was criticised for its lack of reach in covering the site. Unfortunately this is a function of cost but we resolved to make it a priority for next year. The reason this is crucial is that we need to bring the event together and an effective PA system is critical to that aim. My own observations (limited to Sunday only) were that it was like visiting a site where a number of clubs were holding events but that there was no obvious connection between them.
To try and give some overall form to the rally it was suggested that the VBOA should instigate a “best car of show” award where each club would choose its entry to go forward to a VBOA “stand” on the Sunday for judging, preferably by a popular voting system. It was also resolved to have a timetabled parade ring slot for each club that wished to take up the opportunity and to have a designated “compere” to introduce the clubs , keep the field informed as to what was happening and to hand over to the club rep to talk about their cars. To make this happen we obviously need effective PA, hence the priority. As this is entirely a financial issue we have started to contact potential rally sponsors.
Moving from PA to PR it was also agreed that we need to make Billing more of a National recognised event and to this end we would involve the classic magazines and the local press. I am told that Classic and Sportscar magazine is making this year’s Billing its “show of the month” feature, so that’s a good start.
There has also been some debate about whether we should group together the more modern cars and clubs thereby creating old and newer sections of the field. However, most people felt that the amazing mix of cars that results from over 100 years of history was one of the main features of the rally and although we would try and accommodate individual club requests for site position, no attempt should be made at formal “age segregation”.
Finally on Billing, I thought the auto jumble was particularly impressive, which leads to another project which is being actively pursued, namely a special VBOA auto jumble to be held in February at a central location. The idea is to not only invite the regular trade jumblers, but VBOA club members who (for a small fee) can bring and sell their own surplus stock on a “car boot” basis. Thinking about it, someone might actually have a car boot to sell. As with other auto jumbles there would be a charge for buyers to enter (reduced for club members), but you can be guaranteed to have access to the very best selection of parts for our cars at the time of the year when you are chasing the last few bits after the winter rebuild. Your club will get full details when the venue and arrangements can be confirmed.
Next year’s overseas rally will be hosted by the Vauxhall Owners Club Holland and they are so well advanced with the event that full details were given out to the clubs at the last meeting. The dates are the 5th to the 8th of May.
At our last meeting the VBOA welcomed the Chevette Owners Group as affiliate members and were impressed with their energetic show schedule and
parts gathering skills.
Vauxhall have confirmed that access to their important Trade Club parts programme for VBOA member clubs is approved on an ongoing basis and new operating instructions will be issued shortly.
The next VBOA meeting is scheduled for November 28th and the AGM has been set for April 3rd 2005. Please let your club representative have any comments you would like to make about the VBOA and its activities on your behalf.