Chairman's Report for 2011 Ian Coomber, VBOA Chairman
In 2011, the VBOA continued in its role of providing a series of high profile events to which affiliated clubs could invite their members. As many clubs already had local events they attended, It was decided not to continue with any official VBOA event to celebrate the FBHVC “Drive-it-Day” in April, so the VBOA events calendar reverted to the Spring Parts Day and Autojumble, the International Meeting, The National Rally at Billing and an October Vauxhall Heritage Centre Open Day.
The March 2011 running of the Spring Parts Day and Autojumble at the Connexion near Coventry was again held in the main hall alone and it appears this is a format which even in the current difficult economic climate works for us financially and certainly for the many visitors seen hauling parts by the thousand out of the door and off to the car park! It seems to work for the sellers too, although the day is heavily front end loaded with queues forming well before the official opening time and the show running out of steam by 2.00pm. This formula was repeated in 2012 with equal success, although we were a handful of pitches short of the 2011 sell out. Gate receipts have been almost constant over the last three years whatever advertising or free publicity we used so it was decided that as the message obviously travelled well enough through the clubs we could save money by cutting any paid advertising in 2012. Once again Ian Till operated his computerised booking system which has the added advantage that we now have a very robust data base of potential sellers for both this event and Billing. After this year’s show we were given very unpleasant surprise by the Connexion who told us we could not have our “normal” date for 2013. Therefore we have been forced to move the event to Sunday April 14th 2013, with a reversion to March 9th in 2014. In view of the concentration of visitors mentioned above, we will publish both a formal opening and closing time for the show at these future events so that the show break-down can be a more orderly operation. Thanks as always to the highly efficient and long suffering set-up team.
Back to May 2011, when the VBOA International Meeting took place in Denmark. Organised by the ever enthusiastic Lasse and Lone Nystrom the event took its by now familiar format of allocating accommodation in holiday houses and apartments around the beautiful Lundoe area and using the magnificent “club room” in their house for meals and getting together. This made for a very relaxed atmosphere which was appreciated to the full. The driving part of the event took us to some beautiful venues in this lake and forest idyll, including a classic car show at a nearby moated castle. The Danish club was rewarded with a great turn-out including a large contingent from the UK. Our thanks go to Lasse and Lone and their enthusiastic team of helpers for organising such a great event, no small undertaking when you are providing most of the catering too! The 2012 event in The Netherlands is about to take place with 54 entries, 16 from the UK. Future events are already being planned in Sweden (2013) and Switzerland (2014).
The VBOA National Rally at Billing Aquadrome was blessed with good weather after a run of rainy days before the event. This year the Billing management were very much on trial as far as we were concerned and by and large they got the troublesome pre-booking system to work and the show was a great success. Billing introduced a special VBOA Friday night meal and drinks event in the new leisure centre - this was not particularly well attended but it did show that they were willing to try out new ideas and want to help make the show a success. Things were very much helped by the Billing top management remaining stable year to year so they knew what we did and what to suggest for improvement. After a moan by me about the lack of support for the Billing Sunday events we were rewarded by a great day’s turn-out, including a record 22 cars for the Chairman’s Cup “best in show” judging. Club “block voting” was less in evidence this year and as a consequence the whole event got something of a new lease of life, reverting to the fun competition it was always intended to be. Overall winner was Stephen Davies in his exceptional Calibra entered on behalf of Club Calibra. We continued to support Vauxhall’s key charity Help for Heroes by donating the proceeds of the Billing raffle and we also continued our tradition of making a £500 donation to the Luton based to Keech Hospice Care.
One challenge we are currently working through is that VBOA stalwart John Ankerman had given notice that the upcoming 2012 show, the milestone 30th Vauxhall event on the Billing site, would be his last as show organiser. Thankfully John has been persuaded to continue in an overall show management role with other volunteers taking on specific roles before and during the event to lessen the load on John. The VBOA owes John a huge vote of thanks and discussions are now in train to find a viable management format for 2013.
Relations with Vauxhall (more properly GM UK nowadays) remain positive. Although the weather was not brilliant, the October Heritage Centre Open day was well attended with the usual diverse collection of vehicles on display and with Vauxhall’s support we are holding the event again this year on Sunday October 7th.
During this period, the VBOA has again been exceptionally well served by its Officers in the form of Anne Norris, Colin Robbins, Kylie Walters and John Ankerman. In addition, as already mentioned, Ian Till has transformed our autojumble booking process and the sub-group chaired by Tom Williams is working through the applications from the ever growing number of clubs wanting to join the VBOA. This shows we must be getting something right!