Well after weeks of planning, the day was finally here -and what a lovely day it was due to be. Yup, the forecast was for rain and showers all day.
Manky and I were due to meet ByzMax outside the main gates of the Memorial Park at some silly hour of the morning as he was towing his “Beach Bastard” VW trike from Windsor, then going to collect Manky’s Pop and trike chassis. Luckily at this point it was still dry & bright but with a hint of the storm to come. Lunatic and his Dad, (Dave), soon arrived with Dave’s “Psycho Triko” VW trike. Loony & his mate Matt brought a huge marquee & set to, trying to assemble it without the aid of instructions. My BMW was due to be displayed on the BMW owners club stand but as we were the first to arrive I had time to help out with the MMMotors marquee mansion. Just as we finished attaching the sides the heavens opened -what timing. The next to arrive was the Pop then the 3 Reliant trikes, (Ska Man & his friend Adam, Flap and Si), and they had a small gazebo with them. Off went Manky and Byz to collect Mr Manky’s unfinished trike rolling chassis. By this time, (still raining), the showground was starting to fill quite quickly with various contraptions, trailers and vehicles. Alongside us was one of the MG stands, (modern MGs), but only a handful showed up. Oh well, more room for us. Janie and Dave brought their Blue Consul to add to our display. When Byz & Manky returned with the green trike chassis we did a quick reshuffle of our exhibits; the 3 Reliants were put under cover because they were the ones that had to be ridden home afterwards while the rest would be towed and the large MMMotors vinyl graphics Manky had had made were applied to the Pop’s doors. Doughnuts were shared around. Our Stand was complete. We were ready for our public. Still raining.
Well, raining is an understatement really. It absolutely chucked it down. Vertical rain. Horizontal rain. Cold rain. Very, very wet rain. Rain everywhere. Exhibitors sat huddled in their cars or gazebos. The showgoing public sat at home.
Only a third of the show vehicles booked in actually arrived, which was a shame as the organisers had had the highest ever number of pre-entries, but cars and trucks drifted in and out throughout the day and despite the weather there was still a good show of vehicles and trade stands. The umbrella seller was doing a roaring trade, (yup, we bought a red one). Many of the lorries were local, having been built in the now long since gone Basingstoke Thornycroft factory and there was a variety of tractors, busses, classic cars, motorcycles, steam engines and stationary steam engines. Chevy Rick of the forum arrived in his lovely maroon pick up. The club stands included Minis, BMWs, American cars, MG owners club, Ford club, Ford Pilot club, Military club, VW club and various others.
The organisers, (a joint effort by the Thornycroft Society & Basingstoke Council), were expecting 15 to 20,000 spectators but only around 3,000 showed up. Approx 1,200 vehicles were expected. I reckon it was less than 1,000 on the day. Saddlebags and his wife came to see us, along with Captain SpannerFingers, so there were quite a few forum members there in the end. By 4pm most people had left and we started to pack up. Just as we started to bring down the Marquee the sun came out -how typical is that. And at one point Manky and I even managed to play Frisbees.
Although the weather was lousy and everyone was drenched, we still had a very enjoyable day. It was good to see how many Monkeys made the effort to turn out in such appalling conditions. Everyone agreed that despite the constant rain, it’d been fun. We’re looking forward to doing it all again next year.