We left Macclesfield at 6.35am and enjoyed a fast and unimpeded run via the A536 to Congleton, A34 to Talke, A500 to Stoke and A50 to just before the M1. Here we breakfasted at the services and devoured delicious sausage, bacon, hash brown and mushroom viennas. Then we followed the brown Donington Park signs via Castle Donington and straight into the rally venue site, still no traffic jams. It seems we were either lucky enough or early enough, for we heard some real horror stories later on about other rally-goers being stuck 3 hours in queues and some even abandoning and turning back.
The Renault event, compounded with the rally, was putting great pressure on the local road network, as wellas considerable pressure on everyone’s ears as the Meganes tore around the circuit causing great noise in the hall. It seems they had decided to leave a few doors open today, in response to the stifling heat experienced in the hall the previous day, but this did allow a lot of noise in!
Jimmy and I set up the SOTA stand with all the usual display items and the banner, but it was missing the splendid array of laminated summit photographs to be provided by Rob G4RQJ and Audrey. They, unfortunately, were victim to the traffic jams.
Quentin GW3BV arrived as promised and ran the stand for a while allowing me to look around the show. I thought it was rather a good show with lots of good displays from traders and clubs alike. It was nice to meet Rob Mannion (editor of PW) and Elaine Richards (editor of Radio User) for the first time, although we had been in correspondance for years with my press releases fr SOTA and the Macclesfield & DRS, as well as occasional articles.
“Business” was slow at the SOTA stand, and I’m not sure whether this is a beneficial event to attend as an exhibitor in future. It was certainly nothing like the interest level and buzz generated every year at Norbreck, Blackpool. The latter is, significantly I feel, almost enclosed geographically with major SOTA regions, whereas Donington is not. Part of the reason of the slow start was the difficulty many were finding in getting to the venue by road. Once Rob and Audrey turned up, and added all their superb SOTA display items, interest did pick up with plenty of SOTA friends and a few just beginning their interest. It still was not to Norbreck levels though.
Audrey’s traditional baking for the SOTA stand this year, was a large tin of delicious shortbread, much of which was dealt with single-handedly by Liam, in-between his periodic departures to peer through the railings to catch a glimpse of the Eurocup Megane Trophy. I had been considering a major rig purchase for a good while, and once I realised that the date was 8/9/7, I decided it was meant to be and got myself one.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day (which continued with an activation of my favourite summit - see another thread), while being unsure as to the future viability of a SOTA stand at this event. Many thanks to Quentin, Rob, Audrey, Jimmy and Liam for their invaluable help with the stand, and to Richard G3CWI for helping to prepare some display items and kindly sponsoring the fee for the stand.