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2016 Focus ST-3 & 2021 Hyundai i20N
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This year saw us 'return' to the VBOA National Rally. I say 'return' as although this is an event we know well, due to business model changes it was moved from it's home of many years, Billing Aquadrome, to a new location at Market Harborough Showground fully supported by LMF Vauxhall; hence the #NotBilling tags....

With the new location being so new, things were very different. It is essentially a very, very large field and as such a completely blank sheet. This means some things are not as good as those at a well established holiday park, but it does also mean that there is a lot of opportunity to tailor something to work well for future events.

Anyway. Enough of that. My weekend started on Friday morning when I left Dorset to head to Milton Keynes to meet with @Alex at Costco as per tradition. However, after a non-eventful drive up, something decided it had had enough around 1-1.5miles from my destination - BANG! Slap, slap, slap, slap - I slowed down, and it was quiet under approx. 1500rpm so limped the car into Costco and instead of my normal cheery greetings I think I was barely with it thinking I had blown my engine - after a very brief 'Hi Alex, I think I just killed my car' introduction, I popped the bonnet to find half a supercharger drive belt strewn into strands across the engine bay and the other half just about holding onto the pulleys. We did our shopping, and forgot quite few things, we also went to Tesco and again forgot a few things - I blame the state of mild panic I was in....
On preparing to leave MK, I remembered that Monkfish Performance (the UKs specialist for Monaro & VXR8 models) was based near to MK, and gave them a call - they had one belt in stock, and were just 8-9 miles away (in the wrong direction - I'd driven past them within ~1 mile on my way up!) and they had 1 belt in stock - we then went our separate ways, Alex up to Market Harborough, and me heading back the way I'd came. I picked up my new part, paid a nice price for it and after a chat with the Techs there, cut my old belt off to prevent any further failure or damage - I now had to drive up to our venue with 'only' a 350hp 5.7 V8 to drag me along..... Slow!! So slow, the Rascal beat me to site by a significant margin. Ha.
I made it without any further issue and met up at the venue with Alex, Phil (@stoneshed ) with the Senior Executive Hatchback and @NathanR94 & Hannah/Eleanor in the shiny as hell Astra GTC who were already getting things erected and underway. Soon afterward Alex, Phil & Nathan built the new BBQ under Hannahs excellent supervision, we were met by the BBQ
tracking John (@GREYDJ ) who somehow know when we have a lit BBQ and always turns up without fail. We started to put up the now dying brown Gazebo and at this point @LukeLieng95 & Gemma/Jane/Janine arrived in a noisy VW Golf to help lift it up into place. The last bits of our stand were put into place and we all then started to settle down. Shortly afterwards, my partner Mrs DJGritt arrived with passion and flair, clearly more elegant and with distinct emotion compared to any of us with our boring cars. This was our evening complement - generic North/South divide jokes followed, new names were made - Phil looks like he could be a Darren - and we mocked Alex about how he won't be allowed out any more soon... Discussion about the state of Portaloos was also made, and it was deemed that the long walk to the 'Glamping' area or the main gate toilets were safer bets, even if you ran the risk of sharting/peeing pants in the process due to the distance. Our new ultra-quite lighting system which looked crap in the back of a Rascal at 3.30pm actually worked out amazingly in the actual dark and setup properly - it made the whole gazebo a shining brown beacon even from the far side of the field - successful move by Alex there, for pretty much zero outlay! As the hours passed, bed was visited. Sleep was barely had.

Saturday morning, we all woke to the feeling of being burnt alive - Billing had shelter from sunlight in the form of trees etc, whereas this field had none - sunlight on the tent resulted in huge temperature increases in approx. 0.00025s of being exposed - we all felt it. Apparently I was snoring, I blamed Mrs DJGritt as I don't do that sort of thing and never have in the past, ever. Maybe it was Luke as we found later that night he is a loud snorer!
I set to fixing my car before our morning meeting - it was a complete ballache to do and it turned out we needed 3 pairs of hands to get it done - two on the belt to make sure it stayed aligned, one cranking the bottom pulley to turn the engine over. Eventually it was on, and rebuilt, and back to making wheeeeeeeee whiney noises again. Yeay.
The rest of the morning saw us have a wander around to see other stands - some very inconsistent sizings though, some with way more space than necessary and some with way too little - this will change for 2018 I am sure. We went to the autojumble which was a bit crap IMO. Nothing atall of interest to me - guess the Australian models aren't quite in that state just yet...
We made our way back to the stand where we met with our new attendee Phil (@chelski )(Yep, another Phil...) and his Astra Coupe Turbo - BBQ lunch was had, and was good. Soon after this Tony (@himselfunknown ) also arrived with his Cavalier V6 and got stuck in. Later we saw the arrival of @Matt-SRI , Mrs Matt-SRI & Little Matt-SRI - clearly it took them a long time due to the lack of a supercharger - I felt his pain on Friday... :D
More wandering about was done, more sunburn absorbed, and more stuff looked at.
One thing with the vast openness of this site was although we had a nice breeze almost all day, the lack of shelter and no way to avoid the beating sun took it's toll. I think everyone was done with it by mid afternoon and all were a bit Scorchio and tired. Luke had a nap that turned into a full blown daytime sleep. We removed sides from the gazebo to try to introduce more breeze through the tent, which did help a little. We had a visit from @swinswin25 for a little while and again all just monged out with the occasional walk and grilled meat injection. The evening saw some go to listen to a local band who to me sounded like that rubbish band Scouting for Girls, just even worse. Still, it was lively enough for the Northern army to get their drink on and in one case, get rather ill as a result.... Malibu, Kopparberg Wine, etc doesn't mix well! haha

Sunday started the same as the previous day - tent oven. Bbq bacon was enjoyed. More mooching around done and more sunburn achieved. We didn't enter a car into the cup this year - Phils Astra would have been a good shout but he headed off earlier than the which didn't let this happen and no-one else was up for it. We will put something in next year though.
We all packed up over the course of the day, and gradually made our way off site. The gazebo was brought down in a flurry of destruction, and resigned to a scrappy death. New equipment for next year. We said our goodbyes and ended the weekend.

All in all, a good one. Made by the company we had. It should be better next year and we will do more to try to make our member experience a bit better again as we weren't sure what to expect and wanted to concentrate on the basics for this year only.

Criticism accepted. Please give feedback to help us improve anything! :) :)

IMG_8819 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8824 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8825 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8829 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8828 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8827 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8814 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8812 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8811 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8801 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8795 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8787 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8785 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

IMG_8804 by Dave Gritt, on Flickr

12,813 Posts
Yeah, it was essentially a can of compressed lemon squash but it did a good job on the plastics! And the waterless cleaner, that's not bad either.

Premium Member
3,632 Posts
Cracking weekend as always, photographic proof the Signum is more popular than an Omega Coupe and it proves £1 dry wash is just as good as the more expensive named stuff!!
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