What better site to hold a vintage vehicle show then on the south of England showground at Ardingly in West Sussex, it has everything that organisers and exhibitors could wish for, toilet blocks, showers, a road network and plenty of space, what could possibly go wrong? We visited Ardingly on Saturday 9th of July with great expectations as we had visited in the past and had fond memories of this event but it turned out to be not as we remembered it.
On entering the site we had to walk through the extensive market and autojumble before we even caught sight of the first exhibit but we would not be side tracked, we had come to see the engines. After a while gazing at ‘Princess Mary’ generating on the fairground we found the steam model section hidden amongst a field of caravans which was rather a shame as we felt sure that some people would have missed these wonderful models. Next, the full size steamers, 22 in all, fewer then we remembered in the past but a good selection of makes and types, our only comment being the condition a good many of them were presented in, less then ‘concourse’.
Other sections were well represented, tractors, cars, commercials and stationary engines etc with vehicle parades throughout the day, the steamers first arena parade was at 11.30, rather ambitious we thought!
Ardingly has gone down in our estimation and is not as good as in the past. The engines are no longer allowed to drive about the site, even with the network of roads which is a great shame and everything seems cramped and untidy when there is so much space to use. It would appear that, as with a lot of events, making money is more important then anything else so the traders are taking over at the expense of the exhibitors. Let’s get back to the old way of doing things, it was no less safe and everyone had a good time.