The 2006 Bill Targett memorial rally was held on the 13th and 14th of May near Eastleigh, Hampshire and was once again blessed with dry and mainly fine weather. As always, with this traditional event, the steam section was well supported with 33 full sized engines listed in the programme. 29 were actually present and provided a good cross section of makes and types from rollers to a showmans road loco. The organisers had made considerable efforts to source some decent coal in an attempt to reduce the amount of smoke that has become an unpleasant feature of recent steam rallies and they are to be commended in their efforts, the atmosphere was a lot less smokey. It was though rather dusty as the grass had been removed from the engine parking area due to cattle being grazed there in the previous week and leaving their rather smelly calling cards. This led to an uncomfortable weekend for both exhibitor and visitor alike and it would have been better if the organisers had re-sited the engines to a greener part of the spacious field, they can only be thankful that there was no rain as things could have become very difficult.
All the other classes of exhibit were well supported with a good selection of cars, commercials and tractors etc. Fire engine enthusiasts were well catered for with a good number of appliances of various ages and an entertaining arena display.
This event continues the tradition of the steam rally well, being put on by the Eastleigh Vintage Machinery Preservation Society, a band of enthusiastic volunteers and club members raising money for a deserving charity and trying to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable time. As long as the organisers do not fall into the trap of becoming complacent, as some other successful shows have, and resting on their laurels, this event will continue to go from strength to strength giving enjoyment to visitor and exhibitor for years to come, and long may it do so.