I’VE been going cold turkey since February, and have been doing my best to hide the withdrawal symptoms. I’m David Simister, and I’m an addict. To car shows, that is.
It’s genuinely weird to think that the last event I went to – the London Classic Car Show - was 153 days ago.
A few weeks before then I’d been in the Netherlands, wandering through tightly packed crowds in some stuffy indoor halls, struggling to get shots of old Ferraris.
All of that would be unthinkable now, and a summer where I’d normally be wandering around the gardens of various stately homes dotted across the North West has been turned completely upside-down.
In this part of the world all three of the big shows at Tatton Park have been postponed until 2021, the Lydiate Classic Car Show has been suspended, quite sensibly, for 12 months, and it’s been much the same story with shows and car meets right across the region.
For months the concept of meeting up with a load of strangers in a field for fun – even if it is to look at MG Midgets and Triumph Stags – hasn’t just been untenable, it’s been outright illegal.
But the good news if you are a car show junkie (don’t worry, you’re reading the Motors pages of The Champion, so you’re in good company) is that things are changing. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport changed its guidance on outdoor events, finally making it possible for businesses to hold car shows, as long as they’ve completed a risk assessment and can demonstrate they’re taking measures to prevent the spread of infection.
The British Motor Museum’s already putting events back on the calendar, as is Beaulieu, down on the south coast. But what’s happened in the meantime is genuinely eye-opening.
Event organisers, with no guarantee of when (or even if) things were going to change, have turned 2020 into possibly the most inventive year ever when it comes to automotive events.
Head online and you’ve got REVS-Limiter, a sort of social media show ‘n’ tell starring the great and good of the classic car world. Goodwood, having lost the chance to hold its Members’ Meeting, Festival of Speed and Revival, have rolled the best bits of all three into Speedweek, which goes ahead in October and will encompass three days of motoring action, beamed to screens around the world.
Closer to home car nuts have been busy too. I wouldn’t have blamed the chaps behind the Ormskirk MotorFest for calling off 2020’s outing on the basis that cramming thousands of people into the town wouldn’t have been a great idea – but what they’ve done instead is turned the event into a tour, taking in towns and villages across West Lancashire.
I reckon it’s an inspired idea because it not only means all those wonderful old cars and bikes can be enjoyed in a socially distanced way, but it also resolves the long-standing moan that other bits of the borough weren’t seeing the benefits.
I know there’s the risk that it’ll just bring crowds of people out of Ormskirk and into smaller towns and villages, but with the right preparation, I reckon it could bring a whole new dimension to the event.
David Simister is the editor of Classic Car Weekly