This is the first Classic car and country show that the Lions has organised. They obviously have had some experience as marshals were well briefed, suitably attired and directed the cars to the various show locations where space was ample and the grass was freshly cut a day or so before. Views to the rolling Kent/Sussex countryside to the east were lovely. The route into the show was well signposted 4-5 miles before the show ground and the route in was,” pure Kent.” The journey there invoked memories of bygone Kent: once off the M20 routes took you through the lovely villages of Cranbrook, Sissinghurst, Headcorn, Biddenden and Tenterden. All classic deep Kent villages that set you up for the location itself, a rural farm, deep in the borders of Kent and Sussex, with whistles of the Kent and East Sussex steam railway echoing across the valley at regular intervals. This was a beautiful location. In my view I think the best way to describe the event is to liken it to a more intimate version of the Rye show with: 150 classic cars; a central arena; rides for children; quite a few quality stalls; hot food (with the prerequisite bacon butties and real coffee for breakfast).
Cars were invited to drive around the arena and a commentary on each was provided by a very knowledgeable commentator on what was being driven. I had the privilege to ride shot gun alongside Colin Craven in his 1969 1750cc Spider Veloce to a ripple of applause from the crowd in the( up until 1330) hot and bright sunshine. Roger Smith, in his 1977 Kamm tail Spider, took a deferment and watching from the sidelines. I, myself, lost my bottle and left My MiTo QV line TCT on the grass – fearing that I would get laughed at! That said, as the judges inspected the line up, I was asked to lift the bonnet to my MiTo, whilst dirt under the valances was subject to a rub with the finger and the split Alfa Logo on the front seats was commented on. Although, I have to admit, I think the judge was probably perplexed why a 66 plate Alfa MiTo was there at all and was just curious?
Within this juncture, the temperature suddenly dropped, the sky went black, the heavens opened and my car got wet … this was traumatic as it is only the third time my car had got wet in 12 months at car shows. I was traumatised and having saved my baby from melting by means of a leather chamois…. proceeded to the main arena as Colin Craven had been called to be judged against a GT something or other (that had never been driven on a road) and a Rolls Royce (with what only appeared to contain Royalty, lacking only the Tiara). Nail biting moments later, Colin’s Spider was pronounced….. third in class. He received 3 or 4 handshakes on the way out of the arena, whilst the GT was loaded onto a trailer and The Rolls Royce (which I kid you not had RH as part of the registration!) drove off into the, what was by now, an ever darkening sky. With rapidly depleted car ranks and an awful weather forecast, at 1500 the organisers chose to close the show early!
A fantastic day out! The atmosphere was friendly and was geared towards families as well as enthusiasts with its wide variety of stalls, other displays and the dog show adding to the fun. As mentioned before, it was a more intimate version of the Rye Show with the Lions aiming to make this bigger next year and it comes highly recommended as part of the AROC calendar.