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The very well established Race Retro show at Stoneleigh Park in February was once again an excellent showpiece for all (or nearly all) facets of historic motorsport.


The show's moved on somewhat from its early years, when its creator and original promoter Ian Williamson invited us to get involved, which led to several very enjoyable years promoting Autograss at the show alongside Sandy and Terry Williams. Unfortunately for us, the increasing professionalism of the show meant the day came when we had to admit that, nice as it was to spend a weekend explaining Autograss to an "educated" motorsport audience, it wasn't really the marketplace for our sport, although there's always the possibility that with the increasing interest in Autograss' heritage a return by NASA might be tempting.


There was also usually a strong oval racing flavour at those early shows, mainly thanks to the BRISCA Heritage F1 and F2 groups, and Retro Rallycross would also have a presence, although we can't remember there ever being much, if any, representation from the Classic Hot Rods.


But although we're obviously disappointed that the show's not currently catering much for "our" sort of grassroots motorsport, we can't deny that it's still a fascinating show to visit, with its mix of high end and club level circuit racing and rallying exhibits and art and memorabilia stands. Maybe this year we discerned a bit of shrinkage among the exhibitors; the "club racing" hall three, which used to be NASA's home, had lost some of its regular features, with the space taken up by some of the autojumble type stalls, while the autojumble hall itself appeared half empty. Not a serious problem though - the show's still worth the money (in fact it's the only show that we ever actually pay to get in!) and there was more than enough interesting cars to see, and people to talk to, to fill the limited time we had to spend in the halls.


Our time was limited because, just like last year, the fine spring-like weather meant that it was too tempting to spend most of the day enjoying the action on the demo rally stage. This year the stage had to be relocated to the other side of the site because works associated with the dreaded HS2 railway (a project we've never considered to be remotely worth the investment or the impact on the midlands' countryside - but we mustn't stray into politics) had encroached on Stoneleigh's land. The new layout didn't quite match the old one, particularly with much more restricted spectator access, but no doubt that's something that can be worked on in the future. Publicity suggested that there'd be two alternative stages to see, but the second layout was primarily used for passenger rides - a worthwhile addition, but only featuring a limited proportion of the cars present.


The main point was that there was as usual an excellent cross section of nearly 150 cars and drivers in action - you should find every car in our photo galleries. There were a few familiar Autograss names among them - Stroud's Mark "Guppy" Smith in a Mk2 Escort, former Severn Valley Class 1 star John Petrie in a Peugeot 106, Stock Hatch Champion Ben Cree in a 205 and one time Cwmdu Junior Jason Pritchard in a Mk2 among them. With Historic Karting also having a session on the circuit, all it really needed was a few Autograss demos to warm the crowds up properly!