Well here I am sat back at home typing up this review after a weekend of Land Rover fun and a round trip of 350 miles. I'm shattered, but am determined to finish this review before I go to bed!
The weekend started with an early start on Saturday morning, which was made even earlier thanks to the god of thunder who woke me up with torrential rain and a superb lightning show. By the time we got north of Taunton, the rain eased and the clouds gave way to some sporadic sunshine, which then continued all the way to the show.
So what was my first impressions of the show as I arrived the the gates of Stratford racecourse? Well, it was much bigger than I expected for a show only in its second year, and the presentation was great. You drove around the edge of the show on the way to the car park, which just added to the air of excitement!
Land Rovers were well represented, as you would expect, and the show really showed off the versatility of the Land Rover platform. But there was also some awesome vehicles from Toyota, Mercedes and Nissan to name a few. I was a big fan of the massive Mercedes overland trucks, complete with quad bike in the back!
The traders had gone to a massive effort, and there was a large range of products on offer. Tent's, teepee's, yurts, ex-military clothing and equipment, as well as brand new overland conversion companies selling there latest gear. It was also nice to see bush-craft products and demonstrations there too.
I took my time to have a wander around the show, making sure I saw everything, then repeated it all over again and shot some photos. I then repeated it a third time to start buying some bits and pieces.
I had only bought limited cash, as I knew I would go on a spending spree if I had my cards with me. So I was very reserved on my spending! However, it didn't stop me from taking leaflets and advice to follow up at a later date.
The other thing of note was the world food area. Visitors to the show were spoilt for choice with food from all four corners of the world. One particular vendor had a constant queue for their burgers, but not ordinary burgers, you could choose from crocodile, kangaroo, bison and other exotic meats. Also on the menu was camel curry!
So was I impressed. Yes I was. The venue of Stratford racecourse was easy to find, relatively central in the country, and had more than enough room. There were plenty of marshals to direct you on arrival, and the car park was large, and right next to the show area, so no long walks!
There was more than enough room for everybody. The racecourse could accommodate a show 3 times as large, and still have space leftover. The traders weren't crammed in, the camp site was spacious, and there was even toilet and shower facilities too.
I am struggling to find a negative to balance out this review, but I can't really find one! A minor niggle that I had was that I wasn't handed a layout of the event upon arrival. This would have been handy, as I spent a while looking for where the seminars were being held. With regards the seminars, if I hadn't noted the times before hand, I wouldn't have known when they were on. Granted, they were published on the shows website, but not everybody would have printed them out or noted them down before they arrived.
Overall I think the show organiser Tom McGuigan is onto a winner. Stratford racecourse is a fantastic venue where the show can expand and grow in the coming years. I know I will be back next year, maybe with a Land Rover Blog stand of my own!