Autosport International is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, car shows in the UK. Two trade days followed by two public days mean a lot of people traipsing through the halls of the NEC.
Personally, I prefer the trade days at any car show. It’s a bit quieter so it’s easier to walk around and I see more people I know. This was my first time at the Autosport show, would it be different? In a word, no. It’s not a bad show but it’s a mix of people in motorsport networking and announcing news with the general public who may not even be that bothered about cars, they want a day out or maybe to see the Live Action Arena, mainly because someone famous is driving something there.
I like my motorsport unadulterated and grassroots. Getting involved myself and meeting people with a similar passion knocks the socks off standing around a show waiting to see Damon Hill, it knocks the socks off some of these high level, high status race meetings where not much happens and if it does then it is all off track (yes, Formula 1 I’m looking at you here!)
One good thing from this weekend was being involved with the free passenger rides as part of the GoMotorsport campaign. The idea here is to give people an opportunity to have a taste of motorsport. You would not believe how difficult it is to get people to try something for free. I suspect a lot of them think it can only be free if we try to sell them something else during it or they think motorsport is only about BTCC or F1 and an autosolo doesn’t interest them. They forget that one is affordable and anyone can take part, yes they can rag their pride and joy round an empty car park but they don’t realise that competitions give them a safe environment to do that and they may not actually be as quick as they think they are! All said though, standing in the cold for hours and lots of people just walking past was worth it for the smiles of the 1200 people who did try it out over the weekend. Especially the kids. If just 5% of those people go on to come to an event, marshal or compete that’s still 60 new people. That was worth standing in the cold for.