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Show Review

The first thing that always hits me when I attend these types of show is the distance between the car park and the action. But then I'm a fundamentally lazy person. Having to walk anywhere is against my basic nature. Fortunately, on the public days there should be shuttle buses to get from the more remote car parks to the entrance hall of the imposing National Exhibition Centre.

Once through the usual queuing and orientation with the maps has taken place you'll find yourself with literally hundreds of stalls and displays to explore. Some are obviously big money enterprises whilst others are simpler, more homely affairs. There's certainly no lack of choice, though it's quite obvious that there are plenty of smaller motorsports companies who simply won't have been able to afford the £2,000 minimum charge for even the smallest of spaces. Companies like... well, companies like ourselves, where £2,000 would take a huge chunk out of our annual budget.

However, in the world of multi-million pound PR budgets the cost of the space is minimal. Instead the money is concentrated on paying for drivers like Martin Brundle and John Watson to go head to head on the Microprose stand race simulators, or the money goes on the tidy corporate hospitality suites built into the big two floor displays that probably cost tens of thousands to build.

Catering on the day is the usual combination of expensive and none too tasty, but it fills a hungy hole when you've been wandering through stall after stall for what seems like miles. Food is available for most tastest, but if your requirements are strictly vegetarian, Kosher, or Hallal then don't expect much in the way of choice. There's certainly a wide range of cafés and restaurants to make sure that wherever you are you should never feel hungry.

Some of the stands are fantastic if you're a complete racing anorak! A show like this is really about the cars and technology. So if you want to see what an F1 brake system looks like close up then go and visit the Brembo stand. If clutches do it for you then nip over and say hello to the boys at AP. Heck, there's even an Autojumble for classic car owners to root through, though as ever I failed to find a single part for my ancient Alfa!

If your interest lies more in the personalities behind the wheels then apart from a few notable exceptions you'll be out of luck. Although you can see which drivers are in attendance by looking in our 'stars' section. If you want to meet the drivers in many of the British race championships then simply turn up at almost any event and ask. You'll be surprised how approachable almost anybody outside the F1 and BTCC circuses can be. Watch out for the Speed race calendar which is due out on our official launch late in February 1997.

Another event incorporated into the show which is new this year is the Autosport Engineering show. This is only available on the Thursday and Friday. Access is restricted for the general public, but almost everyone in the motorsport industry should be able to get in to that area.

So would we recommend you go to the show? Well, you're reading this review... so you're probably keen on motorsport... so yes, go there, and prepare for a great day. Just remember to arrive early to make sure you have time to see everything there is.

Dave Coveney

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