So, at the weekend, Karta and I took a trip to Brands Hatch to visit the American Speedfest.
Speedfest is a celebration of American automotive history, no wait, a full-blown slice of American Pie, but in a Tesco carrier bag being carried home by a chav.
The thing is, the event organisers seemed to have missed the mark. Sure, there were a plethora of American cars to admire, hot rods, muscle cars, movie cars and plenty of racing cars. There was even a monster truck that was giving rides around an arena to sunburned mums. But (and this is a big old American, but), the atmosphere wasn’t right. Let me explain.
Over the years, I have been lucky enough to have spent time in the United States of America. I love it out there; it is an excellent place to spend some time. The last time I was there, I was taken along to a county fair not far from Denver, Colorado. The fair had it all, bull riding, horse racing, livestock auctions, custom car and bike shows, monster trucks, military displays, racing car displays, a funfair, marching bands, cheerleaders, a baseball game, a football game, a flea market, a BBQ cooking competition, beauty pageants and a WWE style wrestling ring. The place was packed, it had it all, but the essential thing that shone out above all of the above was the atmosphere, it was intoxicating.
If the Speedfest organisers want to make their event a huge draw for the people of the south-east of England and beyond, they will have to do a bit more research and spend some time at big county fairs in America. Only then will they have a real sense of what an American themed automotive festival should be.
The one thing that summed up the entire day for me was the 5’2″ Judge Dredd cos-player, wandering around the place with his Judge Dredd grimace supplanted upon his double chin. The illusion was destroyed when I asked him to say, “I am the law”. The reply in a thick Essex accent was, “Nah mate, I don’t do da voyce!” With that, he turned on his heel and wandered off with a dirty Star Wars Storm Trooper.
I think that I’ll give it a year or two before I visit another American Speedfest in the UK.