The 2015 Lincolnshire Steam & Vintage Rally celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the event which has grown from 250 exhibits entered at the inaugural show to a regular contingent of around 1600 entries these days. One innovation to be applauded last year was to give free entry to children to try and make it good value and attract families. As people get older, some inevitably pass on and this year the programme played tribute to around a dozen, however, there did seem to be some errors with the programme as it listed last year's entries for at least some the Bygones & Tractor listing, including one deceased member and another who has since sold all his tractors.
The full-size steam listed 120 entries in the programme split over a number of categories: showmen's road locomotives, showmen's tractors, ploughing engines, crane engines, haulage road locomotives, steam tractors, traction engines, steam rollers, steam waggons (lorries), portable engines & a solitary steam car. This was pretty much equalled by the miniature steam once the few that were exhibited in part-built status were taken into account. Suffice to say that there were many different types to look at and with a few always on the move to go for water, it's far from a static display. It seemed that the commercial vehicle section had expanded a little this year as the line down the roadway through the camping area reached virtually to the bottom. It was good to see a good selection of buses and coaches from a variety of different eras, and the small commercials such as Morris Minors and BLMC Minis were mixing it up with the bigger boys.
One or two vehicles appeared to have changed ownership in the last 12 months and were to be seen in bright new liveries. Most of the regulars were there but it's not Lincoln without Jim the Brick's London Brick AEC Mammoth Major Driver-training lorry although the man himself was there. As usual the emergency vehicles were split into two different groups or organisations and the military vehicles are not so plentiful of old, but still a varied display. The cars are always of a good mix of types and genres and this year was no exception. The bad-ass rat-motor stood out like a sore thumb and was really at the wrong type of show. The customised "Auntie" Rover was well done for what it was but how the purists would turn in their grave, and again was more apt for a custom-car show.
Motorbikes are always plentiful and there was a good selection of different sidecar types this year. There isn't really a classic camper section here but odd older camper vans can be found dotted around. There is a small vintage caravan section that ought to be swelled by another 3 or 4 who show in the bygones section. Likewise, a few years ago some horticultural transferred up to an extension of the bygones from their own area and this year, another was in our main display area. When there is a long waiting list for bygone exhibitors who could add depth and different displays to the section, my personal opinion is that the horticultural should be back with their own section, not taking up over-subscribed space in ours.
Genuine bygone displays included, oil-cans, WWII memorabilia, blow-lamps, household bygones, Victorian & Edwardian bottles, petrol cans, Primus stoves & Tilley lamps, a Guinness collection, wheelwright's tools & cast-iron nameplates. Organs of various sizes are always dotted around the site but again there seemed one or two gaps where organs have stood in recent years. The vintage fair was up to the usual standard with Ken Fox' Wall of Death continuing to travel for another season. Elsewhere on the tober, electric steam yachts, cake walk, traditional helter-skelter, big wheel, gallopers, Austin pedal-car ride and juveniles were all in attendance. Across the way, the model hall was full of all types of models, bygones & crafts but the Meccano section wasn't as good this year, the exception being the working fun-house.
Stationary engines were in their normal pens and with much better weather over the weekend, managed to get more pictures of both these and the tractors this year. The tractors continue to be lined up in make and model order but there is still no true veteran tractors entered at what should be a premier event, although this may be to do with access conditions across the showground for steel-wheeled or track-laying machinery. However, the general standard of entries was good, although there are still some off-farm unrestored machines here and there, which is as it should be.
Less money on paint, more on mechanics, as a mate is often saying. All-in-all a very good show made by the weather, pity the rain didn't hold off for another hour or so on Sunday afternoon, but as we packed up early, a 35-minute queue to get off-site wasn't too bad by Lincoln standards.