Despite the sun beating down, on glorious Saturday morning in May, my trip with my son to the UK Slot Car Festival got off to an inauspicious start.
As we turned off the motorway, on to the approach road for the British Motor Museum, I was suddenly very worried.
Where is everyone? Why is it so quiet?
The road was literally empty except for us.
Are we really in the right place? On the right day?
By my watch it was over 30 minutes since the UK Slot Car Festival should have started. After seeing the huge online festival buzz, surely this place should be heaving?
I looked over to my son in the passenger seat, an uncertain look on his face, he just shrugged.
“Well, let’s get to the museum and see what we can see!”
It’s rare to feel such relief at the sight of a virtually full car park, but that’s exactly what I felt as we followed the directions waved to us by the man in the high-viz jacket.
Phew! The UK Slot Car Festival 2018 is on!
We needn’t have worried. Inside the museum, it was clear to see the festival was as popular as I’d imagined – with the upper floor alive with hundreds of enthusiast, collectors and racers, and a reassuring number of dads and lads.
Half the show was dedicated to traders selling every slot car related item you could think of – from brand news sets and the latest cars, to second-hand Scalextric track and spare parts, to scenics and the rarest of collectables.
As tempting as it was to spend, spend, spend – possible even to remortgage the house – I managed to resist. Though, after having my head turned, I’ve added the beautiful little Policar March 701 to my wish list.
Let’s Go Racing!
As much as my lad enjoyed looking round the stalls, what he absolutely loved was being able to race so many tracks.
The Let’s Go Racing competition encouraged you to try 8 of the hugely impressive track layouts at the show – with those posting the fastest times across all 8 winning prizes.
It’s fair to say we weren’t in danger of troubling the leader board but we had great fun trying.
A Slot Car Celebration
The quietness of the roads around the museum, contrasted against the noise and enthusiasm inside, is probably as good an analogy you’ll get for slot car scene as I can come up with.
On the surface, you’d never know it’s there. You rarely see slot cars in the shops. Specialist retailers have disappeared from our high streets to the quieter corners of the internet.
And yet, not only are there an increasing number of us hobbyists, there’s an incredibly vibrant club scene, supported by thousands of passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated fans.
The UK Slot Car Festival not only celebrates this but it shares it with the likes me and my son. Showing us what’s out there, what’s possible, and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.
UK Slot Car Festival in Pictures
Here are a few of my pictures from the festival (usual disclaimers apply):
Take a look at this post, if you want more pictures from the UK Slot Car Festival!