Shrewsbury Steam Rally 2017 – Review

The Rally always seems to come and go so quickly, but with everything this year being so busy and working so well, partly due to the fantastic weather, it seems no time at all since we (that’s the royal we!) first started marking out the layout of the Rally at Onslow Park this year. But before our thoughts turn too far towards the 2018 Shrewsbury Steam Rally, let’s take a brief look back at the 2017 rally.

Field Gun Display Team

The Portsmouth Action Field Gun Display Team take on 'Winnie' in the man vs machine tug-a-war.
The Portsmouth Action Field Gun Display Team take on ‘Winnie’ in the man vs machine tug-a-war.

We had so much to see at this year’s Rally, with the Portsmouth Action Field Gun Display Team (PAFG) being our main attraction in the arena, apart from our usual unmissable Grand Parade of course! Just like we are, they too are battling to keep heritage and tradition alive, and so their display was just so fitting for our event. It was clear from the moment of first contact with the display team when they arrived on site Saturday evening, they were going to be great entertainment all weekend – they are a strong team through and through. A huge thank you to the PAFG for being such great entertainment, both in and out of the arena. We hope they’ll forgive ‘Winnie’ for winning the tug-a-war!

Trevithick Loco

Trevithick Loco kindly presented by the Ironbridge Gorge Trust
Trevithick Loco kindly presented by the Ironbridge Gorge Trust

The Ironbridge Gorge Trust were kind enough to come along with the Trevithick Loco for the weekend, not just on display but with a full working demonstration along a temporary length of track – an impressive sight indeed and we thank them for all their efforts in bringing another live steam exhibit to the rally field.

We were even fortunate enough to have a fly past by the Red Arrows on Sunday afternoon – a first for our event. They obviously knew in advance where Onslow Park was, but Shrewsbury Steam Rally covers an increasingly large area these days, stretching almost a mile from one end of the site to the other. There may have been a little assistance from the fact that the current Google maps satellite imagery is from just after one of our rallies, therefore showing tracks on the fields, but they flew precisely over the centre of our main arena. Certainly a highlight to many of our visitors’ day out, as well as one of ours. A huge thank you from all of us to the Red Arrows for their brief, but very much appreciated, flying visit to Onslow Park.

The Working FieldThe Working Field

Year on year, the Working Field proves to be a very popular location at our rally. There’s action and movement in almost every direction you look and very worth the walk to see what’s down there, as well as what’s on the way.

Making it to the far end of the working field you were greeted by the power and excitement of the vintage tractor pulling by the Challenger Tractor Pulling Team. They never fail to draw a good number of our visitors and put on such a good show, clearly enjoying themselves as much as anything else!

To sum up

It doesn’t matter what the event is, if it’s outdoors then you are very much governed by the weather – from the way you do things to how many visitors come through the gate, it’s all down to the weather. In recent years, we’ve unfortunately only been blessed with one day of good weather out of the two, but this year the weather forecast was looking very much in our favour from quite early on. There were, unfortunately, reports of it being too hot for some, which did show in the number of shouts for the onsite first aid. Hopefully nothing too serious and we wish them all a speedy recovery if they haven’t already done so.

Even though we’re still to do our final counts, our 2017 rally will certainly go down in our records as a successful year. We’re getting very positive reviews from many different visitors, for which we’re very grateful, it’s always good to hear whether you’re getting it right or wrong!

As usual, there are so many people and organisations that we owe thanks to for the success of the 2017 rally. By far not the least to our exhibitors. Some of whom put vast efforts in to getting exhibits ready in time for our event. Some have so much that they want to display that they make multiple trips to get it all to the rally field. We thank you all for your efforts – we really do appreciate it.

The biggest thank you goes out to all our visitors. If it wasn’t for them, everyone else’s efforts would be wasted. We look forward to doing it all again next year. Don’t forget, put it in your diary now – 26th & 27th August 2018. See you there!

Here’s a small selection of images from Shrewsbury Steam Rally 2017 – click for larger images.

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