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Hot Rod Hayride Retrospective
You really would have to have had your head in the sand for the last few years not to be aware of the Hot Rod Hayride. The reputation of this show has been building year on year both in the UK and internationally, and 2008 saw the fourth year of the ‘Hayride’ organized by London club, the Executioners at the picturesque Bisley camp in Surrey. This ex-miltary shooting range is mostly unchanged since the early 20th Century and the period buildings made a great backdrop to the cars, bikes, guys and girls that attend the Hayride.
As well as having all the cool rides to check out, every year the Executioners try and introduce a new element to the show, we’ve had timed hill climbs, an oval dirt track with vintage stock car racers, (more of a mud pit thanks to the rain!) and this year we had the added spectacle of a genuine restored ‘Wall of Death’ motorcycle stunt show, plus a very cool hot rod art show with talented guest Keith Weesner over from California to checkout the Hayride and sign some artwork too.
With an even bigger attendance than before, the Hayride which is a cool blend of hot rod show and rockabilly weekender, was once again one of the highlights of the UK calendar despite the disappointing and unseasonal wet weather.
With some hot rockin’ bands on both the Friday and Saturday nights plus live Burlesque playing in the pavilion until the early hours it was the place to be if ‘traditional’ is your thing. As well as the American visitors, more and more European clubs are crossing the channel for the Hayride, and bringing their cars too.
It’s also a popular misconception that the event is for primered or unpainted and unfinished cars, as long as the rod/custom/bike is built in a traditional style it is welcome at the Hayride. In fact you could arrive in a high tech billet bomber if you really wanted, but you would have to be prepared to park it in the back of beyond and not use it all weekend as it would dilute the theme of the weekend.
The Hayride is more than just a rod run though, its as much a ‘state of mind’ as it is an event, so needless to say, you could potentially have the coolest period perfect car out there, but if you don’t ‘get it’ you might well feel a tad out of place, especially with Dire Straits, Chris Rea or Coldplay on your CD/MP3.
Having said that, we know one rodder went last year and had a great time and didn’t turn up his jeans once all weekend!
Story & photos: Keith Harman