I know about the walking at these events, but it wasn't until I arrived at the NEC I remembered (just) how big the place was, it was my first time there since the early 90's when my head was about elbow height walking around the venue. This was my first trip to the ASI, first impression, its huge, I work in a venue where we have exhibitions, this blows it away, threeish halls plus other demonstration areas make for one of the largest car, motor sport and trade shows out there.
So Day One, start of the trade days, these days are a lot quieter, which gives you more opportunity to get to see more stands, discuss with the exhibitors, pick up freebies, you know, the usual's. A fantastic chance to get up close and look at some current and historic racing cars. Throughout the day (and weekend) there are a lot of stages with various Motorsport personalities being interviewed. A must see is the amazing Pop Bang Colour art stand by Ian Cook, artwork created with... toy cars... really! If I was arranging to meet anyone throughout the day, I would describe myself as the guy in the Indycar jacket looking vague, as was the case through most of the day on little sleep. Although being a faceless [twitter] account I did have a lot of fun seeing people and saying "Hi, X..." and them looking at me, knowing full well they are thinking who the hell are you?
A restaurant recommendation for you passed onto me by Nic, I was looking for a good curry house and being in Birmingham thought my chances were high, they were - Al Frash on Ladypool Road, a fantastic curry, and magnificent (huge) naan bread!
Day Two, see day one. Just less tired. Followed by a visit to Coventry to see an old friend. One thing you will never appreciate in the Midlands is how close everything is to each other, I have discovered everything is about an hour away. Unlike Plymouth where it is two and a bit hours to Bristol and that is just to start to get going to somewhere else!!
Day Three, Saturday, I skipped. Braved a shopping trip to the Bullring where the most exciting thing I bought was some new lights for my living room, the exciting life of Adrian, aged 30 and 3/4's... Followed by a trip to the Hawthorns to see the Baggies take on Hull. £26 for a Premier League game, excellent, but, I have seen less depressing sights at Home Park this season! (Plymouth Argyle, League 2, three divisions below West Brom for those not in the know).
I did however return in time to get to the NEC to watch the Dan Wheldon Karting Trophy that evening. You can read about the event HERE as well as catching up with some highlights and chat from the event on Downforce UK Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3. This is a great event that I urge to to check out if you can, Saturday is a better fit to get more public attending than in the previous races. You get to see some pro, up and coming as well as the enthusiastic amateurs race all for a good cause, the Alzheimer Society.
Finally onto day four... by day four your feet are tired, you think you've seen all the stands, oh no, as I previously stated you are walking in some kind of motor sport labyrinth. Come the weekend and the public days so out go the trade stands, and in come the ovals, stock cars, racing clubs and more. And now, ample more opportunities to pick up some racing memorabilia, die casts and team wear. I did manage to grab a good bargain of some DW12's from Race Gear UK. Shortly after easily persuaded to sign up for Project Brahbam, cheers James, after chatting (at some length) with Sam Brabham you can understand and appreciate what they are undertaking and unlike some other crowd funding efforts that left me feeling cold recently, this is something I would urge you to check out, if not support.
This was my first visit to the ASI and if you don't think you can fill your days, you'd be wrong, plenty of exhibitors to visit, cars to photograph and most importantly, people to meet. You never know what can lead from just a conversation.
The Austosport Show will be back at the NEC next January running from 14th - 17th.