Enthusiasts defend right to hold car conventions

Modified car meet in Spalding.
Modified car meet in Spalding.
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CAR enthusiasts from all over the country have reacted angrily to being labelled “boy racers” after a massive meet in Spalding.

More than 450 cars congregated on Holland Market car park on Saturday evening, prompting some complaints from residents about noise and dangerous driving.

But those involved in the event, which was promoted through social network website Facebook, claim only a very small minority were involved in any anti-social behaviour, while the rest were there to socialise and share their passion for modified cars.

After the Lincolnshire Free Press hit the news stands on Tuesday bearing the front page headline ‘Boy Racers in Town Takeover’, our Facebook page was overrun with angry comments defending the event, which went ahead with the blessing of local police and resulted in no arrests.

And a number of car enthusiasts involved in the so-called Spalding Takeover were spurred into e-mailing the Spalding Guardian to express their disappointment at the way the event was portrayed.

Martin Gale said: “It seems to me that the only views are the bad ones.

“It was put across as a disgraceful crime that had taken place, but it wasn’t anything of the sort.

“It was controlled, all the cars turned up, parked up and then left when they decided they wanted to.

“There was no racing whatsoever.”

Another reader, Richard Wade called the article “stupidly biased” and said: “These people are not boy racers – they are car enthusiasts and most have put a lot of money and time into their cars.

“It must be disheartening for them to be slandered like this when they have just tried to get a nice meet going.

“It was a big success with people coming from all over England to visit and make new friends, which is what it is all about.”

And Spalding resident Mary Chamberlain, whose 19-year-old son attended the event, said it was intended as a “static” meet with cars parking up and people comparing and admiring the modifications and learning and drawing inspiration from each other.

She said it was attended by a mix of people of all ages, both male and female, and some took along their families as it was a friendly social occasion.

Mrs Chamberlain said: “If I thought for one minute that my son was out there causing any nuisance at these events I would take the car keys off him myself, but he’s not.

“That is not what it is about.

“He loves his car and is very proud of and spends a lot of time and money on it.

“This is his hobby and means that instead of propping a bar up somewhere getting drunk, or doing drugs, he is going along to these events and socialising with other like-minded people.

“What happened on Saturday night was not illegal and they were happy to have the police there because they were not doing anything wrong.

“Unfortunately. there is always going to be a small minority that spoil it for everyone else by racing around and giving them all a bad name.”.