Yesterday, in response to an ad that I saw in Friday’s Evening Standard, I trekked all the way to Queensway (OK, it was only a brisk 10 minute walk, but it was raining!) to take a look at a free street event. Pit Stop 2011 seems to have passed me by, but Pit Stop 2012 looked promising on paper, if you happen to be a petrol head. Offering, among other things, Dream Cars, Cult Cars from TV and Film, a Full Size F1 Car, a Giant Scalextic Track and even a VIP appearance by the original Stig.
Great, I thought, it sounds as if we have a replacement for the now carless Connaught Village Festival. However things didn’t turn out that way. Of course, the weather didn’t help, Saturday was a fine day and would have been perfect for a street event. Sadly, on Sunday it was cold, wet and windy. Perhaps it was this that put off both the visitors and the owners of the promised vehicles, but that wasn’t the full extent of the problems.
The Cult Cars from TV and Film were represented by a replica of KITT from Knight Rider, the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo (was the Mystery Machine really a VW?) and the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard (an orange Dodge Charger with a bull bar and the necessary graphics). A slightly underwhelming selection. I assume that the late model Dodge Challenger (mildly and, to my mind at least, tastelessly customized) was there to represent Dream cars.
The Giant Scalextric Track wasn’t giant and the Full Size F1 Car was little more than a plastic shell. I suppose that the Stig was there, but I didn’t see him.
As far as the Classics were concerned, I made the mistake of walking past the whole show in order to have a quick bite to eat before returning to take a few photographs. In that short time 50% of the cars had disappeared. The owners of the two E Type Jags had clearly had enough and had departed for greener pastures, which left just an MGB and a Volkswagen Karmen Ghia, both worthy vehicles but they did look a bit sad sitting there on their own.
I have to say that having made the (admittedly small) effort to get there in the first place, there was nothing to keep me there. If I had been a family group, travelling in from another part of London, I would have considered that effort to have been wasted.
I accept that the organisers had no control over the weather but, in this country, the weather is liable to effect events throughout the year. In early March rain is always going to be on the cards. Weather aside, as a visitor, my impression was that the whole thing wasn’t that well put together in the first place.
If the intention was to increase footfall (a loathsome expression) in the Queensway/Bayswater area at a quiet time of year then, this year at least, I'm pretty certain that it didn’t work.
I really hate to be so negative about this event because it did seem to have potential. Last year, apparently, it attracted somewhere around 3000 visitors. I don't know if that is considered to be a decent figure for a show of this kind but I would be surprised if they got anywhere near that figure this year. More importantly, it's not just about visitor numbers, it should be about how long they stay in the area. I'm sorry to say that there was nothing about Pit Stop 2012 that I liked.With a major rethink it could still be viable in the future. Sadly, after this years showing I suspect that it may be a case of once bitten, twice shy!
I hope that I'm wrong