Shrewsbury Steam Rally has something for all the family this bank holiday weekend

Shrewsbury Steam Rally takes place at Onslow Park this Sunday and bank holiday Monday with something for all the family to enjoy.

Shrewsbury Steam Rally takes place this weekend. Photo: Chris Pritchard
Shrewsbury Steam Rally takes place this weekend. Photo: Chris Pritchard

The Rally hosts a variety of preserved commercial vehicles, that includes lorries, buses, fire engines, miniature steam engines, 6 acres of trade stands, craft marquee and a large display of military vehicles. The Olde Time Fair offers lots of fun, with steam-powered rides for all – accompanied by vintage fairground music.

The family-friendly event provides some enjoyable entertainment with a full Arena Programme on both days, including the highly-popular and majestic cavalcade of Showman’s engines, traction engines, steam rollers and steam cars. Spectators can also enjoy the annual highly-popular interactive display of birds of prey.

Tractor Pulling and Working Field

Visitors to the Working Field will be treated to some exciting tractor pulling. Organised each year by Kate Seabridge, the spectacle brings hundreds of visitors who want to see powerful tractors pit their strength and the skill of their drivers against a massive weight!

Victorian farming skills and techniques will be on display. Photo: Chris Pritchard
Victorian farming skills and techniques will be on display. Photo: Chris Pritchard

Kate said: “If you like vintage tractors but want more action smoke and noise then tractor pulling at the rally will definitely excite you, where vintage meets modern, plenty of action over the weekend, all kinds of tractors from standard to modified and if we are lucky perhaps even some steam engines.”

The Working Field has a full programme of agricultural activities including working tractors and the display of Victorian farming methods that are a great way of viewing the past and seeing how farming was done in Victorian times. There will be demonstrations of some wonderful original farming skills and techniques.

Post-War cars

The ’Post-War car section’ has received a bumper number of applications from potential exhibitors and this year the age limit for entries has been raised to 31st December 1985 to allow the inclusion of more modern classic cars.

A large selection of post war cars will be on display
A large selection of post-war cars will be on display

An example of one of the new entries that will be on display is the 1984 Ford Capri 2.8 injection owned by Ben Jones of Minsterley. The car was purchased new by Ben’s grandfather; the car is completely original and has covered 40,000 miles from new.

Andrew Downton the Post-War car secretary said: “We are looking forward to another successful event and we have a number of new exhibits that have not been previously seen at the Rally.  Inclusion of new exhibits has been boosted by a reduction in the allowable age of entries. If you have a vehicle from the late 70s and early 80s I would be particularly interested to hear from you with a view to exhibiting next year.”

Motorcycles Galore

A major attraction at each year’s event are the many motorcycles that will be on show in the Main Arena, and in their static exhibition area.

Mark Bishop, Section Secretary for the motorcycles said: “As part of the 1000 exhibits at this year’s Rally we have some new and exciting motorcycles.  Motorcycles are a really popular part of the rally and this year we have marques ranging from a 1914 New Hudson, a 1923 McKenzie and a 1925 BSA ‘round tank’, to a 1963 Triumph 3TA. a 1925 Federation and a 1956 T.W.N Cornet. 

“We also have some great little kids bikes like a 1972 Honda ST 70, a 1970 Yamaha TY80 and a Italjet 50cc. My father Ian, is exhibiting his 1948 BSA M33 500cc which he completely restore. It was the last year of the girder fork front suspension type, and the bike was originally made to carry a sidecar”.

Military Vehicles

Three military vehicles that took part in the D-Day landing commemorations will be on display at this year’s rally.

Ben Kaye’s 1943 Scammell Pioneer SV 2S heavy recovery vehicle and his 1941 Scammell Pioneer R100 Heavy Artillery Tractor on the beach at Arromanches
Ben Kaye’s 1943 Scammell Pioneer SV 2S heavy recovery vehicle and his 1941 Scammell Pioneer R100 Heavy Artillery Tractor on the beach at Arromanches

Ben Kaye, Section Secretary for the Military Vehicles said: “Thee vehicles illustrated will be at Shrewsbury Steam rally and promise to delight visitors.  A 1940 AEC Matador made the 700-mile round trip to be at the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on Gold Beach at Arromanches along with a 1940 Scammell Pioneer R100.

They both took part in various parades and events and had a very warm welcome from everybody that we met. The Matador had just undergone a four-year full restoration in readiness for the trip to the Normandy beaches and the Scammell had a service and repaint. 

“It was a very moving and humbling experience being part of the 75th commemorations to celebrate and remember those who gave their lives so we can all enjoy our freedom”.

Fabulous Fanfare for Historic Grand Parade

Visitors are going to be thrilled and excited when four members of the Light Division & Rifles Buglers Association provide a fanfare for the Grand Parade in the Main Arena.

Two Sentinel steam wagons made in Shrewsbury

Edward Goddard, Chairman of the County of Salop Steam Engine Society said: “The Grand Parade is a Celebration of Steam, when the steam engines, steam rollers – in fact ‘everything steam’ – parades in the Main Arena to the sound of the stirring Pomp and Circumstance by Elgar.”

The 8-Rifles Light Role Infantry Reserve will have an Exhibition stand and provide activities suitable for families.

Sheila Stephenson , from 8 Rifles Community Engagement Team said: “We will be running a Weapons stand that will showcase our full suite of weapons and Siting systems that we use in E Company, we will also have soldiers in Field kit, camouflaged on hand to talk to anyone who has questions, there will be Virtual Reality Goggles that will run through various scenarios, see if you can come up with a plan quickly to deal with each scenario. if you like what you have seen and would like to do more, then there will be an opportunity to get our details on the stand, talk to some of our soldiers about life in the Reserves and what to expect.”


Tickets on the gate for this year’s rally cost:

Adult – £14, Seniors – £13, Child (5 – 16yrs inc.) – £1, Under 5yrs – Free

Gates open at 9.15am on both days.

Chris Pritchard
Chris Pritchard is Editor of Shropshire Live and lives in Shrewsbury. You can contact Chris by emailing or call 01743 818 095.
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