With last year’s event proving to have more than twice the number of buses there had been at the past five rallies before that, many enthusiasts had high expectations for this year’s event, especially with this year being promoted as Happy Harold’s 90th birthday celebration. Did the event deliver?
In terms of buses, last year’s event had only just a few more vehicles than this year, but there was thankfully still a great range of buses of differing ages, ranging from the aforementioned 90 year old trolleybus ‘Happy Harold’ to an example of a 2017 Wave branded Scania MMC that belongs to the YN67 batch. Perhaps the only notable absentees this year were Rambler of Hastings and Paul Houselander’s open top Bristol VR RVB977S, but Paul more than certainly made up for it with what he brought in replacement of it- N386LPN, an ex Stagecoach Alexander RL Volvo Olympian that has not been out at a rally for almost two years after entering preservation. We had almost given up hope on it, so it was a very special surprise when it appeared and something we were not expecting at all!
Above: A total of 28 vehicles attended this year’s event. Photo is copyright of Michael Amos.
A complaint some have brought up about the Hastings rally in the past is that there is not a lot of variety in terms of what vehicles go out for rides; many years typically see only Routemasters and open toppers going out for rides, but the complaint was without a doubt rectified this year. Happy Harold gave rides around the town unlike at last year’s event, with other vehicles providing rides including preserved Arriva DAF DB250LF S223JUA, ex Stagecoach Volvo B10M L345KCK, the aforementioned N386LPN, Stagecoach Cancer Research liveried Scania Enviro 400 15586 and Seaford and District open toppers HKE690L and VDV818.
Above: Recently preserved ex Arriva DAF DB250LF S223JUA is seen alongside fellow DAF DB250LF X425FGP at the rally. This was the former’s first outing in preservation. Photo is copyright of Michael Amos.
Above: At the end of the day, there was a beautiful lineup of classic preserved ex-Stagecoach vehicles. From left to right is preserved ex Stagecoach Alexander RL bodied Volvo Olympian N386LPN, preserved ex Stagecoach Alexander RL bodied Volvo Olympian N389LPN and preserved ex Stagecoach Alexander PS bodied Volvo B10M L345KCK. Photo is copyright of Michael Amos.
Plenty of cars were also on display at the event and there were plenty of stands with a decent variety of models. Everyone who helped to organise the event deserves a pat on the back as many smiling faces were spotted around the venue. I think we can all agree that Happy Harold had a lovely 90th birthday party!