What a crazy, exhilarating and rewarding six months it’s been. Five Open Days, two venues and nearly 2,000 cars later, Re:Fuel has gone from an idea amongst friends, to a monthly event that hosts one of the most diverse gatherings of machines (and people!) across the region. When we started this, we wanted to create an environment where car enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes could come and chill on a regular basis and indulge in a common interest they share with hundreds of other people. We didn’t know how many people felt the same way, but we were determined to find out.
After months of planning, meetings and coffee-fuelled late nights, we opened our gates for the very first time at Open Day #1 on August 18th – the official launch of Re:Fuel at the wonderful Froginwell Vineyard near Exeter in Devon . The first car to pass through the Re:Fuel gates was a local lad called George West in his pride and joy Polo GTi – followed by another 220+ vehicles: Classic cars, supercars, retro rides, vintage cars, american muscle; we couldn’t believe the variety and calibre that we were blessed with on that first day. The following Monday we had our first debrief and, once the high-fiving and back-patting was over, we went straight into not only planning our September event, but giving some serious thought to the future, the directions we could take and how much work (and money!) was going to be needed. The answer was of course “a lot” – but Re:Fuel was officially born, and here to stay.
Over the next four open days we had trials and challenges galore, but with a fantastic team and a community that quote obviously loved what we were building with them, we’ve had an absolute blast. From the cold, windy and rainy September Open Day (where we still had over 300 cars turn up!), to our move to the fantastic multi-million pound complex at Mansell Raceway, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to bring together cars like Lexus LFA’s, a 1930s Rolls Royce Phantom , a Stirling Moss signed McLaren Mercedes 722s Roadster, an Aston DB5, an F40, drift cars, a Toyota F1 car, a Triumph TRS Le Mans, James Hunt’s Lotus 59 F3 car, an Aston Martin Zagato Shooting-Break, a 1000cc open-wheeled hill-climb monster, an Alfa 8C, an incredible bagged Mercedes W114 and Audi F103 Super90, a stunning tailor-made Azzuro Dino 488 Pista, and a 1928 Bugatti Type 37A – to name just a few!
We loved ending the year with you all at our Christmas Special on 15th December. Seeing everything from a Ferrari F12 draped in tinsel and snowflakes to a 5ft 8 human turkey, everyone certainly got into the festive spirit! Even the North Pole’s finest, Santa Claus, dropped in to say hi and judge our Best Dressed competitions. It turns out he’s a bit of a petrolhead and spent the day admiring the vast array of vehicles that you all brought along. Vospers Alfa Romeo kindly lent us their brand new Alfa Romeo Gulia Quadrifoglio to take pride of place in our Grotto, alongside Mika Salo’s F1 car and Randy the reindeer. Everyone at the Re:Fuel team was astounded at the enthusiasm people had, not being afraid to get stuck in and have some fun despite the chilly weather.
What’s made Re:Fuel extra special (for us at least) is the realisation that whilst we have been the ones working hard to bring Re:Fuel to the Southwest, it’s the community who have really owned it, made it their own and made it what it is. Pontiac owners chatting with S13 owners, F40 owners having a coffee with classic Beetle owners, people catching up with old friends and making new ones; this is what we always wanted Re:Fuel to be, and it has happened in front of our very eyes. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for sharing our vision with us and making Re:Fuel a reality.
2019 has been a fantastic year for us, and we can’t wait to push the bar even further in 2020. Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming blog post on our plans for this year. We’re excited about revealing a few things!