The forecourt roadshows change hands

The end of an era!

The forecourt & fuel roadshows have been organised by David & Carolyn Honeyman for around 30 amazing years. But it’s all change, as ownership of the shows is transferred to The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA); kicking off in Knutsford in March next year.

As a well-known and (dare I say) well loved series of events in this great industry, our editor (co-incidentally also called David Honeyman) reflects on 30 years’ involvement in this business, and pays tribute to everyone who’s helped make it happen along the way.

My aim is not for this to be self-indulgent waffle, but rather an acknowledgement of gratitude to so many industry professionals who have been a part of our well-established events. It may prove to be a very difficult article to write without including too many exclamation marks (!!) and smiley faces.

But here goes!

We originally launched as ‘forrex’ in November 1991 at Sandown Park racecourse – totally my idea, but at that time I was working freelance for the publishers of Service Station magazine (if any of you can remember that far back!) The show was nine months in the making and, with the greatest respect to my kids, this truly was ‘my baby.’ Following a further date in Coventry 1992 the management sold the company – oops!

I subsequently jumped ship, and will be eternally thankful to all the pre-booked exhibitors who stuck with me as I created The Regional Forecourt Show. (This included the legendary Terry Potter of Mars, Ferrero and Ginsters fame). This group grew to fill a banqueting suite at Old Trafford Cricket Ground in October ‘92.

And how about this – on the day I left, a press release came round from the then owners of the National Forecourt Show at the NEC. They would not be holding the event in 1993! Christmas really did come early for me that year.

A further show in Maidstone that year and we were really on our way.

Kicking off ’93 at The Webbington

So off I went with six shows.

I really appreciated the vote of confidence of all exhibitors in that early stage, but a real big special “hats off” and thanks to his Lordship – the great Arthur Plumpton of North Yorkshire, who booked four stands at all six venues – for Microlec, Pumptronics, Lectronics and Triscan.

One phone call – 24 Stands!!

And he’s still a great friend to this day.

The queues to get in, back in those early days were legend (isn’t life grand looking back).

Great times – great memories!

We have many, many memories from the many, many roadshows over the years. I hope you’ve shared some of them. Here is just a brief selection, in no chronological order.

Let’s start with Nottingham – 23rd March 1993. Who’s idea was it to build a ramp to build-up to the 1st floor? A steep incline, scaffold poles, boards, no nails, rain – what could possibly go wrong?? The answer was – basically everything!  But visitors came, and the day was saved

Peterborough – where were the visitors?

Skittles nights at The Webbington – such fun, with the mini bus, the sticker-uppers, local beer and access to the skittle alley via the gents’. Oh and a certain Sales Director falling flat on his face!

Tickets for the Football – Utd v Celtic at Old Trafford and Villa winning 6 – 0 in the league cup (and Carolyn picking up the sweepstake)

Ejecting an un-named retailer in Manchester for upsetting everyone

Keith Mowbray holding court for three hours with Sam the sheepdog

The poor rep from Q8 knocked out during breakdown in Scotland

The Boozy nights, with the 2, 3 and even 4am clubs

Crazy golf, karting, kilts and haggis in Scotland – great times

The Wesumat truck wiping out the front of the hotel in the snow in Runcorn

The huge tank of water suddenly appearing in the suite in Southampton

The tour de France buses filling the car park in Bristol

The perennial grief we got from Inchyra Grange cancelling, forgetting or just plain losing our bookings

The evenings when we opened after setting up, and those magnificent 15 visitors in Maidstone

The inedible food in Bolton – where none of us paid and they ran out of alcohol and glasses!

The regular, brilliant pre-show evenings with 10-20 exhibitors round the dinner table truly enjoying the company (and getting paid for it)

The Guinness running out in Belfast (twice!)

The guided tours of Old Trafford

“The Theatre of Dreams”

And of course, the gypsy wedding in Cheshire – complete with murder!

And so to March 2020: Knutsford

Just two weeks before the first lockdown. Who could possibly have known how the next 18 months would go, as we held our last show in the ‘old world’.

And as we were due to reboot in Wakefield at The Cedar Court last November, they kindly informed us that they had decided not to open their doors – just a few weeks before the show.

But when one door closes… And their sister hotel in Bradford became our new home in West Yorks, and proved to be the best room we’ve ever used. See you there on November 10th for our last hurrah.

It’s all about the people

Ultimately, our events are about the people, and we’ve been blessed with such a warm, friendly attitude from exhibitors and visitors alike. We’ve made many, many friends, and been pleased to have helped develop business relationships, friendships, and even the odd marriage, between industry colleagues.

I’d like to make special mentions to so many people who have supported us, stuck with us through thick and thin and have been so much more than just clients and colleagues. You have been part of the fabric; part of the roadshow family – in no particular order (believe me, you all count). Apologies if I leave anyone out. So…..

Clive Steel and the brilliant Air-Serv team – Richard, George, Lisa, Dessie and all. Steve Davies, Jennie, Trevor & Christine and all our pals at Ancorra, Paul Cooper (chief scout and gold watch candidate), John Reynolds (from day one), Darrin (2 crumbles) Francis, Siobhan, Tony Boyce (still with us mate) my friends at the PRA (notably the great Phil Monger) Oli Yeo and gang at Griphero, Gideon, Truman and the team from Edge. Thanks Maja, Jag Bains, Robert Mortimer, the wonderful Signor Steve Harrington, Akay Ismet, Adrian Beeby (occasionally giving me a hard time) John Bessell (still giving me a hard time), Warren & Lyn Peters, Debbie Ghigi, Keith Mowbray and his dogs, Sam & Charley.

And there’s more…

Mr Sluman, Barry Onions, Alex Boudry, Duncan Amos, Davie Jackson, Luke Baker, Ramsay, Brian Doggett, Steve Richards, Peter Harrison (CFC) Cheryl Ashton (you just couldn’t keep away!) Pete Jackaman, Martin Steggles, Andy Kennedy, Colin Duckworth, Tom Lewis, Dave Lindon, Frank Mac, Jim and John up in Scotland, Paul Muncey (loved the banter) Niki Rodhouse, Barry Mullins, Ian Stephens, Mark Baldwin, Mark Orr, Clive Drake, Mike Piggott, uncle Tom Cobley and all.

As I said earlier – apologies if I’ve left you off the list – but what a list!


Sadly, some great friends are no longer with us, notably: Barrie Butler, Noel Birkett, Mike Webber, John Shard, Frank Hare, Edward Hopkinson & Jonathan Coombes. Super people and amazing industry stalwarts.

It’s lovely to have enjoyed the company and friendship of these old school industry legends, but time waits for no man and there are fantastic, young, energetic, super talented people now running rings round us old fogeys, like Julian and the super team at EdgePetrol, Luke Jenkins, Julie Patino and Alex Boudry – making massive and deserved progress through the industry.

Our team

A big thanks for the countless hours Alison has put in over the years, chasing up visitors and helping Carolyn on reception. It’s been great working with you Alison and we will of course stay in touch.

Denise – our design guru, who continues to do an amazing job on INSITE and will cringe when she reads this.

Our little dog Teddy was integral to the team. He came to a number of shows and was always welcomed by many guests and exhibitors alike – now sadly missed.

And, of course, my partner in crime. Carolyn is always 100% enthusiastic and honest, treating everybody exactly the same – whatever their job title – with respect and friendship (even if she did have to knock the occasional uppity exhibitor into shape).

And so to the future

We’ve worked with the PRA at the Roadshows for many, many years; and we’re confident our events are going to a good home. Gordon, Steve and the team are committed to serving fuel retailers – so where else could be better? We wish them every success.

We are running the shows for the remainder of this year and will do all that we can to ensure a smooth and pain-free transition of management. We will always be at the end of the phone if needed.

I’m still very much involved in the industry, with my role at the PEIMF and INSITE magazine (very reasonable advertising rates) and will be pleased to keep in touch.

So, when the curtain comes down on the forecourt roadshow in Bradford on November 10th, as far as Carolyn and I are concerned (and to quote Looney Tunes)

That’s all folks!

Forecourt Roadshows

Forecourt Roadshows
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