If you’re into Volkswagens, particularly the iconic Beetle, then you really can’t afford to miss Bug Jam.
The self-proclaimed ‘original and best VW festival’ hit its 30th anniversary this year, so in Bug Jam organisers knew they had to make 2016’s event a memorable one. And boy was it!
Staged at Santa Pod from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th July, Bug Jam’s schedule consisted of drag racing, stunt displays, autojumble, comedy acts, a funfair and not to mention, five gig arenas with performances from Prince and David Bowie tribute acts. Easy may their musical genius rest.
There were new additions to the event, such as the urban ninja obstacle course and Little Buggerz – an activity area for the under-tens with magicians, Punch & Judy shows and the chance to design your own tie dye t-shirts.
This is all very pleasant, yes, but what about the cars? Oh, there were plenty of those…
Over on the famous Santa Pod raceway, sat this black-as-night Beetle – driven by Sam Young. It was the fastest entry in the ‘run what ya brung’s’ non-road legal group, covering a quarter-mile in 9.6102 seconds, by which time it had reached 146.73mph.
Elsewhere in the contest, Scott Oliver’s VW Variant won the aircooled cars category (12.0205 seconds at 100.74mph), while Wayne Bradden’s shabby-chic splitscreen panel van was the fastest to cross the line in the aircooled vans group.
In the watercooled category, Thomas Parrott’s mk1 Golf was the quickest car (12.0831 seconds at 120.90mph) and James Sharp’s VW Doka topping the van group (15.5089 seconds at 88.74mph).
The peculiar Chesterfield bench seating and lounge chairs in Lee Fullard’s 1967 splitscreen van helped him secure the best interior trophy. Meanwhile, best off-road vehicle went to Mike Smith’s 1974 VW Thing – really, that’s what it’s called. Well, that’s its name in the US anyway. Don’t judge us.
Best van went to Jason Brogan’s 1964 Type 2, while the much sought-after best Beetle prize went to Seaside Neil’s 1956 Oval, which judges, said: “looks every day as old as it is”. Insightful.
Sunday’s show and shine naturally brought out the most gleaming VWs of the event – with Shaun Howe’s candy red 62 Beetle claiming best of show – but the rest of Santa Pod was dotted with some of the most unique and equally cherished VWs.
Bug Jam isn’t all about VWs, it’s not even all about cars because one of the biggest highlights of the show this year was the human-powered race, which saw hundreds of people try their hand at covering the Santa Pod’s quarter mile, on foot.
As these pictures suggest, it was mayhem but a whole lot of fun too, with some runners donning fancy dress for the occasion.
It’s likely that some of the people running on that raceway have attended all thirty Bug Jams. This is the kind of passion and dedication VW, and especially their Beetles, stir up in fans and there’s no suggestion that attendees nor organisers are getting fed up any time soon.
The 31st Bug Jam is expected to take place at Santa Pod as usual during July 2017, we hope you’re as excited as we are.
Some of our favourite images from the weekend below: