Festival of the Unexceptional

Gaming the system wins a special Chairman’s Award at FOTU

by Nik Berg
1 August 2023 1 min read
Gaming the system wins a special Chairman’s Award at FOTU
Rich Pearce

Is it possible to use science to determine the most unexceptional car in Britain?

That’s exactly what Owen Lloyd and his pals tried to do in a bid to claim victory in this year’s Concours d’Ordinaire.

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Lloyd and his scientist buddies went through the back catalogue of winners at the Festival of the Unexceptional, examining why each had won and then applying algorithms to come up with the mathematically least interesting entrant possible. That, according to their calculations, was a 1997 Suzuki Baleno.

The judges, who typically frown on cars bought only for FOTU, admired the sheer effort that had gone into trying to game the system.

“They’ve tried to play the house,” said chief judge Danny Hopkins. “You don’t play the house at the Festival of the Unexceptional,” before then deciding to give the lads a special award.

“They thought to themselves, okay, let’s look at all the previous winners and what makes them special or not special, and they’ve been really scientific about this. They went through all the criteria that they could possibly think of, and, and when they went through the algorithm they came up with the Suzuki Baleno they have brought here today. They were expecting to win something and they also bribed me with biscuits, and we can’t have that!

“But they also tugged at our heartstrings because part of their research revealed that in classic car pantheon of the great classic car shows a Suzuki has never won an award.”

It was an ingenious idea, but be warned: the judges are wise to it now! 

FOTU 2023 chairmans award Suzuki Baleno

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