Sunday, 17 June 2012

Cholmondeley Pageant of Power 2012 - Part Two

LIKE the buffet at an all-you-can-eat restaurant, it's all too easy to gorge yourself silly with all the car shows on at the moment.

I think it must be to do with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and Euro 2012 having a head-on slap bang in the middle of summer that the run of the region's motoring events have been shoehorned into the few wet weekends when we haven't broken out the bunting or adorned our cars with En-ger-land flags. Which is a pain if you all you want to do is drool over shiny supercars in a field.

Over the past weekend I've had the choice of watching Audi win at Le Mans for the two millionth time, watch steam trains and classics meet at the Ribble Steam Railway, watch old racing cars doing burnouts in the grounds of a castle in Cheshire or chat to some classic car enthusiasts at an event in Hundred End, just outside Hesketh Bank. In the end I went for the latter two and while Hundred End proved good fun it's the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power that'll stick out in the mind most.

Think of it as a sort of automotive Glastonbury and you won't be too far off - an impression, thanks to the relentless sheets of rain, made all the more real by the soaked visitors trying to create ponchos out of binbags. Headline acts included Jaguar D-Type and the Le Mans racers of the Fifties, gritty live performances from the Group B Audi Sport Quattro and the Lancia Integrale Group A car, and a deep-throated solo session given by the a vintage Bentley special with a 42-litre Packard engine. Yep, you read that right; 42 litres and more power than a Bugatti Veyron!

It was automotive overload - with so much on offer, where do you start? At the tent where a Lexus L-FA, an Aston One-77, a Nissan GTR and a V8-engined Ariel Atom competed for your attention? At the big screen, watching a superbike ace going sideways on two wheels? Or at the start line, watching a BMW M3 racing car shred its way through a set of tyres in a burnout? Even though I missed out on the chance of getting up close to a McLaren F1 pretty much every other significant fast car, bike and boat was there somewhere, pulling in the crowds.

There are all sorts of motoring shows on across the north west this summer and they'll all be a great day out, but I think what gave Cholmondely the edge was that the cars weren't just museum pieces - you could actually see them being driven, in anger, by people who love them. Yes, I got soaked and my shoes got ruined but it was worth it just to see the Rothmans Ford Escort RS1800 strutting its stuff at the start line.

In a smörgåsbord of car shows stretching right out to the end of the summer, Cholmondeley's proven a bit of a feast in itself...

To see more photos from the event, click here for Part One.

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