Wednesday, 28 August 2013

2013 Ormskirk MotorFest proves a spectacular petrolhead success

WHAT do a Le Mans-winning Bentley, some thundering stock racers and a brigade of cute old bubble cars have in common?

 If, like me, you were one of the thousands of petrolheads to pay a visit to Ormskirk last weekend then you’ll already know the answer, because all three – and about 300 other cars and bikes besides – were the stars of a free-for-all motorsport spectacular which managed to get the town’s one-way system echoing to a spot of V8 thunder.

This year’s Ormskirk MotorFest, thanks partly to a welcome helping of scorching sunshine, has managed what I was suspecting to be impossible; attracting even more visitors to Ormskirk than the previous two.

With my slightly sick-sounding MG having only limped to the show’s static displays this year (it’s in need of a bit of classic car TLC) I gave going out in the parade a miss this year, but that meant I could really revel in looking around some of the stunning machinery on show. Sure, there was the very Bentley which stormed to victory at Le Mans a decade ago taking pride of place by the clock tower, but it only took a little extra digging to discover some equally eyeball-grabbing cars with some fantastic stories behind them – take, for instance, the 1948 Allard which just happens to be the exact same car the company showed off at the London Motor Show in Earls Court 65 years ago.

A car that’s now cherished by a car lover in Holmeswood, which brings me to the heart of what I love about the Ormskirk MotorFest – that almost all of the cars and bikes are from Sefton, West Lancashire, and the immediate surrounding area. Ormskirk on the August Bank Holiday Sunday has, a result, become an opportunity for thousands of you to find just how much passion there is for motoring in this part of the world.

It was a treat to see the flotilla of 1950s bubble cars being followed up the hill towards the parish church by a succession of Jags, Astons and Bentleys, but it was even more of a joy to see the crowds which had turned out to see them. When Wilf Blundell’s old stock car racer fired into life, the atmosphere tingled with excitement.

In an age where I’ve seen people happily pulling in excess of £50 out of their pockets to pay for a car show ticket, there’s something wonderfully egalitarian about thousands of people packing into Ormskirk, free of charge, to see some beautiful cars strutting their stuff on the town’s streets.

I’ll redouble my efforts to get the MG mended for next year’s event!

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