Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Not one, but two great Lancashire car shows

THAT bit of the A59 between Burscough and Maghull was my passport to petrolhead joy over the weekend. For a change I had not one, but two great car shows right on our doorstep to check out!

Yet – even if you’re someone with Castrol R coursing through your veins – these two events couldn’t have been more different. If you’re a car-loving Champion reader they were both within easy reach, but they’re emphatically the chalk and cheese of motoring. That’s why – even though I only had a day to do it – I had to go to both.

That’s why last Saturday morning you’d have found me wondering around the golf course up the road from Aintree Racecourse, with the grandstands where I’d lost a small fortune on some horses just a few weeks earlier still fresh in my memory. I was, however, totally in my element with the horsepower Aintree was offering up this time around – lots of it, under the bonnet of just about every racing car imaginable, at the same place where Stirling Moss won the British Grand Prix for the first time.

If you’ve never been to Liverpool Motor Club’s sprint events at Aintree Circuit then get the next one in your diary, because it’s seriously underrated full-throttle fun. For next to nothing, you can spend the day watching Lotus Elan 26Rs, track-prepared Caterhams (pictured) and single seater racing cars screaming and screeching their way through the corners in an effort to eake out the quickest lap time possible. It’s fast, frantic and always good for a few dramatic helpings of oversteer, and last Saturday’s event proved no exception.

I’d have loved to have hung around simply to see how quickly an Aston Martin DB6 could be hammered down Sefton Straight – which might sound like a bit like seeing how quickly you can throw a priceless painting down a flight of stairs – but I had a second car show to get to before the afternoon was out.

The Riverside Steam and Vintage Rally also had scores of beautiful classic cars to check out. It was just nice, after hours of wheelspin and full-throttle starts, to chill out and chat with their owners about why they loved their automotive antiques. If you’re sort of person who knows what an Austin A55 Cambridge is without having to punch it into Google – or why it’s nicknamed the Farina – then you’ll have loved the laid-back, nostalgic vibe of this two-day event, a stone’s throw from Tarleton.

Yes, I know the main attraction is all those steam-powered traction engines beloved of Fred Dibnah types but I was more than happy just to immerse myself in a world of Morris Bullnoses, Ford Populars and Triumph Spitfires for a couple of hours. I don’t know how – especially considering how long I’ve been doing these columns for – I’ve managed to miss the Riverside gig every year since its inception, but after being hugely impressed by the variety of cars on show it’s definitely one I’ve got into my diary for next year.

All this and it’s only the start of a great season of car shows. Roll on Lydiate, Hundred End, Bank Hall and Ormskirk! Keep an eye for my full reports on both shows in Classic Car Weekly

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