Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Cholmondeley Power and Speed: A cool new name and more features for Cheshire motoring spectacular

CHOLMONDELEY Power and Speed. It might sound like the world’s poshest brand of energy drink but it’s actually a vow to bring three days of high octane fun right here to the North West.

Chances are you’ll already know it by its not that dissimilarly named predecessor, the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power. It’s long been a good idea; give the grounds of a stately pile in deepest Cheshire over to some car nuts for three days, flood the grounds with every Jaguar XJ220, Noble M600 and Ariel Atom you can find and see what happens.

For the past eight years the Pageant of Power’s managed to win over folk who don’t normally go to car shows. Don’t me get me wrong, I love wandering around parks looking at rows of Ford Anglias but I fully understand if it’s not your thing. Cholmondeley, on the other hand, offers you the chance to see Ferraris being raced against the clock and to hear the anarchic growl of Group B rally cars being driven in anger. It’s got a thrill factor that pulls in people with even the faintest interest in cars.

Yet – even as one of the event’s biggest fans – I’ll freely admit the same thing every year was beginning to feel a bit staid, which is why I’m glad the people behind it are vowing it’s not just a case of Opal Fruits being rebranded as Starburst.

For starters all the car clubs, who for years have been relegated to the edge of the public car park, an eternity away from all the exciting stuff, are being moved somewhere visitors will actually find them. That’s great news because they always bring along scores of wonderful cars – think TVRs, Audi Quattros and Nissan Skylines – and now you won’t have to walk miles out of your way to see them.

The renamed event also has more in the way of tie-ups with car manufacturers – including the chance to drive some of them for yourself on the opening day – as well as a renewed focus on having lots of supercars being put through their paces at this year’s event. It’s also telling that while the organisers could have picked somewhere in the North West to announce everything, they did it in London instead. Yes, that London, all the way down there in the South. The new Cholmondeley will be so good that people ‘daahn saaf’ will want to join us!

The one thing I’m keeping my fingers crossed for is Cholmondeley resisting the rather obvious path of becoming the North’s answer to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Having been to both I actually prefer what we’ve got because it’s friendlier, less corporate and – crucially – you see cars rather than the back of people’s heads. Whatever happens, make a date for June 10-12.

Just when I was going to give Cholmondeley a miss this year because I’ve seen it all before they go and shake things up a bit. Even if it does sound like a posh energy drink.


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