Events : Cholmondeley Pageant of Power 2012

Words and Photographs: Simon Davies/Pegasus Photographics

‘Here we go again’ was the thought which came to mind when looking at the weather forecast for the coming weekend’s Cholmondeley Pageant of Power on BBC Breakfast last Friday morning – heavy rain was promised to set in for the weekend around the Cheshire area.

However, in the event, Friday and Saturday were wet, with the weather for the concert and firework display on Saturday evening showing signs of a change for Sunday which proved to be mostly dry with an occasional shower throughout the day. The ground underfoot, though, was still wet and muddy in places where constant traffic had churned up something of a quagmire at gateways and crossing points on the fields – tractors were even dragging Bentleys and Lambos, as well as more humble Fords and Vauxhalls, onto hard Tarmac to enable their owners to leave the event. The organisers, nevertheless, estimate that the attendance for the weekend was around 50,000 people, with many coming long distances to enjoy the spectacle.

This year’s Cholmondeley Pageant of Power was brought forward from the usual July weekend to what is statistically the ‘driest weekend of the year’  The organisers had studied the weather charts for the past 10 years to come to that conclusion, but they found that the weather from previous years followed the event. The Car Clubs, which make a huge contribution to the event by showing their highly-polished vehicles in a display area between the entrance and the main crossing point over the track, were sadly lacking this year. The ground was too dangerous and muddy to allow vehicles to enter the designated parking area on Saturday, although some Clubs had arrived on Friday and left their vehicles parked in the display areas overnight. Unfortunately, many Clubs, which had been turned away at the entrance the previous day, decided not to return on Sunday.

However, the event featured the usual collection of exotic supercars, historic F1 and rally cars, various  motorbikes and sidecar units, powerboats, a couple of fly overs by the Red Arrow team, hovercraft and the leisure village where you could buy everything from a pork pie to a handbuilt kitchens or a solid oak garage, depending on your budget!

The Pageant of Power epitomises old-fashioned motor sport, with straw bales separating the racing and supercars from the public on the other side of a rope and none of the fences or barriers which are present at most modern tracks. The event is different in that the cars are not racing as such but setting times around the track so the risk of a major incident is reduced. Additionally, on the whole, you have cars and bikes which are adjusted by real tools, socket sets and screwdrivers,  rather than a technician with a laptop plugged into the car in the pits. The public are also able to get up close in the Paddock areas where the cars and bikes are prepared by drivers and riders before they go out on track.

Highlights of the weekend were the last Aston Martin One-77 available to purchase, at just over £1.2 million, the World Ice Speed record-holding Bentley, an ex-Alan Jones Williams FW06 and Brutus, a 46.5-litre BMW aero-engined special from a museum in Germany.

Many of the manufacturers present were showing electric and hybrid vehicles, including the Renault Twizzy and Nissan’s Leaf, and a range of different charging options such as a sun porch covered in solar panels at prices from £18000 were a sign of things to come – the latter are being considered for installation in a  major supermarket chain’s car parks as an enhancement to their fuel services.

Roll on 2013… Let’s just hope that we get one year when the weather holds for the whole weekend!

Clive Goldthorp

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