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Archive for the tag “Pageant of Power”

Cholmondeley Pageant of Power 2014

Cholmondeley CorvetteThe 13th – 16th of June once again saw the peace and quiet of the usually tranquil grounds of Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire shattered, as thousands of horsepower were unleashed on the ground, in the air and on the water, the Pageant of Power had returned.

Some of the Rally Car class

Some of the Rally Car class

Ticket sales were apparently up an impressive 30% on last year’s event and a record 67,000 people attended over the three days. Holding the event on the Father’s Day weekend could be very helpful in this department as it really is accessible motor sport that the whole family can enjoy.

Cholmondeley race carSporting an Italian theme this year partly due to the legendary motoring brand – Maserati celebrating their centenary, the organisers were kind enough to provide a giant screen for attendees to watch England vs Italy in the World Cup. The result was irrelevant.

Some of the Super Car class

Some of the Super Car class

The Saturday night entertainment is fast becoming one of the highlights of ‘CPOP‘ and this year the volume was cranked up a notch with the evergreen Status Quo providing the soundtrack. Possibly a good job that Cholmondeley’s nearest neighbours aren’t within earshot!

There were many new, previously unseen entrants in this year’s event, not least of which being the Formula Ford drivers Sam Brabham and Max Marshall who did what any 19 year olds would do given an empty track and a Ford GT – they made the most of it.

Classic BentleyAnyone who’s attended CPOP before would have recognised some familiar faces also; ‘Mavis’ the crowd-pleasing Bentley Packard is an ever-present at the event and those deafening, fire-spitting exhausts never disappoint.

Justin Law Jaguar XJ220LMOn the more serious side of things, the father/son combination of Don and Justin Law brought a couple of cars down for all to see, including the ultra-rare Lancia Delta Integrale Rally Car- possibly the ultimate car for getting around the tight, slippery Cholmondeley track. They also brought with them what was probably the star of the show for me – the painfully beautiful Jaguar XJ220 LM. Justin explained to me that the car was only 99% finished but that he and his father had worked around the clock to make sure it was prepared to compete at Cholmondeley (the finished result competed at the Goodwood FOS – if you want to have a look). No matter how many cars Don and Justin get involved with, their enthusiasm for motor sport is infectious. I was lucky enough to be a passenger in one of their other XJ220s a few years ago – these guys are serious about the brand and Justin never holds back when he’s behind the wheel.Jumping Jaguar XJ220

Overall winner of the weekend was once again Robbie Kerr in the Radical SR8 RX, who also won it in 2013. His time of 56.41 on the warm Saturday afternoon wasn’t enough to beat his own record of 55.29 set last year, but tightened chicanes and the usual Saturday night rain meant that he was unable to push the car to its limits on the Sunday.

Not forgetting the bikes........

Not forgetting the bikes……..

Once again, there was enough going on at the Pageant to keep everyone happy; here’ s to next year when it’ll hopefully be even bigger and better.

By Ben Harrington

For updates about 2015’s show and details on how to buy tickets, go to http://www.cpop.co.uk, follow them on Facebook or follow @PageantofPower on Twitter 


Cholmondeley Pageant Of Power 2012

Jann Mardenborough's Nissan GTR at Cholmondeley Pageant of Power

Jann Mardenborough’s Nissan GT-R

‘Yesterday was really wet, not like today. It’s not the slipperiest track I’ve driven on in the wet of course, that’d obviously be Silverstone‘ GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough is talking me through the previous days events that resulted in his slight coming together with an Armco as I nod in complete and blind agreement with his analysis of the perils of a wet Silverstone. Having been a passenger of Jann’s in the past whilst he demonstrated the insane Nissan Juke-R, I get the feeling that he’s here to win; coming second in his opinion is simply the first loser.

The reason I’m comparing notes with Jann is because he’s competing in the 5th Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, an annual celebration of anything with an engine including motorbikes, planes, powerboats and, of course, cars. The main focus of the three-day event which this year ran from the 15th – 17th of June was, as always, the timed run competition. Raced over a 1.2 mile section of the Cholmondeley Castle driveway, the cars are split into eight classes ranging from pre-war, all the way up to modern supercars including the raucous Ferrari 458 Italia and the Nissan GT-R being piloted by Jann.

Original 1960's AC Cobra in Black

One of the seven AC Cobra’s competing

New features for 2012 included the Top Gear Experience, the Gran Turismo Academy and Bond in Motion which showcased some of the more exciting vehicles that have appeared with 007 over the years. My personal highlight was the seven AC Cobras that had been accumulated to not only celebrate 50 years since its inception but to pay tribute to their creator – the late, great Carroll Shelby.

One other change from previous Pageants was the single-tier entry fee; in Pageants past there was an option to purchase a cheaper ticket which gave access to most areas but meant the car paddock was out-of-bounds. This year, all tickets included paddock entry which, in my opinion, was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, all visitors to the event could get better acquainted with the competing exotica, rather than only seeing them roar away from the start line and up the driveway. On the other hand, I spotted a few rather nervous looking car owners as the hugely swollen crowds bustled past their pristine paintwork, including parents, pushing prams and trying to control their understandably excitable children.

By all accounts, the weather on the first two days of the Pageant was cursed with persistent rain showers which resulted with some thrills and spills on the track but also some rather restricted timed runs. Thankfully however, the sun sporadically revealed itself from behind the clouds on the final day and as the track temperature went up, the driver’s times inevitably came down. Try as he did, Jann was helpless to prevent the impressive Scott Mansell take overall victory in the 300bhp Caterham Superlight SP/300.R with a time of 61.89 seconds. Not only was this time fast enough to win on the day, it also smashed the previous track record of 62.68 seconds, set by Nikki Faulkner in a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera.

47 Litre Brutus competing at Cholmondeley Pageant of Power

Brutus – 47 litre BMW engine!

Some rather slower yet no less spectacular cars competing at the event were the four monstrous, pre-war, aero-engined vehicles, most famous of which is the 47 litre ‘Brutus’ who’s previously appeared on the BBC’s Top Gear programme. No matter how many times I witness these behemoths in action, the effect is always the same, shock and awe. It’s possibly best likened to standing behind the start line as a top-fuel dragster launches down the quarter-mile. The performance is somewhat more limited but with slightly ineffective, cable operated brakes to halt proceedings, that’s maybe for the best.

Other winners included the RAF who put on a hugely impressive display to win the Tri-Services Helicopter Agility competition. The opportunity to see just how well-trained and skillful our armed services are should never be passed up and the RAF were deemed to have executed their handling tests just slightly better than the competition.

The most deserving winner of the weekend was undoubtedly the Pageant itself however. The organisers and sponsors efforts were quite rightly rewarded with record crowds of over 50,000 people. In spite of the unseasonal weather, the public came in their droves to witness over 120 cars and bikes competing on the track and to be wowed by the 1000+ vehicles on display. Here’s to next year when some overdue sunshine would surely see the Cholmondleley Pageant of Power go from strength to strength.

By Ben Harrington

Jann Mardenborough's Nissan GTR after collision with armco


Don Law's Jaguar XJ220 in full Martini livery

Jaguar XJ220 in full racing colours. One of Don Law’s impressive array of cars

Bentley Speed 8 Le Mans car

Bentley Speed 8

Cholmondeley Pageant of Power 2011 – Press Day

Bentley, Lotus and Lamborghini on Cholmondeley Start Line

An impressive line up at Cholmondeley Castle

Friday the 15th of July sees the start of this year’s Cholmondley Pageant of Power, held at Cholmondley Castle. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it’s possibly best described as Cheshire’s answer to Goodwood’s Festival of Speed, only with a more generous variety of fast, loud attractions for lovers of machinery in general.Founded in 2008, the Pageant is now in its fourth year and this week I elected to attend the press day to find out what we can look forward to next month.

Following on from the success of previous years, this year’s event is a full 50% longer than ever due to the addition of a third day. The gates now open on Friday, not Saturday as has been the case at prior Pageants of Power. This will give even more people the opportunity to enjoy the action and the event organisers are keen to emphasise that the Friday will offer the same levels of excitement as the following two days.

Hannu Mikkola's Audi Quattro Rally Car

The actual Audi Quattro as used by Hannu Mikkola

Another new feature for 2011 will be the purpose built tarmac rally stage, specially designed to offer spectators optimum viewpoints at various positions. I was lucky enough to hitch a ride in John Hanlon’s works Audi Quattro Rally car and I can wholeheartedly confirm that these 350+ hp beasts are not to be missed. Over 30Lombard rally cars are expected and giving them their own natural habitat will surely provide even more of a spectacle.

Thundercats powerboats on the lake at Cholmondeley Castle

Thundercats on the lake

For those of a more nautical persuasion, the Castle’s own Deer Park Mere provides the setting for powerboats of all shapes and sizes including hydroplanes, monohulls and catamarans, some of which are capable of 125mph! Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the wetbike from ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, but that’s just me.

Helicopter landing at Cholmondeley Castle

Helicopter landing at Cholmondeley Castle

Looking skywards, there will be aerobatic displays from, amongst others, the Breitling Wing Walkers and the Arbarth Aerobatic display team. A team from RAF Valley will also be putting on a marine search and rescue display (HRH Prince William will hopefully pop along for the day). The Pageant is actually Europe’s largest helicopter event so is undoubtedly a must for anyone with a passion for these amazing machines.

Sir Jackie Stewart and four time World Rally Champion, Juha Kankkunen are just two of the famous names attending the event this year, no doubt putting the rest of us to shame with their god-like driving abilities. With ticket sales already 40% up on last year, organisers are confident they can top the £75,000 they raised in 2010 for Help the Heroes, with this years chosen charity being Combat Stress.

With further attractions for both young and old on offer around the grounds and a little bit of luck with our ‘summer weather’, this year’s Pageant looks set to be bigger and better than ever. Anyone who’s never been should undoubtedly take the family down and I’m fairly certain that if you have been before, you won’t be able to resist this year’s show.

Full details and ticket sales can be found at www.cpop.co.uk

I’d like to thank both Thunder Cats UK (www.thundercatracing.co.uk) and Helicentre Liverpool (www.helicentre.com) for allowing me the unique experiences they kindly provided me.

Special thanks must go to John Hanlon and the rest of the HanSport team. A truly friendly bunch who allowed me to fulfil a boyhood dream – a high speed rally stage in an Audi Quattro!

By Ben Harrington

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