July in England and the classic motorsport fan can look forward to the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Silverstone Classic. Well now there is a third great event, The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power.
Pronounced “Chumley”, the Pageant is unique in the UK because it celebrates power on Land, in the water and in the air. The 1.2 mile road course on the grounds of Cholmondeley Castle starts next to a small lake (Mere), which has power boat racing taking place all over the weekend. The air side is covered by one of the largest gathering of Helicopters in Europe.
Track action covered all 100 years of motoring, with classes for Formula 1 cars, sports cars, saloons, rally cars and motorcycles. The course has a couple of interesting features, a bailey bridge just after the start, and a hump back bridge just before the finish. Even some of the modern Formula 1 cars were getting airborne over the hump back bridge!
This year is the second running of this event in the north of England. Huge crowds enjoyed fantastic action over the two-day event, with even the typical British weather not stopping the action – it rained on Sunday.
This did not stop Justin Law from taking fastest time overall to win in his beautiful 1963 Lister Jaguar Prototype in a time of 68.40 seconds. Second was Jan Van Nierop in his 1989 Audi 80 and another saloon, the BMW M3 of Jason Minshaw finished 3rd.
Other interesting cars this year were the Super Saloons from the 1970’s. Baby Bertha, the Vauxhall Firenza driven by the late Gerry Marshall, was probably one of the most successful special saloons ever built, winning 27 races from 31 starts in 1975-6 seasons. Powered by a Repco Holden V8 engine, producing 500bhp it also held lap records at 6 British tracks.
The ex-Mick Hill VW Beetle is powered by a Chevrolet V8 5 litre engine and based on a Formula 5000 chassis. The Daf is also powered by a Chevrolet V8 5 litre engine and held several lap records during the 1970’s.
Another unusual and rare car is the 1968 McLaren M6BGT which was driven by former British Hill climb champion Martin Bolesover. He managed to take the car to 9th place overall, a very creditable performance. This was the only road car project from McLaren in the days when the late Bruce McLaren ran the company and the company was all about racing Grand Prix and Can-Am.