In these climatically challenging times, I suppose we should no longer be surprised at how rapidly weather conditions can switch from tropical heatwave to standard UK summer drizzle but why does this always seem to coincide with seriously special classic car events?
Last year it was Luftgekühlt at Bicester Heritage which in the midst of wonderfully warm and sunny Summer, transformed into Wassergekühlt! This year, we went from sweltering 38 degree heat (in London at least) to a state of excessive sogginess for Silverstone Classic. Sigh …………. where did I leave my waterproofs and underwater camera?
This Classic Car Show continues to expand in terms of the volume and variety of cars on show and in terms of the size of the Grand Avenue where cars are driven up and down the cavernous main hall to improve the visual and aural experience for the audience.
As Goodwood circuit is not used all year round due to local noise restrictions – it’s easy to forget that it’s is a very high speed circuit and therein lies the risk to race drivers and to spectators.
At the end of the first lap of the first of Sunday’s races a really scary crash unfolded right in front of me on the start/finish straight when Richard Wilson’s Lotus Cooper Climax T51 collided with Stephen Bond’s Lotus Climax 18.
Instead of both cars coming to rest on the track or in the tyre wall – the collision caused Bond’s Lotus to go into an end-over-end cartwheel which lifted it over the wall and hedge of an access road before it plummeted down into a pedestrian tunnel right next to the viewing area for wheelchair users.
Possibly because it was early in the day – the pedestrian tunnel was empty so by a miracle spectator injuries were avoided. Stephen Bond also came out of it with broken ribs but was extremely lucky not to come out worse particularly as fuel was pouring from the car as he hung suspended in his seat belts.
It’s horrible to contemplate but with slightly more forward momentum the cartwheeling car could easily have cleared the pedestrian tunnel and landed on the wheelchair spectator viewing area.
Luck was with a number of people as it looked like the accident could have shaped up to be a 1955 Le Mans type incident.
I was rooted to the spot watching the accident in slow motion but a few yards further along the viewing platform Tim Quinlan captured this remarkable footage of the accident:-
The Donington Historic Festival goes from strength to strength and for 2015 – races were spread over no less than 3 days spanning the early May Bank Holiday weekend. Fortunately for many of the attendees – cold weather made “anoraks” a thermal necessity rather than just a disparaging character assessment!
Donington embraces Classic Car clubs by offering cheap ticket deals to members with the added benefit of parking in marque specific areas of the infield plus the chance to participate in a lunch time parade lap around the circuit. What more can you ask? OK – warmer weather would be nice – sort it out Mr Wheatcroft!
The lack of sunshine during the dark Winter months gives rise to a particular form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which can result in susceptible people suffering from mild depression. This condition is treated by exposing sufferers to bright light.
I suffer from a very specific form of Seasonal Affective Disorder called ICDD or Interesting Car Deficiency Disorder! The only viable treatment for this terrible affliction is to expose sufferers to interesting cars at any and every opportunity.
The London Classic Car Show at London’s Excel Centre provided just such an opportunity! Judging by the turnout – lots of other people had also opted to for a serious course of ICDD treatment!!!
I’ve always liked Donington as a racing circuit. Like Brands Hatch – its setting in rolling countryside makes it much more visually interesting for spectators than the airfield-flat-frozen-tundra of Silverstone.
I used to visit Donington regularly many years ago to attend historic racing events and it’s really great to see this historic racing tradition being successfully revived over the last couple of years under the Wheatcroft family’s fantastic stewardship.
From the vast array of earth moving vehicles parked at the entrance and evidence of what they’ve been doing inside the circuit – its clear that Donington is slowly but surely being remodelled after the disastrous attempt to convert it into an F1 circuit simply to pander to Ecclestone’s pathological hatred of Silverstone and the BRDC.
The Donington atmosphere is also as it was – open, friendly and catering really well for classic car enthusiasts by providing cheap ticket deals for car club members, free access to the paddock/garages, Car Club reserved parking in the infield and opportunities for owners to drive their beloved classics around the circuit on parade laps during breaks in the racing. Continue reading Donington Historic Festival – Sun 4th May 2014→
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