So as another downpour of rain swept across the gorgeous landscape of Cholmondeley many were saying what is it with this event & wet weather! I heard the term ‘hand in hand’ many times on the Friday & Saturday when the rain was mentioned, but overall with the showers being less on Saturday than Friday & Sunday glorious sunshine. Weather wise this was the best ‘Chumley’ yet! At least the crowds prepared accordingly though with the brollies & other wet weather gear … well apart from me anyway! The other joy of the inclement weather though is at least it makes the 1.2 mile track slippery! In fact this year it was the ‘most slippery’ I heard a number of the competing drivers say which made for some excellent show boating – even if the drivers didn’t mean to! Chumley is often referred to as the “Goodwood of the North” & as this year being Chumleys sixth birthday there was a stunning array of vehicles on display. From Pre-War Grand Prix cars, modern Endurance Racers, World Rally Championship contenders. & some two or three wheeled miscreants against the narrow, twisty & bumpy Cholmondeley track!
The other reason for being the northern ‘Goodwood’ is the wealthy enthusiasts & enthusiastic amateurs that bring some of the finest vehicles in history to the event in a bid to pit themselves & their cars (or bikes) against the clock! Okay lets be honest in that some drivers are more competitive than others, but people get to see metal & carbonfibre very, Very, VERY close up! Overall this years “Chumley” definitely had one of the best line ups of vehicles whether competing for the best time or merely to display to the thousands of visitors. There was something for everything for everyone from Historic Formula One cars – satisfyingly noisy – with classics such as the 1955 Maserati 250F, to a more up to date 1993 Lotus-Lamborghini. The pre-War Class saw a 23-litre 1907 Maybach Zeppelin against a 1930 42-litre Packard Bentley as well as permanently in the ‘pits’ Andy Lloyds Napier Lion broad arrow engine set-up on a test dolly with a club propeller attached! When this was fired up every so often for the crowds it was basically a flame belching 800hp whisk! I bet health & safety would have loved that! This year was also the 60th anniversary of Lamborghini & the 100th anniversary of Aston Martin with both companies bringing out some special vehicles to celebrate.
‘Chumley’ also reserved a special class for the Le Mans-spec Bentleys to celebrate the British firm’s 10th anniversary of its most recent win at the Circuit de la Sarthe. A supercharged ‘blower’ Bentley, a works Bentley Speed Six, two Bentley EXP Speed 8s & the very Speed 8 that won Le Mans in 2003 (driven by contemporary driver Guy Smith). Examples of the Audi R8 and R8C were also showed as they shared many Bentley components as well as the modern Audi R15-plus diesel. Aston Martin had wonderful collection of old & new vehicles from a 1934 Aston Martin Ulster LM 16 to their latest creation of the 2013 V12 Vantage S. Of course there were also smatterings of DB2S, 4s & 6s! Porsche had a number of 911’s on display & on the track too as they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 911 with models from the Stuttgart marque – so many anniversaries!
The Racing Saloons & Track Day Cars category proved an eclectic mix of modified specials & bespoke designed to do one thing – go fast round a lap! Whether it was the original 1,293cc twin cam Mini, the Chevrolet Impala NASCAR, the Jaguar MK1 saloon or the Caterham SP/300R. Drivers in this category were out to push the boundaries of how fast their respective machines could go … the moisture added to the bumpy, undulating track just made things more interesting, heh, heh, heh! In terms of the fastest time of the day The Radical driven by Robbie Kerr eventually won with a new course record of 55.29secs & a 129mph though the speed trap. Other near contenders were the Caterham SP/300R driven by Scott Mansell, the Ariel Atom 3.5 of Niki Faulkner and the BAC Mono as these cars suite the the narrow course which many of the other contenders don’t!
The inclement conditions on the Friday meant a few of the historic F1 cars didn’t take to the track in the morning, but they were out in force for the rest of the weekend including the Maserati 250F owned by none other than Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. On the British side of things a trio of classic Lotus cars, including an 18, a 35 and an 87 all with their own distinct sound from the fruity four-pots to the snarling V8s! For the bike fans classic TT machinery took to the track along with their racing sidecar counterparts. With the recent Isle of Mann TT to actually see these machines close up was fantastic with many of the older classic bikes still giving it hell! The nutters of the two wheel class though were the bunch of maniacs on supermoto bikes – skidding, sliding & drifting into every corner at incredible speed only to then pull a large wheelie out the other side! Skill does not cover it, trust me! Rally cars from all eras and classes faired better on the slippery track along with a huge static display & pit area for the Great Rally of Wales. As Friday was the wettest the four wheel drive cars had the easiest time but most were bloody quick in comparison to the various race cars on this day! There was everything from fire-breathing Group B Audi Quattros, to Lancia Delta Intergrales & the mad Metro 6R4s. Classics such as the MK2 Ford Escorts got their back-ends out & the original Mini rally cars were on show along with Ford’s most recent Focus and Fiesta WRC cars.
“Chumley” also caters for those with an interest on water & in the air. There is a large display of ‘on-land’ static boats, jet-ski’s, outboard motors & other accessories. But with two lakes within the castle grounds spectators could also see action & performance on the water as well as experience it as a passenger in one of two large & very powerful speedboats! For the air displays there was an RAF helicopter carrying out simulated search & rescues over the lake. Helecopter rides, stunt pilots, bi-planes, classic jets, two Huey Cobra helicopters (think gunships from the Vietnam war that were also used during the live concert on Saturday night) & Sunday saw the awesome Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The sight & sound of the Lancaster bomber, a Spitfire & a Hurricane brought goosebumps on the engine sounds alone as they flew over and through the Chumley grounds.
The GTROC stand this year based in the club area was positioned right by the side of the track just after the famous bridge chicane on one of the fastest straights of the course! The crowds were treated to the sight of the now classic Godzilla R32 GTR’s up to the modern day R35 GTR’s. Representing the club in the pit area & on track (officially that is as I managed to get a sneaky lap of the course on arrival Friday morning!) was the R35 GT car owned by Shaun, or NISMOMAN as he’s known on the forum! Shaun ran the car all three days & it was fantastic to see it going past our stand as well – thank you Shaun!
So if you’ve never been to the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power then I urge you to do so next year. This was my first time at the event & it was absolutely fantastic to see so much history & motorsport so up close. Its not as snobby as Goodwood & you can get really close, even to the point of sitting in or on some of these famous & historic cars & bikes! The stand is organised by the GTROC Heritage Manager – Ross – & his wife Penny who do a fantastic job every year of looking after the stand & those people on it. So if your deciding to go next year you will be in good hands as they have attended the event for many years now.Chumley also selects a charity to donate money & this year the organisers chose ‘Help Harry to Help Others’. the foundation was started by a chap called Harry Moseley who suffering from an inoperable brain tumour & at the very young age of 11 years old Harry was inspired to help other children suffering from cancer. The sad news is that Harry passed away in 2011 but the foundation ensures that his legacy lives on to help find a cure for cancer. The charity now supports families in practical ways to ensure they get the care & support for those who have children that suffer this terrible condition – a very worthy cause.We look forward to seeing your Skyline or GTR on our stand next year ; )