The Silverstone Classic Historic Motor Racing Festival
Over 100,000 spectators were treated to an incredible programme of some 20 races, featuring over 1000 competing cars in total. Covering the whole spectrum of racing, the full grids led to no-holds-barred driving, despite the condition and value of the machinery, and every single race was a thrilling spectacle. New for this year were the races for the breath-taking Can-Am cars from the transatlantic series created 50 years ago in 1966, where there were virtually no limits to the cars’ design (see page 52 for models of these amazing cars).
As well as all this on-track action, 10,000 classic cars brought along by the enthusiastic members of over 100 car clubs, provided some wonderful displays and many of these took part in track parades between races.
There were also track-parade sessions of more modern Formula One cars, endurance racers from the 1990s, and Motorcycle Grand Prix Legends. Though these weren’t meant to be races, they looked pretty competitive to me!
For model collectors, when they could bear to tear themselves away from all this activity, there was a wide variety of models to be had, from the “partwork” ones at a couple of pounds, to a fine one-off Ferrari 512BB racing long-tail version, at £3000. This was on the stand of long-time automobilia specialist Spencer Elton. Spencer had a nice little selection of other models too, ranging from a nice though unboxed 1961 Corgi Ferrari 156 Grand Prix, and a lovely boxed Welsotoys 1950s Vauxhall Cresta, to modern 1/18 replicas of the Chevrolet Corvette and Aston Martin DB7.
The widest array on offer was from Hampshire’s RM Toys, who fielded a huge selection of cars, buses and trucks in all scales and at prices generally comparable with those at collectors’ fairs. They certainly seemed to be popular with enthusiasts young and old, and looked busy every time I visited or passed by.
Another specialist model dealer was Steve Batley, whose stock tended towards competition cars from the likes of Minichamps, Spark and Ixo, again carrying a wide selection in 1/43 and 1/18 scales.
As always there was a huge variety of all the other car-related merchandise you’d expect - particularly books and paintings I noticed – but plenty of other literature, and other artwork, clothing and the like.
If you wanted a break from all the automotive activity, there were other attractions - a funfair, a constantly-popular Big Wheel, some racing car simulators, an ongoing restoration project on show and “Car Clinic” advice sessions from TV personality Mike Brewer, to name just a few. The entertainment continued into the evenings, with two rock concerts, and all of these were included in the ticket price.
A fleet of classic Routemaster buses provided transport around the various infield areas, whilst more modern double-deckers covered the outer circuit perimeter.
Next year’s event promises to be bigger still, and the dates are provisionally set for 21 – 24 July. Give it a try, and enjoy three very full days!
More details from www.silverstone classic.com