Cholmondeley pageant powers up

| 17 Jul 2011

The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power fired into action on Saturday 16 July as early morning storms cleared and the sun started beaming down for most of the afternoon at the fourth running of the event at the Cheshire country estate.

After Friday's quiet practice day, the event was packed for its first proper competition and, as the 1.93km sprint track dried, times started to tumble, but not challenging many of last year's blistering pace-setters.

At the end of the first day, last-year's sensation Nikki Faulkner again had a comfortable lead, having set a time of 63.54 seconds in the Lamborghini LP570-4 Performate. Away from the moderns, top single-seater driver was Mos Morris, who set 67.46 in the Type 102 F1 Lotus Lamborghini, by far the youngest car in its group.

For many, however, the star attraction was the running of the Donington Collection's iconic Vanwalls (below). With five cars on site they turned the paddock green.

Looking to be cruising to a class victory with only a few Sunday runs left was Justin Law in the evocative, Martini-liveried Lancia Delta Integrale WRC (below).

The only times Law wasn't sideways it was because he was airborne, but he blasted round in 70.72 seconds, with Barrie "Whizzo" Williams (below) in a Mini Cooper 'S' trailing by 5 seconds in second place, but humbling much mow modern and powerful machinery.

C&SC's Simon Taylor led the pre-'58 Le Mans and Sports Cars class, having roared to an impressive 73.93 secs run in his HWM Stovebolt Special (below) with Keith Fell's Lister Bristol following him home in 76.52 seconds.

Fell fared better in the post-'57 Le Mans and Sports Cars class where his Lotus Elan 26R's 71.57 seconds was enough to hold off strong challenges from Crispin Harris' Lister Jag (72.30) and Tony Bianchi's raucous Allard Farrallac (72.67).

Chris Williams' 24-litre Napier Bentley (below) may have been experiencing a rare sensation in being only third in terms of capacity (with his own 42-litre Packard Bentley 'Mavis' and the monstrous 47-litre BMW-Brutus – a 1917 engine in a 1907 La France chassis – from the Sinsheim Museum dwarfing the Napier), but because the other two were only doing very loud demo runs, he found himself at the top of the pre-war class with an 87.94 seconds.

Star attraction for the crowd was Le Mans legend Derek Bell who was demo-ing the new Continental GT, but mingled happily with an attentive crowd all day (below).

The clubs turn-out on the outside of the track was excellent as well, but none came close to the Sunbeam Tiger Owners' Club which boasted an astonishing 30 of the V8 powered hybrids (below).

There were also excellent showings from, while the sheer variety on the Singer Owners' Club stand (below) was breathtaking.

The much expanded event has even more on offer for the kids, and as well as the constant buzz and booms of military hardware and helicopters, there was also plenty of action on the mere, only briefly interrupted when one of the hydroplanes sank. 

There were scramblers, Paris-Dakar monsters, Sporting Bear charity rides and loads more: no one could ever say that CPOP doesn't pack it in, even if some people were complaining they would never get around it all in a day.

The new rally stage was perhaps a little too far out of the way for some visitors when so much was on offer more centrally, and was sparsely attended. That didn't stop the competitors having fun on a straight track with a hay bale chicane and tough turn at the top.

As the Group B participants loosened up and ignored the rules to have some fun around the bale, there was plenty of off-road and opposite lock action for people to appreciate.

From the superb selection of two-wheelers (there were go-karts, sidecars and three-wheels, too) the star of the show was the bizarre 1925 Böhmerland (below). The military developed four-seater ferried its period-dressed passengers with plenty of smiles.

On the non-demo side Darren Fry's Ducatti 848 set Fastest Time of the Day at 65.68 seconds while Lloyd Dickinson's Triumph was heading up the 500cc class on 81.06 seconds.