The temptation is to call it the Goodwood of the north. The comparisons are inevitable. After all, this event, like the Festival of Speed, majors around historic and important sports cars being driven over a timed, sprint course.
But the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, which takes place this weekend at Cholmondelely Castle, near Crewe, is sufficient different enough from the gig in Lord March’s garden have its own distinct feel, and appeal.
In some ways, the atmosphere around the pretty castle grounds is like Goodwood during the ‘90s: more casual, less crowded. You could argue there are fewer star cars and fewer star drivers at Cholmondeley, but it has a different appeal: there are lots of interesting cars and bikes. Interesting stories surround them. It’s like chamber music rather than an orchestral spectacular.
And although it’s not generally Autocar’s remit to go on about things other than cars, there’s more diversity too. The armed forces blow things up. There are powerboats. Helicopters. A classical concert with fireworks and accompanied by, if it’s anything like last year, deafening cannon.
And, whisper it, for the likes of you and me, it’s worth knowing the course is a cracker, too: on which to both drive and spectate. As the map above shows, it scribes a curved course around the castle, and much of the other activities is sited in the middle.
It’s easy to stroll from one side to the other, to see the cars for longer, at higher speeds, less likely over the heads of other spectators.
It’s 1.2 miles long, the course, while because after the finish it flows back round to the start, continuous action is possible on track. Each vehicle completes three runs per day.