BUMPER CROWD BRAVES THE BRITISH ‘SUMMER’ TO ATTEND 2012 CHOLMONDELEY PAGEANT OF POWER.More than 50,000 people flock to see on-track action and unbeatable array of land-, water- and air-based features and attractions
■Stunning new lap record set in a Caterham Superlight SP/300.R■Interactive elements boost the fun factor■RAF claim Tri-Services Helicopter Agility honours■Exhibitors hail increased visitor numbers and Pageant’s growing profile■Aero-engined ‘Mavis’ interrupts BBC Breakfast on eve of Pageant
A record crowd of more than 50,000 people flocked to the biggest and best Cholmondeley Pageant of Power cpop.co.uk) which took place from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 June – very much in spite of the dismal weather that periodically hit the site.
In defiance of the often damp conditions, a new lap record was set on the testing 1.2-mile track by Scott Mansell in a Caterham Superlight SP/300.R track car. Mansell’s blistering time of 61.89 seconds was just enough to better the previous best of 62.68 seconds set by Nikki Faulkner in a Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP570-4 in 2010.
One of the major new highlights of the Pageant was the timed Supercar Class, where a host of thrilling supercars were driven at the absolute limit in an attempt to establish which is fastest around the twisty, undulating Pageant circuit. While not able to beat the non-road-legal Caterham Superlight SP/300 to overall fastest-lap honours, the BAC Mono driven by Duncan Tappy did manage to secure a hotly-contested class win, with a best time of 63.06 seconds. The Cheshire-based BAC team were particularly pleased as the Pageant is effectively their ‘home’ event.
The Pageant action wasn’t confined to the circuit. The RAF won the ever-popular Tri-Services Helicopter Agility competition, the only public demonstration of its type in the UK. In a close-fought battle, the RAF team scored most highly in a series of demanding handling tests that highlighted to the awed spectators the extraordinary skill of modern armed forces helicopter pilots.
Meanwhile, out on the largest of the Cholmondeley estate’s lakes, jetskis, powerboats and RIBs thrilled the crowds by performing high-speed runs and by giving passenger rides. The lake also provided the venue for the air-sea rescue displays by RAF Valley.
Feedback from exhibiting manufacturers has been particularly positive after this year’s event, including from the event’s ‘Magnificent Marques’ sponsors – Bentley, Jaguar, Ford and BMW – who invited guests to experience the testing Cholmondeley circuit for themselves during the Friday morning session.
“This year’s event has been terrific for Bentley and for the many thousands of visitors,” said James Pillar, Head of Marketing (UK) at Bentley Motors. “As original founder-sponsor this is our fifth year of the partnership; we took the decision to strengthen our presence in 2012 and we have seen the results. We hosted over 350 existing and potential customers of Bentley, and as a major local employer it is a perfect opportunity to showcase our road and race cars – both old and new – to the Pageant visitors. We are already looking forward to the Pageant in 2013.”
Marcus Wall, Experiential Manager at Jaguar UK, commented: “This was is the second year of Jaguar’s involvement in the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power and yet again it has been a wonderful opportunity to showcase our wide range of products to an important audience. In spite of the inclement weather, our guests thoroughly enjoyed their laps around the track and the excellent hospitality set against such a wonderful back drop.”
Oliver Rowe, Product Affairs Manager at Ford of Britain, commented: “Ford’s 2012 return visit to the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power utilised excellent circuit access and uncongested surrounding roads to launch the new Ford Focus 1.0-litre EcoBoost 125PS engine car to media. Its performance cousin, the 250PS Ford Focus ST, also made an appearance for journalists and visitors. As a surprise and delight spectacle for the Pageant, our 200PS Ford Transit SuperSportVan campaigned all weekend – deftly driven by Justin Law.”
Lucy Walton, Events Controller at Nissan, added: “The team at Nissan were thrilled with the success of the Pageant this year. The weather was disappointing but there was a notable increase in event attendees – perhaps due to an improved event layout and format. We had real interest from visitors in the vehicles and a fully-booked GT Academy experience all weekend. Our race driver Jann Mardenborough enjoyed his time on track in the GT-R and was pleased with third place in the Supercar Class. We have no doubt he’ll be back next year to better his time!”
Simon Hucknall, PR Manager for Vauxhall and VX Motorsports, said: “This year marked Vauxhall's debut at the Pageant of Power, and we hope to be back again next year. The event gave us an ideal platform to showcase not just our performance and heritage cars, in the form of the VXR Maloo and vintage 30-98 Tourer, but also our very latest technology with the award-wining Ampera. It was a great event for us, and right on the doorstep of our Ellesmere Port plant, which builds the Astra.”
Lee Frankish, Sales and Marketing Manager at Victory Motorcycles, commented: “Victory Motorcycles and our riders club members have had a fantastic weekend, the entertainment from a diverse range of automotive exotica has been second to none and we all enjoyed the stunning aerobatic displays. Our guests have been blown away by the atmosphere here at CPoP, and we look forward to coming back next year for more.”
This is the second time that the event has been run on the Friday as well as the full following weekend, giving visitors an extra opportunity to get close to the international field of famous cars, racing drivers and motorcyclists filling the paddocks.
Including the many car clubs in attendance, in total there were almost 1,000 cars on static display, and over 120 racing cars and bikes took to the Cholmondeley circuit.
The Pageant made its presence felt on national television the day before the event got underway, when a display of classic and modern vehicles attended the BBC studios at Media City in Salford Quays. One of the cars, the 42-litre Packard-Bentley (aka ‘Mavis’) owned and driven by Chris Williams, was so loud when the engine was fired up that it interrupted the live BBC Breakfast broadcast.
“The British summer once again proved as unreliable as ever for the Pageant, but it didn’t dampen our sprits or those of the many thousands who flocked – enthusiastic and undaunted – to the Cholmondeley estate,” commented James Hall, Event Director for the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power. “We introduced new interactive attractions and brought in an even wider field of famous international cars, motorcycles, boats, aeroplanes and helicopters to keep the adrenaline flowing. We’ve been really delighted by the feedback from attendees and exhibitors, and we’re already thinking of new ways to ensure the Pageant continues to go from strength to strength next year.”