Last weekend, the first weekend in May, saw the Donington Historic Festival 2014, the fourth running of the event, and another big success. For those who have not been before, the weekend is a series of races and events with historic cars from various eras in motor sport over the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend.
I went this year with my son, Xander, after taking his cousin Max there a couple of years ago when he was a similar age. Whilst it is great for Xander to see motor sport and some of these fantastic vehicles from a young age, it does make it somewhat harder to take photos, so the number of pictures seems to be reducing as time goes on!
Among the various events of the weekend was a round of the RAC Woodcote trophy, a competition for XXXXX. It was a superb event to watch, with the impressive looking cars from classic marques including Austin-Healey, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and Jaguar, moving elegantly around the circuit at speed.
Another superb event was the historic Formula Three running, again with familiar names like Brabham racing around the circuit.
Historic Touring Cars also made an appearance, for fans of motor racing in general and BTCC in particular, with some cars that – at least for some of us – did not seem quite so old making an appearance, including the Jaguar XJS and XJRs, personal favourites of mine.
Among the louder cars at the weekend were those in the FIA Masters HSCC race for Le Mans and Group 4 event,
John Surtees, famously the only man to be world champion on two wheels and four, made an appearance at the event. He took to the circuit in a classic Lola, and ran a series of laps. There was a great scrum of people, press and photographers on the pit lane as the Lola was coming out of the garage to run its laps. I just happened to be walking by the pits with Xander as the door we were walking past opened, and John Surtees was getting out of his Lola. We stopped, and he came out, signing autographs for fans as the Lola was pushed off out of the garage. Xander got to say hello – or made a hello like noise – as the former world champion came out of the garage, a first for Xander.
There were also plenty of historic cars from The Donington Collection on display that John Surtees had raced during his career.
The Melbourne Loop part of the circuit was being used to demonstrate both rally and cart racing, and among the highlights of that part of the event was an appearance by Ayrton Senna’s 1979 racing cart, in which Xander was lucky enough to sit. I have written separately about that, and the article is here.
One of the great things about the 2014 Donington Historic Festival, like its predecessors, is the open access that is available to the paddock and to the cars, drivers and teams. As you walk around the circuit, not only are there a fantastic collection of stalls with information and that are selling all sorts of interesting merchandise, you also regularly see cars moving to or from the track, getting ready to start a race or event, or just being on display. In my opinion, that is one of the best bits of the weekend.
As with previous years, I had a great time at the event, and am already looking forward to the historic festival 2015. I’m sure the event will become as big a name in the British motor sport calendar as things like the Goodwood Revival in the not too distant future.