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Simon Taylor's Stovebolt Special speeds past static display DC3 Dakota at Flywheel Festival 2017


A celebration of wings and wheels at Bicester Heritage

Bicester Heritage once again played host to the wonderful Flywheel Festival over the weekend of July 24/25, drawing bigger crowds than ever.

Based on the site of the former RAF Bicester, Bicester Heritage is now the best-preserved – possibly the only preserved – Second World War era RAF Bomber station, with its historic hangars and buildings now home to many companies associated with classic cars and aircraft.

For the third year running the Flywheel Festival has turned the clock back to celebrate the story of motoring and aviation centred on this iconic airfield.

Although I live just a half hour drive from Bicester I had not been to Flywheel before, so thought that this was the year to do it, and I'm glad I did.

A somewhat overcast morning saw the clouds clear later to bathe the hordes of visitors in warm sunshine.

Set out on the apron was a figure-of-eight track for an eclectic range of cars and motorcycles to perform demonstration runs. Two steam-driven cars from the early 1900s toured round at a sedate pace; while some of the more competition oriented cars from later years were driven more enthusiastically – the glorious sounding ERA of Richard Skipworth and James Ricketts was a special treat.

Also on offer were a number of flying displays including helicopters from the Army Historic Flight, the Tiger 9 Aeronautical Display Team (keeping nine Tiger Moths in formation in the blustery conditions was a sight to behold), the Great War Display Team enthralled with their re-enactments of WW1 dogfights (complete with aerial pyrotechnics!).

A Spitfire and ME109 display, together with an all-too-short visit from a BBMF Spitfire, recalled the Battle of Britain; while Lauren Richardson's superb aerobatics in a Pitts Special brought us more up to date aeronautically.

With plenty of other activities, including static aircraft displays, an open paddock where you can get up close and personal with cars and drivers, Live Music, the Wall of Death and rides on tanks – plus the rest of the Bicester Heritage site to explore, Flywheel is a great day out for all the family, not just petrolheads. My advice is to make sure it's in your diary for next year.

Peter Osborne


Photos and video © Peter Osborne

For more photos from Flywheel click HERE