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CASTLE PRESTIGE: BEST DAMN SHOW IN THE WEST?

CASTLE PRESTIGE: BEST DAMN SHOW IN THE WEST?

uilt for Sir Walter Raleigh with a pedigree that extends over 400 years of English history, Sherborne Castle hosted the 15th annual Classic & Super Cars show on the same weekend as Goodwood Festival of Speed. Bold, but organisers Sherborne & Supercars Ltd., with their army of local Rotary Club volunteers, know what they are doing. They have raised over £130,000 for charities, attracting over 1,500 vehicle pre-bookings in 2018 with more than 2,000 appearing on the blazing Dorset day.

Headline events were to parade 70 years of Land Rovers and there were also mobile tributes around the contoured country park grounds for rally cars and Ferraris. For classic rally fans the British Museum at Gaydon were present with the genuine 33 EJB Monte Mini Cooper 1071S. That 1966 winner, Paddy Hopkirk, came over from Buckinghamshire for the event. Another Hopkirk winner (shared with Alec Poole) was displayed, the 1990 Pirelli Marathon replica of an original works 1275S registered 6 EMO.

Could the West Country’s premier vehicle museum turn out most of their 400 cars and motorcycles for fabulous displays on the Castle courtyard? No, it was the numerous personnel from the Haynes restoration and maintenance departments of Haynes Motor Museum who presented stars like a DB Aston in mid-rebuild, a delectable 1927 Rolls Royce and a Triumph TR5 Trophy motorcycle from 1951. There was more, but look around Lakeland grounds that are more than a match for Goodwood, especially at a bargain £15 a ticket!

The biggest surprise was the depth and quality of the American cars. Of course there were Mustangs, lots of them, but for meticulous preparation and presentation Bournemouth-based Richard Biggs and his sparkling metallic green Ford Falcon took some beating…But wait! A Chevrolet Bel Air fan did equal that with a duotone ‘57 from the max chrome and tail fins era. There were also workhorse trucks and even that historic flop, a shimmering Edsel.

Regional divisions of major car clubs turned out in force for Germany: Mercedes, Porsche, BMW—but I was quietly amazed by by the Jensen club exhibits. These included a time warp Series 1 Jensen Healey in nostalgic plum paint (sprayed in correct Jensen Magenta), driven regularly by a lady. Another lady owner-driver had the hardcore Lotus Exige S2 as her daily thriller as did the Cosworth Escort conductor with child navigator.

Plenty of Elise-based Lotii parked up, but there was no central club stand for owners. Puzzling when Lamborghinis arrived by the dozen and had their own show stand, even obsolete Marcos had taken space and there was a strong selection of TVRs ancient and recent, forming their own well attended square.

Among the well-represented classic motorcycles, the Norton Owners club were most impressive, a totally impressive and charismatic charity-driven event.

Jeremy Walton

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