We spoke to Alastair Clements, the Editor in Chief at Classic & Sports Car Magazine, and Dan Geoghegan, the Managing Director of Bicester Heritage to talk all things motorsport, Bicester Heritage and why you should visit the Classic & Sports Car Show in association with Flywheel.
2018 marks the first year that Classic & Sports Car magazine has collaborated with the Flywheel Festival. What was behind this decision to join forces?
Alastair; In its two years in London, The Classic & Sports Car Show developed a reputation as a brilliant place to see some of the world’s most beautiful cars, but we were always keen to expand on the live element of the weekend – nothing matches seeing (and hearing) the machinery in action. Over a short space of time, the Flywheel Festival has established itself as one of the best new historic motoring and aviation events, with masses to see on the track and in the air, so it seemed the perfect partner. The fact that it is held at the UK’s most exciting venue for classic enthusiasts adds the icing on the cake for me – any excuse to spend more time at Bicester Heritage!
For those of us that may not be familiar with Bicester Heritage, tell us about the concept?
Dan; Bicester Heritage is a curated community of historic car specialists who cater for every aspect of ownership from purchasing to maintenance. With over 35 businesses here, occupying the UK’s finest and best preserved pre-war Bomber Station, it is a centre of excellence for historic motoring. We liken it to a boating marina, but for cars!
As Managing Director for Bicester Heritage, it was you that was responsible for its vision and conception. What inspired you to establish Bicester Heritage in 2013?
Dan; The real inspiration was to create a community of classic car specialists and their customers, an inclusive campus that would become renowned for excellence. It was something the market sorely needed but, perhaps, had not realised it yet. The skills were disappearing at the very time that the classic car arena was growing, this was a tension that needed a solution if we were going to contribute to a future for classic cars and their custodians. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
So does this mean that if we come along to Bicester Heritage, we’ll find a lot of very expensive cars?
Dan; Well, certainly an excellent selection of fabulous cars. I remember cycling along the Western Avenue to see a Fiat Panda nestling next to a Ferrari 250 GTO last year! That’s typical of the inclusive approach of Bicester Heritage, if you love it, so will we: all classics are welcome. As well as great machinery, there are incredibly skilled and passionate specialists covering everything from manufacturing unique components, radiators and exhaust systems, to dealers looking to build relationships and provide a safe environment to try, buy and sell a classic car. And if you have a magneto on your car, we have just the man for you. All this against a film-set backdrop, you may recognise it from blockbusters such as The Imitation Game and Darkest Hour.
As Editor in Chief for Classic & Sports Car Magazine we’re guessing that you are a classic car enthusiast. Which car are you most looking forward to seeing and why?
Alastair; That’s a difficult choice: I’m a sucker for the spectacular aero-engined vintage specials, and we’re hoping for a very loud and very smoky display from the Gassers, but our features editor drove the Norris Special for our Show preview in the latest issue of C&SC and came back buzzing about this hugely successful machine, so I can’t wait to see it taking to the track – and going rather faster no doubt – in the hands of owner Julian Grimwade.
Apart from the classic cars, what are you most looking forward to seeing at this year’s show and why?
Alastair; I’m afraid this one is a split decision, between the air displays and the Bicester Technical Site. Watching everything from the Great War Display Team’s WW1 dogfights to the majestic Lancaster of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will be wonderful, but I’m equally thrilled about the number of the specialists on-site at Bicester who will be opening their doors this year. The philosophy behind the venue is keeping skills alive, and visitors will be able to watch them in action during the weekend: it should be fascinating.
Is it a family-friendly event, or ‘grown-ups’ only?
Alastair; Are you kidding? This is so much more than ‘just’ a car show! There should be more than enough on the track and in the concours displays (not to mention the pre-’76 car parks and car clubs area) to keep the most committed petrolhead satisfied, but there’s also aircraft, tanks, a funfair, vintage trade stalls, an auction – and even an on-site brewery!
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