The UK online magazine for Classic Car enthusiasts


The first Festival of Speed of the new millennium had possibly the finest line-up of cars and drivers yet - but it was a bittersweet weekend following a fatal accident on the hill Champions and Challengers With a theme of Champions and Challengers, Lord March and his team sought to bring together cars and drivers which competed at the highest level in many different codes of motorsport, and to recall their epic battles on the track. The le Mans cars offered a perfect example of this, with Richard Attwood aboard the Porsche 917K (this is the actual car used in the Steve McQueen movie Le Mans) and Jackie Ickx in the Ferrari 312PB flat-12 which won every race it entered back in 1972.

Legends of the Lakes
New to the Festival this year were the stunning Legends of the Lakes cars - radically chopped and streamlined Hot Rods from the dry lake speed contests of the 40s and 50s. In the immediate post-war period these cars were built and raced at Muroc and Bonneville. The Ray Brown High-Boy and the Pierson Brothers Ford Coupe, which ran 153 mph in 1953, were part of a "need for speed" that continues to this day on the Utah Salt Flats

Scene Setters
This year we also celebrate 50 years of Formula One. Amongst the Scene Setters was the "new" Lancia D50 entered by Robin Lodge. The D50 was campaigned successfully by Ascari in 1954 and 55 and is particularly striking with its side-mounted fuel tanks. No original cars exist and this car is a painstaking re-creation built using original engine parts. Another Italian classic was the 1959 Technica Meccanica - the last iteration of the glorious Maserati 250F. In the hands of Barrie Baxter it managed a time of 61.03 seconds with 102 mph through the speed trap

John Dawson-Damer
John Dawson-Damer was killed at the wheel of his Lotus 63. He was a leading collector of Lotus racing cars and had competed at Goodwood in previous years. He leaves a wife and two children.

Andrew Carpenter
Andrew Carpenter was killed, and Steve Tarrant seriously injured, in the accident at the finish line on Saturday afternoon. Both were BMRMC marshals - part of the unpaid team of trained marshals that assist at all UK motorsport events. An appeal is raising money for the families of the marshals. To contribute, contact Trevor Jackson at BARC, Thruxton, Andover, Hampshire

Many of us struggled to come to terms with this tragic accident, and for some observers it was an unhappy reminder of fatalities from years gone by. At the closing ceremony on Sunday evening, Canon Lionel Webber spoke movingly of how drivers accepted the risks involved, and said that "In the midst of this beautiful sport there is always the capacity for something to go wrong". But also killed on Saturday was a marshal. This sport owes it's very existence to these unpaid volunteers who risk their lives to make the sport safer for others. On Saturday they paid a high price for our entertainment, and we dedicate this year's Festival of Speed report to these brave men and women.   

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