The city centre of Coventry was taken over for the fourth running of MotoFest at the beginning of June. Using part of the city inner ring road, which was closed to normal traffic for the weekend, the event showcased motorsport and high speed action. The event is not a competition, but on closed roads, it does allow for high speed demonstration runs to entertain the crowds who can watch the action for free. Using probably a quarter of the ring road, the vehicles leave the start line and drive down the left had side of the ring road round a traffic island and back on the right hand side of the ring road. The course has several chicanes constructed of moveable plastic blocks to help limit the top speed of the vehicles and also provide some action as the cars steer round the course, or in some cases drift round the course.
There was great variety in the entry of vehicles. wEverything from supercars, sports cars, rally cars, racing cars including a couple of single seaters, plus loads of competition and high performance motorcycles. There was even a souped up invalid scooter. Coventry has always been the home of Jaguar and there was a parade of Jaguar sports cars, ranging from an old SS sports car through the iconic Jaguar C Type racing sports car to the latest F-Type sports car.
There were two single seater racing cars running on the course, which included a classic Formula Atlantic Lola T760 driven by 2016 HSCC Derek Bell Trophy Champion Martin Donn. The other was much more unusual, a Roman VJ which John Fellows of Tracksport had acquired from the late Mark Colton in the late 1990s. John installed a more powerful Judd CV ex Formula 1 engine in the car to compete in the British Sprint Championship. Although not having the time to complete a full season, John was still placed in the top ten Speed contenders for 4 years in a row.
There were various Rally cars present, with modern examples of Citroen, Nissan, Subaru and Ford plus a couple of locally built classics. The ex-works Morris Marina Rally car was originally built at nearby Cowley, in Oxfordshire. It was never very competitive against the Ford Escort, but was nice to see a different shape, as the coupe model was used for rallying. The other car was much more local and competitive, the Triumph TR7 V8 ex-works Rally car from Coventry. In it’s patriotic red white and blue colour scheme, the Triumph makes lots of displays these days as part of the Group B Slowly sideways displays. Other high-lights in the motorsport section included former BTCC star Ollie Jackson driving a Ginetta G55, the current BTCC Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra, the Nissan R35 GT-R FIA GT1 race car, Charlie Butler-Henderson in a Mini Challenge saloon, and a Pre 93 Touring Car series German BMW E30 of Andrew and Michael Sheraton.
The paddock for the vehicles was located on and around one of the traffic islands over the ring road, located next to the city railway station and all the vehicles from the track could be viewed up close up between runs. There were also other display vehicles and stands from places like the British Motor Museum at Gaydon. They had several cars on display and a 1925 Morris Oxford car called ‘Red Flash’ which also ran on the sprint course.
A little bit further along from the paddock and under another part of the ring road was the Action Arena, located just behind the large Ikea store in the centre of Coventry. There was also a static display of rally and oval racing cars outside the front of the store. The Action Arena was a short oval track where they were able to run two cars, on side by side oval courses or up to four Legend cars on one larger oval course.
Moving in to the city centre there were classic cars on display in multiple areas around the city. The main area was Broadgate, next to the statue of Lady Godiva. This gave a large selection of classic cars, where American Ford Mustangs were parked next to local built Triumph saloons and German BMW 3.0 CSL saloons were next to small Austin 7 saloons. Shoppers enjoyed seeing the cars in the sunshine. The Standard Motor club had assembled another great display of locally build Standard cars outdate the Flying Standard public house in the city centre. Coventry Transport Museum also had a large gathering of cars on display outside the museum in Millennium place, and on the other side of the city, there were cars made in Coventry on display in the small park in front of the Council House. These include several Armstrong Siddeley saloons, as well as Jaguar and Hillman models, plus Jaguar and Triumph.
By Simon and Janet Wright.