Sunday August the 8th 2010 saw the 25th Anniversary of the annual Ford Fair event at Silverstone circuit, and UKMT were very pleased to be in attendance as guests of Ford UK.
For anyone familiar with car club shows and events, this one beats the rest into the shade for sheer scale alone. Local roads were nose to tail with Fords of every variety in the run up to the 9am opening of the main gates and scenes were reminiscent of those before the Silverstone GP.
We were due to meet our hosts before the gates opened and were stunned to find gridlock after leaving our hotel. Our decision to come in a Honda paid off though, as we were able to push in to several queues, justifying our rudeness by suggesting to other users that we were in fact, NOT attending the event and on our way somewhere else..
We started our day over at the Ford Live Action Arena. Throughout the day, stunt driver Paul Swift entertained the crowds with breathtaking displays in various Ford models.
The arena’s focus changed as the morning progressed, and hourly choreographed shows began. Paul treated us to demonstrations of alternative methods of parallel parking, using his ultra-impressive Ford Focus RS. For those not familiar with this extreme version of Ford’s popular hatchback, it bears little relation to the common or garden 1.6 Style..
In fact, the car literally danced – in a set-piece choreographed to music, the crowd was amazed as Paul treated one of the Ford PR girls to a sort of petrol-fuelled Swan Lake, complete with an atmospheric array of special effects provided solely by unburned hydrocarbons and tortured Pirellis.
Probably a good one for one of those awful corporate ice breaker questions in future though – ‘so tell everyone your strangest experience…’
After a fish and chip lunch (note – nothing eaten prior to the arena experience) we made our way around the event to look at the club stands and watch some of the other entertainment on offer. A section of the circuit was dedicated to a display of drifting during the afternoon. This form of motorsport originated in Japan more than 30 years ago and has transplanted itself well into the British Motorsport scene. It’s not surprising as you could argue that it is the most spectacular form of circuit racing. We watched as a collection of rear wheel drive Escorts, Sierras (and a Ford powered Toyota Starlet of all things) kicked up huge clouds of blue smoke from their tyres, their drivers oversteering furiously around the Brooklands part of the circuit.
To the uninitiated, choosing what to look at next was a pretty daunting experience. The club stands extended acres from the circuit to the huge car parks and encompassed almost every type of Ford imaginable.
It became so very easy to get lost in a sea of Escorts, Mondeos and other more modern kit that it was the classic cars that really stood out on the day. Perhaps the most startling reminder of how things used to be, was brought to mind via the nostrils – as hundreds of uncatalysed, carburettered petrol engines burbled their way around the site, bringing back memories of crowded cities past. It may also have accounted for the headaches both of us went home with.
There are a great many car shows and events throughout the British Summer and Ford Fair has to be the biggest. Whether or not it is the best will depend on your taste in cars, but if you love things automotive (and if you are reading this, let’s assume you do) this is a show not to be missed. Whether you are a fan of Ford or not, you – and everyone you know – will be able to tell you a story about something that happened in a Ford. It’s an inevitable consequence of being ubiquitous.
It might be a description of your first drive home from hospital after you were born, or your first car aged 17, or indeed the first time you ended up on your head in a ditch after the Orion your mate borrowed off his Dad skidded on black ice.
Ford Fair – perhaps this is the most democratic motoring event of the year?
A very big thank you should go to Ford UK and the very friendly, welcoming and inspiring team from Wunderman who invited us along.
We’re all very much looking forward to another massive day out with the Blue Oval next Summer.
Ford UK have their very own YouTube channel where amongst other clips you can find UKMT’s finest being flung around by the aforementioned Paul Swift as well as other movies from the day.