The official magazine of the 2012 Ormskirk MotorFest
w w w. l i f e o n c a r s . b l o g s p o t . c o m
McLaren’s mighty MP4-12C among unmissable event’s stars
ALSO INSIDE... The bikes, the cars and the stars of this year’s Ormskirk MotorFest, where you can see them, and the stories behind what makes them great
gEt rEvvED up fOr mOtOrfESt 2012 THE sound of the Saudia Williams as it screamed past the parish church. The spectacle of a SEAT touring car doing burnouts on the one-way system. The buzz of the bikes swarming past the crowds of cheering spectators. When Ormskirk’s MotorFest thundered into the market town this time last year, it was memorable for all the right reasons. Yet what amazed me most wasn’t the calibre of the cars and the bikes taking part – an entrants list which included a Ferrari Enzo and a brace of F1 cars – but the sheer number of you who turned out in force that Bank Holiday weekend and helped to not only make the inaugural event a massive success, but also boosted Ormskirk itself by giving it one of its busiest trading days ever. Clearly turning the town’s one-way system into West Lancashire’s answer to Monaco wasn’t such a bad idea, which is why I’m glad Aintree
Circuit Club and West Lancashire Borough Council have joined forces once again and why the MotorFest is back – and it’s set to be even bigger and better than last year. No less than 300 cars and bikes are expected to take part this year, with everything from the latest McLaren supercar, a fire breathing Group B Metro 6R4, a 300mph dragster and the wonderfully weird bubble cars which proved such a hit last time. Oh, and someone in a noisy old MGB GT. That’ll be me, then! For the second year running I’ve been given a behind-the-scenes sneak preview of some of the mouthwatering machines on their way to Ormskirk, and this official magazine brings together some of the highlights from this year’s event, and the stories behind them. Whether you prefer two wheels or four, it’s going to be a memorable day of motoring highs. Hope you’re looking forward to it as much as I am. See you there...
David Simister Editor, Life On Cars
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F1 cars take to the streets of Ormskirk: Commentator Neville Hay on the starting grid at the 2011 MotorFest. Image courtesy of Chris Covill.
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In this issue 7 MotorFest guide Everything you need to know about the Ormskirk MotorFest, including how to get there, what to see when you arrive and why it’s definitely worth a day out if you’re a car or bike nut
Why the Italian company’s ultimate supercar is set to be the star of the show, plus a potted history of its illustrious predecessors
10 A perfect ten David Simister guides you through the ten things which will help make this year’s Ormskirk MotorFest such an unmissable event
12 Becky Kirvan Why the rally driver, motorsport model and musician will be one to watch when she takes to the streets of Ormskirk at the 2012 event
14 The big day Your guide to where everything’s happening, who’s taking part, what times you can catch the parade and how to show your support for Ormskirk town centre, all in a six-page guide from Life On Cars
20 The MGB hits 50 A look back at Britain’s best selling sports car ever, set to be strongly represented at the MotorFest with several entrants on the way
22 Ben’s parade Why bikers will be taking to the Ormskirk MotorFest circuit in tribute of Southport racer Ben Gautrey, who was tragically killed at a race at Cadwell Park last year
24 MG Metro 6R4 The Metro that’s quite unlike any other is bringing its wide arches, spoilers and Group B rally pedigree to this year’s Ormskirk event
26 Go figure Or how a mathematician might see the 2012 MotorFest. The numbers behind this year’s motorsport extravaganza
27 Flying high A look at one machine due to arrive in Ormskirk, which has to use its speed as a matter of life or death on a daily basis
28 Halewood highs What happened when Aintree Circuit Club and Jaguar Land Rover joined forces to offer petrolheads a day of bargain motorsport thrills
30 AMC Cub Life On Cars roadtests a vehicle packed with retro thills and made right here in the North West
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gEttINg INtO gEAr fOr A grEAt ShOw
If you missed last year’s event, here’s everything you need to know about Ormskirk’s very own motorsport spectacular What is the Ormskirk MotorFest? It’s a one day event taking place in the centre of the West Lancashire market town, centred on Coronation Park, which will see classic cars and bikes lapping the town’s one-way system in a series of spectacular parades.
When is the event taking place? Sunday, August 26, from 11am. The parade laps in Ormskirk will start at around 2.30pm.
How much is it? The MotorFest is still 100% free!
Will it be better than last year’s event? The odds are that yes, it will. Not only are there more entrants in this year - 300, and counting - but the 2012 event is better funded too, thanks to sponsors The Belfry Group. The only thing you can’t predict is the rain but the event should still be a blast, whatever the weather.
How do I get there? The easiest way is by train although the line from Preston to Ormskirk is closed on Sundays, the Merseyrail link between Liverpool and Ormskirk will be running regular services into the town centre. There’s also free parking at most of Merseyrail’s stations on the line towards the town.
What about by car? Ormskirk is easily reached by taking Junction 26 of the M6, following the M58 until Junction 3, and taking the A570 road towards Ormskirk. Parking in the town centre will be difficult, so the MotorFest’s organisers have laid on a Park and Ride service to link to the event.
Where will I find it? The Park and Ride service will run from Edge Hill University, on the outskirts of Ormskirk (L39 4QP if you’re using a satnav). It costs £5 per car to park there all day, and also includes the cost of a transfer operated by a historic bus.
Who is behind the Ormskirk MotorFest? The event has been organised by both West Lancashire Borough Council, the local authority covering Ormskirk, and by Aintree Circuit Club, who have arranged the attractions at the event and coordinated the entrants taking part in the parades and displays. Additional funding has also been provided by a number of sponsors.
Can I collect a couple of autographs? Yes. Guests include rally driver Becky Kirvan, who’ll also be taking to the streets in her motorsport Ford Fiesta. There’ll also be a few familiar faces from the world of racing, so keep your eyes peeled!
What can I expect to see in Ormskirk? There will be more than 300 cars and motorbikes taking part, including BSA, Norton and Honda motorbikes, and Ferrari, MG, Triumph, Bentley and TVR cars. Along with the main exhibits at Coronation Park, there will be displays around the town centre. Attractions may vary from those advertised prior to the event.
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The official name for this car’s colour says it all. McLaren’s migh and most exciting supercars on sale today - and you can see its st THE supercar star of the show at last year’s MotorFest was Ferrari’s epic Enzo, an extraordinary automotive artform not exactly left wanting for pace or motorsport pedigree. Yet McLaren’s mighty MP4-12C, you could argue, could give even the Italian stallion a run for its money. Evocative in name it isn’t but the MP4-12C can, like the Schumachersharpened Enzo, also count an F1 world
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champion among its team of developers. In fact, it can count two, because both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton have had a helping hand in 592bhp McLaren’s inception, putting prototypes through their paces at the Dunsfold Park circuit, also known as Top Gear’s test track. In fact, it was Top Gear who showed why the MP412C is quicker even than the Enzo – the Italian would, ultimately, be
faster in a straight line, but the smaller, nimbler McLaren beat it, and Ferrari’s more modern 458 Italia, around the programme’s test track at the hands of The Stig. The MP4-12C is also quicker to sixty - 3.1 seconds to the Enzo’s 3.3 - and despite having less power can still easily crack 200mph.
If you’ve ever clocked the MP4-12C on a motorshow stand and wondered what its 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 would sound like as it takes to the streets of a traditional market town, then the Ormskirk MotorFest is the place to find out.
hty MP4-12C is one of the fastest tut its stuff on Ormskirk’s streets
Here’s one they made earlier... THE F1 might be more than 20 years old but to most petrolheads it needs no introduction. Engineered with the same levels of obsessive precision as the MP4-12C, McLaren’s bid to build the ultimate road car also brought with it a list of superlatives; not only was it the most powerful and most expensive production road car at the time, but by a clear margin the fastest. With a top speed of 240.1mph, it took more than a decade for the F1 to be toppled as the world’s fastest car. Yet it was more about
engineering perfectionism than sheer speed; the engine bay was lined with gold to keep the BMW Motorsport V12 cool, and even the tools in the toolkit were crafted from magnesium alloy to save weight. It was even vaguely practical, offering three seats instead of the usual supercar two and as much space in the twin luggage lockers as a Fiesta’s boot! Obsessively engineered and still fast enough to teach today’s supercars a thing or two, the F1 leaves the MP4-12C with a difficult act to follow.
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The classic motorbikes played a big part in last year’s event and keen bikers won’t be disappointed this year either. 2012’s entries include everything from classic Brit racers to the later Japanese superbikes.
Becky Kirvan is proof that girls just wanna have fun - if fun involves taking a Ford Fiesta rally car around Ormskirk’s one-way system, that is! Read the full feature on Becky’s motorsport career on page 14 of the Ormskirk MotorFest offical magazine.
F1 cars on the streets of Ormskirk was the incredible highlight of the 2011 event, with both a BRM P261 and a 1978 Williams FW06 screaming through the town’s streets. With plenty of top flight motorsport machinery on the cards for 2012, you’re sure to see a Grand Prix car take to the streets during the parade laps! The bubble cars proved to be an unlikely hit with the crowds last year, so it’s good news that the Heinkels, the Messerschmitts and their micro marvel companions will take to Ormskirk’s streets once again.
Neville Hay’s words of wisdom will be your guide to the hundreds of entries at MotorFest, giving you a chance to find out a little more about the stunning cars and bikes, and the people who’ve brought them to this year’s event.
yOur StArtEr fOr tEN Journalist and petrolhead David Simister picks out his ten top tips for highlights you won’t want to miss at this year’s MotorFest
Historic rally machines from the Seventies and Eighties are among the mouthwatering machines taking part. Not only are two Group B MG Metro 6R4s taking part in the parades, but you’ll also be able to check out Audi’s quattro and the Ford Escort RS2000.
The North West Air Ambulance: is expected to make an appearance at this year’s event, provided they’re not tied up saving lives elsewhere, to help spur on support for a great local cause.
Tom Melia’s E-Type: Bispham petrolhead Tom Melia is offering one lucky showgoer a ride in his Jag to help raise funds for charity. I was lucky enough to get taken for a spin in it for an article I wrote last year, and can vouch that it’s no slouch!
The Ben Gautrey tribute parade will feature a host of bikes the Southport rider, tragically killed in a race last year, loved, including a replica of the Kawasaki he actually rode in the Metzeler Superstock 600 Class.
The marshals are the people who make the MotorFest possible, and these hi-vis jacketed volunteers will each be given exclusive pin badges not available to anyone else taking part. Without them giving up their time freely, Ormskirk wouldn’t be able to host a free motorsport spectacular for thousands of keen petrolhead visitors.
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Becky Kirvan might like singing and modelling, but she also happens to be a go faster rally driver who cut her teeth in a MK2 Escort. Life On Cars finds out more...
gIrL pOwEr 12 Life
A FEW powerslides in a MK2 Escort was all it took. Becky Kirvan might be a qualified musician, a soprano soloist, a sometime model and a keen entrepreneur – hardly a short set of skills to have on your CV – but I reckon you’ll like her because she’s a petrolhead. A proper petrolhead. Who likes rallying. It was on a one-day motorsport course that Becky, from East Yorkshire, got behind the wheel of one of the most successful rally machines of all time as a gift and she hasn’t looked back since. That’s why, eleven years later, she won’t just be a pretty face when she takes to the streets of Ormskirk for this year’s MotorFest. “After many years watching rallying on the television I got my first real taste of the sport in 2001 when I did a one day rally driving course as a birthday present. After a day spent power-sliding and handbraking a Mk II Escort around in the gravel, I immediately caught the rally bug and made it my mission to somehow get properly involved in the sport.” Which is exactly what she’s done, and got stuck into motorsport by marshalling at events, before eventually getting her big break when, in 2006, she won the nationwide Lady Quest rally driving competition. To her credit, two years ago she picked up the BTRDA Ladies Championship title at the helm of a rally-prepared
Nissan Micra, despite a crash in one of the events. It’s her M Sport Ford Fiesta ST1600 rally car, which she’s been piloting at events since last year, that MotorFest visitors will be able to check out on August 26, so be sure to stick around to see the distinctive white and pink rally machine take to the streets of Ormskirk during the motorsport parades around the town centre. When she’s not flinging a Ford Fiesta around a muddy forest stage, including on high profile events like the Jim Clark Rally and the Rally Isle of Man, Becky is developing her own rally car hire business, Rally4real.com, and helping to encourage more women to enter the sport by visiting shows and by modelling for motorsport calendars to help promote women’s rallying. “At shows like the Ormskirk MotorFest I am able to share my great passion for rallying, give extra exposure to my sponsors and supporters and, of course, show off my beloved car,” she added. She’s also a keen musician, being both a soprano soloist and a bassoon specialist with the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra, but I reckon the real music to petrolhead ears will be the sound of her burning rubber in that rally Fiesta on the streets of Ormskirk...
Pictured: East Yorkshire rally driver Becky Kirvan, and the rally-prepared M Sport Ford Fiesta she will be bringing to this year’s MotorFest. Pictures courtesy of Songasport
Find out more about Becky by visiting www.beckykirvan.co.uk Life On Cars
mOtOrfESt: thE rOutE
DONâ€™t mISS Out ON ALL thE ActION! Donâ€™t miss seeing any of the awesome machines taking part in the parades around Ormskirk! At around 2.30pm the display cars move to parade around the town centre. This one mile circuit gives everyone the ability to see and hear the unique collection of vehicles that have attended the Ormskirk MotorFest. 16 Life
Parade One (2.30pm - 2.50pm): Vintage and Classic Cars from Paddock One Aughton Street (three laps). Parade Two (2.50pm - 3.05pm): Classic and Performance from Coronation Park (three laps). Parade Three (3.10pm - 3.20pm): Roadgoing Motorcycles from Paddock One (five laps). Parade Four (3.20pm - 3.35pm): Competition Cars from Padock two (eight laps). Parade Five (3.35pm - 3.50pm): Competition Bikes from Paddock Two. Includes Mark Webster riding a replica of Ben Gautrey’s Kawasaki and Chris Jones riding Ben Gautrey’s 125 Aprilla (eight laps). Parade Six - The Grand Finale (3.55pm - 4.30pm): Charity Rides from Paddock Two, including the winners of the “ Hot Seat” Prize Draw participating in the parade, sitting in a selection of G. P. Cars, McLaren MP4-12C, race, rally and sports cars. As with any controlled event please be patient and take care whilst the vehicles are moved from their display areas. The organisers understand your enthusiasm but your assistance is requested to help the event run to schedule by standing well back whilst the cars are moved to the circuit. Life On Cars
ShE’S gOt A tIckEt tO rIDE!
This beautiful Jaguar E-Type is just one of the cars you can be in with a chance of winning a ride in if you become a Friend of Ormskirk MotorFest. For just £5, you not only get entered into a prize draw for a ride in one of several stunning vehicles - including the Metro 6R4, McLaren MP4-12C and Becky Kirvan’s rally car - but you’ll also get an official lapel badge, a special brochure, and the chance to meet the drivers involved in the event. To find out more, and for full terms and conditions, visit the Ormskirk MotorFest website at:
LOvE mOtOrfESt? LOvE OrmSkIrk!
Ormskirk MotorFest supports efforts to breathe new life into the town centre of Ormskirk, backed by local businesses, community groups and West Lancashire Borough Council. To find out more talk to one of the Love Ormskirk members at their campaign stand on August 26, or just scan the logo above with your smartphone to get involved! Life On Cars 19
fIfty but fAbuLOuS One of the best selling sports cars of all time will be well represented at the MotorFest. David Simister looks at why the fifty year old MGB is still a hit with motoring enthusiasts
MG is one of the best represented marques at this year’s MotorFest, with everything from the company’s earliest sports cars to the fire-breathing Metro 6R4 taking part. Yet the big surprise is that there are no less than five MGBs heading over to Ormskirk for this year’s event (six if you count the MG RV8). One of which, I’m proud to say, is mine. Britain’s best selling sports car will be able to celebrate its 50th birthday in style, and you’re invited to the party. The MGB was, right up until the Mazda MX-5 arrived decades later, the world’s best selling roadster. It offered the same sort of thrills the little Mazda does but it did it in very different times, in an era when Britain’s sports car industry was booming and MG bosses, keen to replace the pretty but ageing MGA, needed something to take on the
best Triumph and AustinHealey could offer. It’s still a hit with enthusiasts today because it’s one of the easiest ways to get into classic cars – parts are cheap and easily available, there’s a wealth of knowledgeable owners clubs on hand to offer you guidance, and – most importantly of all – it’s fun. It might not have many superlatives to count on but it does have a motorsport heritage thanks to a certain Paddy Hopkirk driving one at Le Mans – and it’s fun, good looking and makes a great noise. Personally, I’d always take the tintop GT version over the roadster, because I reckon the coupe is actually the prettier of the two. Which would you have? You could always take a look at the MGBs on show at the MotorFest if you haven’t made up your mind – there will be five on them to choose from, after all...
Opposite: David’s MGB with some of the vintage buses which will be used to ferry visitors to the MotorFest. Clockwise, from above: The MGB GT added two rear seats and a coupe roof; the MGB Roadster directly inspired the 1990s MG RV8; MGs in Ormskirk at last year’s show; the MGB still attracts a cult following today. All pictures by David Simister, Life On Cars
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Images courtesy of The Benjamin Gautrey Foundation
BIKERS will pay a poignant tribute at the MotorFest to a teenage racer who was tragically killed last year. Enthusiasts keen to remember 18-year-old Southport rider Ben Gautrey, who was involved in a fatal crash at the Cadwell Park circuit last August, will take a procession of motorbikes including a replica of Ben's 600cc machine – around the Ormskirk circuit to highlight a charity established in his honour. Lorraine Gautrey, Ben’s mother and founder of the Benjamin Gautrey Foundation, said: "The
pArADE fOr Our bEN
A poignant parade around the MotorFest lap will pay tribute to Southport’s late bike ace parade will not only be a really nice tribute to Ben, almost a year to the day after we lost him, but it will also help to highlight the work of the Ben Gautrey Foundation. "The foundation will support sport from grassroots level and will promote the sports which Ben was so passionate about." Among the machines
which will be ridden around the town centre will be a replica of the 600cc Gearlink Kawasaki, pictured, on which Ben rode his final race at Cadwell Park on August 29 last year, and an Aprilia 125cc motorbike which Ben also raced. Charity supporter Alasdair Croft, who took part in last year's MotorFest, said:
"It's a fabulous idea, and I hope that the stand and the parade at the event will really help to highlight the foundation and what we're aiming to do.” For more about the Benjamin Gautrey Foundation visit: thebenjamingautrey foundation.org.uk
A chAmpION rEAD EvEry wEEk Motoring news, views and reviews from Sefton and West Lancashire
GET revved up with all the latest motoring news from Life On Cars, a fullthrottle blog from The Champion packed with automotive updates and information. The website, created by Champion motoring correspondent David Simister, gives not just a local look on the latest in the motoring world but also offers up news on the latest shows and events taking place in Sefton, West Lancashire, and further afield.
Image courtesy of Cornelia Kaufmann
David Simister, writer of Life On Cars, said: “In the past three years the website and the column in the seven editions of The Champion newspaper have gone from strength to strength, and that’s all down to there being no shortage of motoring news and events going on right across the region. If you live in the Sefton or West Lancashire areas – or just have a love of cars – then Life On Cars is very much a one-stop shop for motoring information. Not only do you get details of
new cars and reviews of many of the models currently on offer, but there’s also plenty of details on events featuring new and classic cars.” Written by a selfconfessed car enthusiast and experienced newspaper reporter, Life On Cars offers up a local take on motoring news that’s fresh, funny and informative. Life On Cars appears each week in The Champion newspaper and is accompanied by both an online blog and a regular web magazine.
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You can win great prizes by capturing on camera the magic of this year’s Ormskirk MotorFest, writes Rod Jones We are on the lookout for inspirational images of Ormskirk, and if you have a photo that you believe has a wow factor, then submit it to us. The Ormskirk Motorfest is a great place for inspiration but the theme is open to any topic, but it has to be associated the town Above: with Members of of Ormskirk in any form. Aintree Circuit Clubit can be in You can submit any photo you like, at a MotorFest color or black and white, it can be a photo of your event in a feature of a pet in a park, preview an event at Ormskirk, car or building, people or it can be abybeautiful Ormskirk. Picture landscape; it is totallySimister, up to you which subject you David choose. This content Champion is open to all photographers young Newspapers and old, professional and amateur, from any country, but the image must, however tenuous, be related to Ormskirk. Entries Pictured: A from anyone under the age of 18 mustrecreation be represented by a parent or adult of Stirling guardian. Moss’ British Grand You retain the copyright to your photos, but we ask Prix win in 1957 at in fair terms for unlimited usage rights. We believe Aintree, using a and conditions. For the purpose of the F1 competition Vanwall car fromplease only submit image the sizesDonington 1024px x 768Grand px at 72 dpi (dots per inch). This should provide an image file size of Prix 150K. If you do not Collection. know how to manipulate these Picture byimage Johnsize so that the details, just change your Aintree Circuit maximum file Bailie, size of 2.35 megabytes. Our system, Club if busy, may reject your application if the image size is too big. At the Ormskirk MotorFest you can get support and materials at Max Spielmann's, based at: 27 Moor Street, Town Centre, Ormskirk L39 2AA. You can also get in touch with them by calling them on 0870 750 5626.
Group B Rallying prompted the 6R4’s creation, giving Austin Rover a chance at taking on Audi’s Quattro, Peugeot’s 205 T16 and Lancia’s 037 in rallying’s top class in the 1980s. The bodyshell is, like Audi’s and Peugeot’s entries, designed to mimic a showroom model in this case the Austin Metro and its sporty MG siblings. However, the resemblence is only cosmetic, hiding bespoke mechanicals designed for motorsport success. Drivers included the late Tony Pond, who guided one to third place in the 1985 RAC Rally. However, Group B’s cancellation cut the 6R4’s career short.
Development was entrusted by Austin Rover to Williams Grand Prix, who used their expertise to develop the bespoke body and the permenant four wheel drive system.
bEhIND thE ScENES: mg mEtrO 6r4 Britain’s very own Group B rally car, the incredible Metro 6R4, has emerged from the forests for a MotorFest visit
The name spelt out exactly what the car was; 6R4 stands for 6 cylinders, Rally car and 4 wheel drive! The MG badge was chosen as a link to the MG Metro showroom range.
Motorsport victory came after its works rallying career, and found success in both rallycross and in national rallies years later, and can still be found taking part in events to this day.
The engine wasn’t typical Group B fare where the competition favoured smaller, turbo units, the 6R4’s 3.0 litre V6, mounted in the middle of the car, was normally aspirated, producing around 410bhp. The same engine, this time fitted with twin turbos, later helped propel the Jaguar XJ220 to a top speed of 217mph at Nardo in Italy. Life On Cars
1 0 , 0 0 0 00 3 Vistors expected to pack into Ormskirk town centre on August 26 to enjoy this year’s event
s torbike nd mo a t n r a e c v r of r’s e Numbe into this yea d entere
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t by m
Top speed in mph of the fastest entry, a Santa Pod top fuel dragster
mOtOrfESt 2012: gO fIgurE The numbers behind this year’s Ormskirk motoring spectacular
es are ! Parad 30pm p u s v re 2. e it all e from The tim to take plac led schedu
Number of pounds visitors to the event need to pay - it’s 100% free to join in the action!
Numbe ro one of f seconds th e this ye ar’s en McLaren MP from z 4-12C t rant ero to 60mph s, needs to g , e if you floor it t
Pound winner s offered to o of the marsha ne lucky ls’ priz e draw
ON A wINg AND A prAyEr
One of the region’s fastest vehicles needs its speed for a very important reason IF you’re involved in a really serious car crash and getting to hospital quickly is a case of life and death, it’s the crew in this helicopter you’ll be counting on. The North West Air Ambulance is one of the charities being supported by the mayor of West Lancashire, and with the organisers of the Ormskirk MotorFest keen to offer their support the helicopter used by these
brave volunteers is expected to be one of this year’s more unlikely visitors. With a cruising speed of 150mph it’s hardly lacking in pace even when compared to some of this year’s fastest car and bike entrants, but because it
can travel as the crow flies and without any speed limits it’ll get you to the nearest hospital faster than anything on the roads. The charity’s helicopter – now based at Royal Preston Hospital so that
specialist doctors can easily get into it and fly to emergencies – is expected to pay a visit to the MotorFest so you can find out more about the incredible work of its volunteer crew. Providing they’re not saving lives, of course...
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It’s not every day one of Britain’s biggest car firms lends you a car park to play with. Aintree Circuit Club put the site to good use...
IT’S NOT often Jaguar Land Rover lend you a factory car park to play with. Yet that’s exactly what they did when they lent Aintree Circuit Club the use of part of their Halewood factory – home of the Range Rover Evoque – for an AutoSolo event on August 4, as part of the club’s calendar of motorsport events. AutoSolo is a great form of entry-level motorsport and a bit of a petrolhead thrill in its own right, because you can enter in pretty much anything in have and blast. The inaugural event at the Jaguar Land Rover factory attracted a pretty eclectic entry list, with everything from cheap ‘n’ cheerful Micras and Corsas, hot hatch classics like the Peugeot 205 GTI and the Golf GTI, and rear wheel drive roadsters like the Caterham Seven and the Mazda MX-5. The event, held in the factory’s 50th anniversary year, saw an expansive car park converted into a twisty course, which more than thirty cars took a crack at trying to complete. The competitors made the best of the changeable conditions and used the damp course to get some of the more colourful entries seriously sideways – for me, the highlight of the day was watching one driver drifting his diminutive Suzuki Whizzkid! If you’d like to find out more about AutoSolo events in the near future, visit the Aintree Circuit Club website for details of forthcoming fixtures.
Opposite: Hot hatch heaven as a Peugeot 205 GTI watches a 106 GTI take to the track.. Clockwise, from top: A Suzuki SC100 Whizzkid gets seriously sideways; the Mazda MX-5 is a popular AutoSolo entry; A Lexus driver gets stuck into the course; a Fiat Cinquecento Sporting at the factory. All pictures by David Simister, Life On Cars
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rEhAbILItAtINg thE prISONEr
The last time you probably saw the Mini Moke was when it was transporting Patrick McGoohan around a mysterious island. But now, thanks to a Bootle-based car firm, it’s back THE lorry driver did a double take as I darted around the docks in the bonkers car with no doors, no roof and no windows. These roads, a stone’s throw from the heart of Liverpool and used to access one of the busiest ports in Britain, see thousands of vehicles a week, but I doubt many of them look even remotely like the one I’m driving. It is a machine which looks like it’s been designed for a moon mission, yet it’s made less than a mile away, using bits from the best selling British car ever. Welcome to the weird world of the AMC Cub. Bootle-based petrolhead
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Charles Andersen – hence Andersen Motor Company – introduced his replica of the Mini Moke, a car best known for its roles in The Prisoner and the Bond film You Only Live Twice, back in the 1980s, but was forced to end production a decade later when BMW cut off the supply of parts for the classic Mini. It’s only now, 15 years later, a new stream of Mini parts made abroad has allowed to put the car back into production, making him in a small way Britain’s newest car manufacturer. He told Life On Cars: “As far as I know nobody else in the country is building a car like this – all the other small companies
Clockwise, from top: The AMC Cub is closely modelled on the Mini Moke of the 1960s; AMC founder Charles Andersen at the wheel of his creation at the Bootle factory. For more information visit www.amcgb.com
Clockwise, from top: The AMC Cub attracts unusual looks wherever it goes; rear seats give room in the back for two adults but little in the way of creature comforts; Familiar Mini fare dominates the dashboard and interior. All pictures by David Simister, Life On Cars building cars like this for the kit market closed down years ago. It’s hand built, it’s made in Britain and it’s attracted a lot of interest.” “If you were to drive an E-Type or an Aston it might attract envious looks, but this is completely in a class on its own. There’s nothing else like it on the road. The reaction of people when you drive is fantastic – adults wave and people start talking to you whenever you stop at the traffic lights.” The result of Charles’ efforts is a brand new, 2012 car which has passed
the UK’s Vehicle Type Approval tests but happens to be seriously Sixties in its styling and packed with Mini technology underneath – in fact, the only major bit that isn’t new is the engine, which is a 1275cc A-Series engine sourced from an MG Metro. There are other Moke replicas built by Chinese firms, Charles adds, but they haven’t been through the gruelling European testing the Cub has. But Charles’ pain of getting the Cub through the tests is my gain, because it’s obvious the moment I drive it that it’s
no flimsy kit car – it’s a Mini with added al fresco thrills. For me it’s immediately familiar territory because I owned two classic Minis, so the tiny steering wheel, the long gearlever leading down to the four speed manual gearbox and the chunky British Leyland switches are like old friends I haven’t met since I last got out of my old Mini Sprite a year ago. You get the same bouncy ride and the same go-kart steering, but in the Cub you get the wind rushing in from all directions as you put your foot down, the sun
shining down on you, and the scores of eyeballs pointing in your direction. It’s exposed, attentiongrabbing and not exactly the last word in practicality, but I love its madcap take on motoring. No, you won’t get cruise control, satnav or a folding metal roof if you go shopping at Andersen Motor Company, but the Cub is one thing most cars costing twice as much aren’t. It’s a laugh! It’s also, at £12,000 for the factory built version, nearly a grand cheaper than BMW’s entry-level MINI. I know which one I’d go for.
Life On Cars
A fINAL thANk yOu It wouldn’t have been possible without: Mike Ashcroft, Rod Jones, Ian Bennett and everyone at Aintree Circuit Club, Colin Brady and everyone at West Lancashire Borough Council, Newspress (McLaren MP4-12C and Metro 6R4 pictures), Becky Kirvan, Lucy Murgatroyd (North West Air Ambulance), Katie Massam, The Belfry Group, Edge Hill University, the mayor and mayoress of West Lancashire, Tom Melia, Charles Andersen, Cornelia Kaufmann, Lorraine Gautrey, Chris Covill, G J Pritchard, Alasdair Croft, everyone at the Merseyside Transport Trust for their assistance with the MGB photography at the vintage buses open day, Champion Newspapers, and last but not least, the thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors who turned up to last year’s Ormskirk MotorFest and set to make this year’s show even more memorable. Thank you for your support!
Created by EDITOR David Simister DESIGNER David Simister CREATIVE CONSULTANT Cornelia Kaufmann www.lifeoncars.blogspot.com firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTOGARPHY: David Simister, Cornelia Kaufmann, Newspress, Chris Covill, and Aintree Circuit Club .
Read Life On Cars each Wednesday in The Champion newspaper, on the web at www.lifeoncars.blogspot.com and on the motoring section of www.champnews.com
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Published on Aug 15, 2012
Published on Aug 15, 2012
The officially-backed magazine about the 2012 Ormskirk MotorFest, created by Life On Cars writer David Simister.