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Friday, August 01, 2014

Ormskirk MotorFest to mark the 60th anniversary of circuit that hosted British Grand Prix

The organisers of the Ormskirk MotorFest are celebrating their diamond anniversary this year.

A fabulous array of cars and motorcycles from all eras of motoring are expected to line up at this year’s Ormskirk MotorFest which takes place on 24 August 2014.

Thousands of people are expected to enjoy the popular day out which has grown to become one of the biggest free family events in the North West. An estimated 25,000 people came last year.

The MotorFest is organised by Aintree Circuit Club (ACC) and supported by West Lancashire Borough Council.

ACC was the world’s first track-based motor club and has been in continuous operation since 1954. This was the year the circuit was opened at the famous Grand National Course, and hosted the first of 16 Formula 1 races featuring the world’s best teams and drivers. The circuit is still used for car sprint races and motorcycle racing.

A year later huge crowds gathered at the Aintree circuit to see Stirling Moss earn his first World Championship Grand Prix victory in the 1955 British Grand Prix when he beat the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio. This made Moss the first British driver to win his home Grand Prix. More than 150,000 people watched the race that day, a record for motor racing in Britain.

The 1957 race was a historic day as Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks drove the Colin Chapman-designed Vanwall to success. This was the first time British drivers had won the British Grand Prix in a British-made car for the first time. It was a big turning point in the growth of the British Motor Sport Industry.

Aintree went on to host the British Grand Prix on three more occasions, the last being in 1962. To celebrate the club’s diamond jubilee organisers are trying to get a selection of racing cars to come to the MotorFest.

They will join more than 250 superb vehicles that are already lined up to be displayed at this motoring extravaganza, which will be a fantastic day out for people of all ages. Some of the wonderful vehicles will take part in parade laps around the town, and static displays will be on Moor Street, Aughton Street and Coronation Park.

Graham Hughes, Aintree Circuit Club president, was at the circuit when that first British Grand Prix race took place.

He said: “It was fantastic to see the world’s best motor racing drivers at Aintree. I can remember seeing Stirling Moss beat Juan Manuel Fangio by a yard in the 1955 British Grand Prix. Fangio was Moss’ team leader and world champion at the time.

“I was a scout in 1954 and Mrs Mirabel Topham, whose family owned the course, asked us to sell copies of the Daily Telegraph as the newspaper was sponsoring the Aintree 200 race.

“I went all over the course including into the pits where I saw Stirling Moss talking to a man in a dickie bow and green windcheater. He turned out to be another driver Mike Hawthorn who became my first racing hero and was the first British driver to win the World Championship.

“I hope we can get some cars from the 50s and 60s to the Ormskirk MotorFest to help us remember those days.”

General entries for vehicles to the MotorFest have now closed, but if you have a competitive racing car from the 1950s or 1960s you would like to enter into the Ormskirk MotorFest please visit the event website www.ormskirkmotorfest.com. Competition cars from other eras can also still be entered.

Councillor David Griffiths, portfolio holder for town and village centres , said: “Congratulations to Aintree Circuit club on reaching their marvellous anniversary. They do a fantastic job of organising the Ormskirk MotorFest, with the support of the Council.

“This year’s event will be a fantastic day out for the whole family so make sure you put the date of Sunday 24 August in your diary and come along to enjoy the fun.”

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