Coventry MotoFest, an annual festival celebrating the region’s historic motoring heritage in the heart of Coventry on public roads! And this year it has been touted as being the biggest and best yet!
Let that sink in for a moment though, “public roads”?! Yep, think Monaco, take away the sea, double the size and slap on a West Midlands accent and you’re pretty much there. In some ways, you have surpassed that, if Formula 1 isn’t your bag then you can see cars ranging from student built racers to drift cars right the way through to rock crawlers or GT1 cars. The variety is simply staggering, you are in constant limbo of staying still as you don’t know what will come past next or moving on for fear of missing something going on elsewhere.
Add to the fact that we, as press, were walking down what was essentially a hot pit lane which is located on top of an elevated dual carriage-way, crowds were lining slip roads and cross overs using the landscape as some sort of amphitheatre. It was utterly bizarre and brilliant all the same, I for one had never experienced anything like it in my life. Under one of the fly overs was a converted car park which was home to our Formula G demonstrations as well as Drift Outlaws. Think Tokyo Drift but with less spinners and chrome, that’s what went down there.
The crowd for our demonstrations was immense, we had people lined up against the concrete guard rails, phones held high to get a snap of the action. The flyover not only held the smoke down but also provided a ceiling for the engine noises to bounce off of which only pumped the crowd even more. It is little unique touches like this that makes Coventry MotoFest so special.
Did I mention that this was a free event?
No entry fee to pay here, just rock up, watch some demonstrations, see some sprint racing, salivate over the display stands or chill out with some great food and live music. And that is the key, it is all very good attracting motoring enthusiasts to attend, we will drive hours and even fly to events just see the action. Attracting new fans is a difficult job, track tickets can be expensive, but here, passer-by’s could turn up and be present with a mixed bag of disciplines to experience.
To me, that reinforces what Coventry MotoFest is about, it is a celebration of the heritage and a way of showcasing it to those who would never considering handing well earned beer tokens for an entry to an event like this. The really isn’t a better way for the uninitiated to dip their toe in and see what they like.
The largest part of the event was the sprint section which followed the ring road for two junctions before turning back on itself and doing it all over again. The start line was a great place to stand with many drivers going for big rolling burnouts rewarding the baying crown with the smell of fuel and burnt rubber.
But nothing really beats the audio sensory overload as you wait near the exit of a tunnel being filled by the orchestra of a vintage Formula 1 car. That really is hair raising stuff.
Sure, this isn’t at the same sort of scale as Goliaths Goodwood Festival of Speed but it isn’t really claiming to be either. MotoFest has much more of a planted feel to it, rather than going to see it, it bring the action to your doorstep and has the audacity to do it in a City, a fact I still can’t get over. There is a beautiful juxtaposition here, purpose built track monsters driving on public roads, to me that is my favourite aspect of it. It feels so right but when you step back and look at it all, it seems so alien. They are racing in a city!
And the lofty ambitions don’t stop there, the organisers are in talks with the council to have a proper race inside the city next year! We haven’t seen anything like this since Birmingham SuperPrix or before that, if my history serves me well, the Crystal Palace GrandPrix. We need more of this and I can’t wait to see how this event continues to grow.
This was my first time attending and I had never heard of it before, it wasn’t even on my radar. That has now changed. It has been going for 4 years, 3 in this current format and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I feel there is an importance to writing this article, more people need to witness this event, not to support it, rather that it is simply too good to miss. More people need to know.
Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: Fueltopia Team: Phil, Mike, Craig, Dave, Kim & Ben.