At 10am on a crisp Sunday morning, Peder Nielsen, Bromyard’s Town Crier, formally announced the opening of Bromyard Speed Festival – the much anticipated classic motoring event that attracts thousands of classic motor enthusiasts from around the country annually.
You might be wondering – why Bromyard? Nestled between Worcester and Hereford, it turns out this charming town has a rich and fascinating classic car history. In fact, it has played a central role in the birth and development of the motorcar itself, with Morgan, Austin and Bean originating in surrounding areas. It’s no wonder people journey far and wide to celebrate motoring history in this picturesque setting.
It was clear from the offset that this year’s event was incredibly popular, with nearby parking lots filled to the brim and the narrow streets packed with thousands of onlookers from all walks of life. Queues of excited spectators lined up to gain access to the paddocks and given the turnout we can assume with some certainty that local food vendors were kept extremely busy all day.
As well as bringing together enormous crowds of likeminded petrol-heads, the festival provided a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some seriously impressive classic cars and motorcycles.
Three land-speed record holders were displayed in a paddock for the public to view and photograph. These were the Beast Of Turin (pictured), a tremendous car that achieved 116mph in 1911, Babs, who beat the land-speed record in 1926 and The Napier Bluebird, a replica vehicle that achieved 174.883mph in 1927. Both The Beast and Napier Bluebird later took three laps around the streets (and may have shattered a few window-panes as they did). Babs, however, decided to remain in her paddock for the day and soak up the glory – we can’t blame her really!
The morning and afternoon saw groups of cars take a few spins around the town while being cheered on by the excited crowds. Categories included ‘vintage cars’, ‘rally cars’ and even ‘electric cars’, giving spectators a wonderfully diverse range of motors to view and enjoy.
Local classic car owner Brian Bedford had a particularly popular motor that certainly got people talking. His one-of-a-kind 1952 Ford Prefect Police Car (pictured below) featured a 11 72 side valve and had been recently restored to an immaculate standard. It even had a working siren that could be heard for miles as it raced around the town.
Holden Vintage & Classic along with Morgan Motor Company, Brightwells Classic Motoring, South Hereford Garages and a range of other organisations sponsored the charitable event and pitched stalls in the market square where the cars commenced. Jeremy Holden, founder of Holden Vintage & Classic and Holden-Morgan, said, “The crowds and cars this year were fantastic and we couldn’t be happier with the turnout. It was a wonderful day with perfect weather. We are so thankful to the volunteers, local businesses and participants for their enthusiasm which helped make the day so spectacular”.
Photo credits Rhiannon Carvell-Crook