The First Yorkshire Motorsport Festival
When we first heard about the Yorkshire Motorsport Festival near Holmfirth in the south of the county, we immediately added it to our calendar and set about arranging a weekend away.
Organising a new motoring event is not easy, especially when it involves closed roads, mixed grids, live entertainment, camping, security and some unsupportive local landowners… oh, and a global pandemic. In fact, it appears that permission to run the event at all – in a covid-compliant way, following the delayed ‘unlockdown’ – was granted only three days before the competitors arrived. The live music and some freedom of movement between the paddock and display fields were the acceptable price to pay (with apologies to any entertainers who found their gig cancelled, yet again!).
The show ran from Friday to Sunday with the usual mix of practice, qualifying and timed runs up the hill. A drizzly Friday did nothing for the times nor the comfort of spectators. Neither was it the best day for the pre-war Bentleys to show off their thunderous prowess although the various hospitality and club marquees were welcomed by those who took advantage.
Saturday dawned dull but dry and soon became sunnier and warmer. That must have been a huge relief for the organisers.
As the variety of gorgeous metal and fabulous sounds glinted and ricocheted around the ancient stone walls, we struggled to juggle the watch or walk option on our only full day there. As is usual with such events, a day spent checking out the stalls, club stands and other displays and a second day spent watching the action is the ideal mix.
Regardless, there was something for everyone: rally cars, classic cars, stock cars, trucks, tractors (yes I know, that’s ‘Dieselheads’), supercars, car clubs, fun fare, memorabilia, clothing and of course, the obligatory coffee, cakes, crepes and curries.
Another victim of the event’s late ‘go’ decision was the non appearance of programmes or event maps dotted around. The commentary box did it’s best to keep us suitably entertained. Whoever booked a Lancastrian commentator for a Yorkshire event deserves a medal for bravery, but the resultant banter was terrific.
It was near here that we met up with Sarah Crabtree of TV’s “Bangers and Cash” fame and proper Yorkshire lass shortly after her first passenger run up the hill. It was great to learn more about her Petrolhead plans (more on that to follow) only for the commentator to summon her back, most publicly, for her next ‘guest of honour’ duty.
The course inevitably doesn’t have the spectator-friendly advantages of closed hill venues such as Shelsley Walsh and Prescott Hill. Some big TVs and a few grandstands would be ideal to enable spectators to see more of the action. A bridge across the feeder road to enable people to make the long trek from the paddock area to the main show area without having to wait for (and inconvenience) the marshals would be another help.
As I write, the results have not been published and the event website is still offering tickets. No doubt there is a huge ‘post-implementation review’ underway that will soon address that and start the year long planning and publicity for YMSF2022.