Chalk and cheese. That’s the cliche that springs to mind. Our first two events with the bookstall this spring could hardly have been more different. We had ice on the car at one and baking sunshine at the other (well…on one day at least). There was a good crowd in the cotswolds but tumbleweed blowing across the paddock in Northamptonshire would have been hard put to bump into a spectator if it had been lazer-guided !
My 13 year old daughter Charlotte joined me at both venues. She loves car events and is very keen on the selling aspect. She’d never been to Silverstone before so was very excited at the prospect of working at such a famous venue. Even more so because I raced there in the 1990’s. We did a selfie overlooking the very spot where my MG Maestro was parked, just below the Copse spectator bank, all those years ago. I remember the place even further back of course, the 1970s in fact, when it was cornfields and runways in the middle and people on stepladders and home made grandstands on the grassy spectator banks. I used to love it, but now , to my eyes, it has all the appeal of a shopping mall car park.
Prescott on the other hand is somewhere Charlotte is aready familar with having been taken there from just a few months old and I’m very happy to say that although I can recall it in the 1970s too, unlike Silverstone it hasn’t been developed beyond recognition. It still has the tree lined splendor, the excellent close-up viewing and easy paddock access. In fact I think in the last respect it’s not better than t was in the 1970s as you had to pay extra for the paddock back then I recall. Now it’s included in the ticket. And at this meeting that gave you access to dozen of Bugattis (celebrating the owners club’s 90th anniversary) as well as all the other exotica from Ferraris and Voisins to Mini’s and Fiat Abarths.
We saw some great cars at both events but our stall at Silverstone was about 200 yards from the track so the only action we observed was after paking up early on the Sunday and watching the historic saloons race with rock star Chris Rea driving a Morris Minor painted up like a Police car! The other achinery was either trundling back to it’s transporter or parked up.
At Prescott we are conveniently located trackside. Look out of the back window on the marquee and you can see the run from the start up to the first corner(left) . Step out of the front and you can watch Duncan Pittaway taking the BEAST OF TURIN
round Pardon hairpin, flame belching from it’s exhaust stubs. It all makes for a rather more enjoyable experience. Silverstone is just so remote.
After the competition had concluded at Prescott we walked up the hill past verges rich with wild flowers as the sun set over the Cotswold Hills, then enjoyed a pint in the clubhouse while a talented guitarist entertained . At Silverstone we had failed to muster enough enthusiasm, after struggling to cook bacon and eggs for tea, to venture as far as the paddock before settling down for a very cold night of camping in the marquee!
So clearly Prescott is still on the cards for future visits with the bookstall, as it has been for the past 15 years, although the cost of the stands is rising well out of proportion to the takings – which have stagnated at best. But Silverstone….. hmm. A different story. It’s twice as far away so costs more to get to and there just weren’t any spectators/customers by comparison . I
t’s also on tarmac which in nerve-wracking with a marquee as you can only ‘secure ‘ it with barrells of water on each corner rather than nice long tent pegs driven into the ground, like you can at Prescott. A strong gust of wind in such circumstances (very common at Silverstone) in enough to turn my remaining hair white! It’s not worth the stress let aone the fuel so I can’t see us back there next year, sadly
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