It may be one of the newest events on the car show calendar but CarFest is certainly making its mark and showing that it can be something for the whole family to enjoy.
We arrived on Saturday morning to find a damp track, thanks to some earlier rain, but thankfully the weather held out for the remainder of the day despite the looming presence of grey clouds above. The moist tarmac of the hill climb kept the drivers on their toes, especially those at the wheel of vehicles known to squirm a bit in anything less than perfect conditions. An unfortunate example of this was an ultra-rare Lamborghini Countach. It understeered into a hay bale with an expensive looking, and sounding, crunch to the front corner, just as the commentator announced how it one of only 14 of its type ever made.
As well as the usual super expensive exotic metal, unusual vehicle specialist Edd China brought along a collection of his record breaking crazy creations, including the world’s fastest office desk, bed and ‘Gone to Speed’, an aptly titled potting shed on wheels. CarFest South is held in the extensive grounds of Laverstoke Park Farm. The farm is owned by ex-Formula 1 champion Jody Scheckter, who now spends him time farming organic buffalo, cattle and pigs, from which he makes a delicious selection of food, a range of which was available to savour at the event. The Laverstoke organic hog roast comes highly recommended from personal experience. To give the diverse range of vehicles tackling the hillclimb a sense of organisation they ran in blocks of seven, starting with founder Chris Evans and his jaw dropping collection of seven super rare Ferraris. Then further groups of sevens headed up the hill, including the ‘Le Mans seven’, the ‘Aston Martin Anniversary seven’ to name just a couple.
Rather than just watching the fascinating motors from a distance, Silverstone Auctions also offered visitors the chance to drive away in something spectacular. The variety of vehicles on offer included such rarities as the Ferrari liveried race support van used in the forthcoming film ‘Rush’, or Roger Daltrey’s old Mercedes-Benz 280 SL.
CarFest is squarely aimed at families so there was naturally plenty more going on around the site. Good food and good music play an integral part of the CarFest experience, and both were available in abundance. As well as Laverstoke’s own tasty produce there were plenty of other vendors offering their wares, and the highly popular ‘cakes versus pies’ competition. On all three evenings of the weekend stage came alive with performances from top artists including Texas, Keane, Jools Holland and Ocean Colour Scene.
Completing the family friendly line-up was the Big Top and Outdoor Play Area with various live events for kids, and the Showground featuring displays from monster trucks, JCB dancing diggers and some brave chaps on horseback doing a spot of jousting. Impressive aviation displays also took place at various points throughout the weekend in the skies above Laverstoke, including appearances from Chinook and Apache helicopters, the Red Arrows and acrobatic stunt planes.
After CarFest’s impressive first year it was always going to be a challenge for the team to pull off something even bigger and better the second time round but they’ve done a fantastic job of creating a truly family friendly car based event where all the family are genuinely happy to be there.
And of course, the best bit is that Children in Need will get a much needed boost of around £1 million from this year’s event.