Sunday, 2 July 2017

Bicester Heritage - Flywheel Festival 2017

At the moment, due to being a bit busy, I'm running a week behind with my posts.  I blame my recent bout of heat-stroke, as it wiped me out for a day or two, so I'm hoping to finally catch up with events on this post.

But of course, we still have to start with last weekend.  Thanks to an invitation to join vintage-inspired friends, I enjoyed my first visit to the Bicester Flywheel Festival.  Still a relatively new event (only in its fifth year, I think) it has been on my vintage-things-to-do for a little while - these days I find myself preferring my vintage events to be centred around something specific rather than just wandering around a busy town - a la the Haworth's 1940's weekend.  I certainly like a bit of high-octane fuel to rev me up and get me going - I'm a simple old hot-rod girl at heart, I think

We were rewarded with a trouble-free and largely congestion-free drive, which meant an arrival before the gates opened at 9.00am at the Bicester Heritage site - itself a remarkably well-preserved snapshot of buildings from the 1920s, 30, and 40s.  It looked fabulous, even in the low cloud.  I'd pondered over my vintage outfit for some time for this event, and although there was promise of some very hot sun later in the day, I knew it would be colder start to the day.  In the end I left my stockings and vintage dresses in the wardrobe and donned a 1930s-style top paired with flowing trousers instead.  On climbing from the car I wondered if it was a wise choice - there was a whipping and very cool wind that blew unhindered around the flat countryside, particularly across the old airfield site, finding unique ways to slice up my trouser legs, right into the gusset of my little panties.

Just before 9.00am the gates opened, and a good-sized crowd flowed through the turnstiles.  Overhead, World War 1 bi-planes were already coming in to land on the short grass landing strip, and I was looking forward to them taking to the skies en masse later in the day.  Inside the main gate a wonderful display of vintage and sports cars were already lined up, chrome glowing the early light, and a lovely large organ - that is a mechanical musical organ, and those at the back stop sniggering - welcomed us into the festival.

I spotted a large marquee of stalls and wandered in - OK, I don't really need a reason to look at vintage clothes, but it did get me out of that strong wind for a while.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival, Bicester 2017.
I had a good look around the assembled stalls, finding a fantastic milliner, from whom I ordered a lovely vintage-styled hat.  With a warming cup of tea in hand I wandered over to have a quick look at the cars - the display would eventually double in size, but some of the cars had already caught my eye.  A stunning Jaguar, its feline curves moulding the morning light around it, looked stunning and graceful, and managed to look huge next to the tiny silver Ginetta parked next to it.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Jaguar, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Jaguar, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Ginetta, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
It was hard to decide which one I preferred - I would have loved to have been taken for ride in either of them... not that the miniscule Ginetta would have left much room for, er, the other kind of riding....  I've never really enjoyed too many in-car athletic sex sessions - well, not since being disturbed a few years ago.  I was being driven home by an ex-boyfriend after a late night out, and we stopped at a little lay-by at the side of the road to indulge in some sexual shenanigans.  I was in the front passenger seat, leaning over the lap of my beau, taking his throbbing piston into my mouth while he slipped his fingers into my hot-oiled flange, and we were fully into the qualifying lap when a gentle tapping on the window interrupted us.  It was a somewhat amused policeman who suggested, in a very gentlemanly way, that we take our passions home.  At least we weren't travelling in that Ginetta - I'd have had to have been bent over the bonnet instead, and my immodesty would have been rather more exposed...

Anyway, (sorry for digressing), at least the sun was finally breaking through the low cloud - and that would no doubt help the air displays later on.  I rejoined the rest of the group to look around the remainder of the stalls and at the assembled cars that would take to the small track later on.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Although the event didn't feature car races, a few did take to a figure-of-eight track, and as they warmed up the sounds and smells were wonderful - as the commentator said, there's nothing like the smell of gasoline and oil first thing in the morning!

We stayed to watch a few set off from the start line in a roar of mechanical rage, thin tyres squealing as they struggled for grip.  Nowhere near as quick as modern machinery, but I know what I'd rather watch - well, I'd prefer the cars to be driven by gorgeous ladies in lingerie and high heels, but I suppose you can't have it all.  I strolled past the track area and down onto the grassed airfield section where the planes waited patiently for their turn in the sun.

A truly stunning Douglas DC3 (as I was told) took centre stage - an iconic aircraft that first appeared in the 1930s and many are still operational in various countries around the world.  Remarkable - and wearing its age better than Dorian Grey.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Douglas DC3, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Douglas DC3, Flywheel Festival 2017.
With the rest of the group catching me up, we watched some of the old motorcycles take to the track in front of the DC3.  They certainly looked a handful, despite their relatively low speeds.  The fabulous and original conning tower made a superb vintage backdrop as the motorcycles leaned around the tight corners.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Action of another kind was now also happening - some of the vintage planes were now taking to the skies, clearly battling the high wind that was blowing above ground level.  At least the clouds had largely cleared, and I was thankful that I'd left my stockings and suspenders at home as the sun now baked the airfield.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
I've been lucky enough, in my visits to various vintage events, to have seen many planes - I still recall the first time I saw the Battle Of Britain Memorial Flight at Goodwood Revival many years ago - the beautiful Spitfire and Hurricane flying alongside the ground-shaking Lancaster bomber, and the Vulcan that set off car alarms at Cholmondely Castle a few years later, but these little planes were quite something else.  Wonderfully slow, low-flying and easy to see, they looked divine against the painted sky.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
There were more cars and military vehicles to wander around near the airstrip area, and again the lack of huge crowds meant you could get close up to the wonderful machinery.


Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Nearby, back on the track, more vintage cars sped around the tarmac, a steam-powered car puffing around rather precariously, and later vintage models blasting around with a bit more speed, noise and drama.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
The skies were suddenly full of another noise, as a screaming Spitfire and Messerschmitt BF109 roared past.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Spitfire and Messerschmitt, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Spitfire and Messerschmitt, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Spitfire and Messerschmitt, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Bitter enemies in their day, but thankfully somewhat friendlier now and wonderful to behold as they ripped through the skies, caressing the clouds before landing at the airfield - they, too, would fly again later in the day.

More cars took to the track, and it was lovely to watch them in action - more noise, more entertainment, more thrills.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
It was time for lunch.  I'd had the foresight to pack a substantial picnic hamper and we headed back to the car to dig out a blanket and sit down in the hot sun to enjoy the food and drink, surrounded by the lovely sports cars from yesteryear.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Afterwards, while the gentlemen in the group drank bottles of beer and talked enthusiastically about carburettors in the same my girlfriends and I talk about shoes, I had another wander around the now-increased car display.  A blue Ferrari Dino (one of the few Ferraris that I actually like) caught my eye - pretty and delicately-styled, it still looked small in proportion to today's huge cars.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Dino, Flywheel Festival 2017.
Back over in the 'pit' area more cars were lining up to take to the track again.  Screaming race engines were given a last minute tune-up, the low-down rumble as a V8-powered Ford Mustang trundled past, the mixed scents of oil, leather and hot engines mingling in a heady cocktail - wonderful.  Like the scent of a pair of sexy lady's worn panties, it's sadly something that no-one has turned into a perfume.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
We made sure we had a good spot for the day's main event, though - no less than nine vintage WWI planes in a mock dogfight over the small aerodrome.  It was spectacular to see, as they weaved through the wind in a ballet-like display.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
One by one they gathered in the bright sky, before flying in very close formation.  As they approached the airfield on one flypast they suddenly split formation, reforming in small aerial battle re-enactments just above the watching crowd.

Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
Dexi Delite Altrincham and Manchester Escort - Flywheel Festival 2017.
It was a pretty fantastic display, and a suitably wonderful ending to the day's entertainment.  Bicester Heritage's Flywheel Festival may not be the biggest of its kind, but it is certainly quite unique and superb.





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