Event: Manchester Peak District Drive

I am now the feature writer for supercardriver.com . This report can be viewed in a magazine format, by clicking here.

10 hours, 187 miles, Β£400 for charity and 1 very memorable day.

It was an early start, but this meet promised to be a good one, unlike the weather which was indecisive between showers and sunshine at 6am. I set off from West Yorkshire and headed to Sheffield, collecting a friend on the way and stopping for some fatty badness breakfast at the local fast food restaurant.

Sheffield Supercar Sunday is organised by Adam and Richard from Supercardriver.com and feedback from previous meets promised a great day out with a variety of wild and wonderful cars. Adam had sent me an invite and I’ve been thoroughly looking forward to it. For this drive we started out from Sheffield, through Glossop and arriving at Manchester and stopping at various points for photo opportunities or to collect another bunch of car enthusiasts on the way.

We arrived at the Sheffield meet point at 7.30am and a nice selection of cars had already arrived including an Aston Martin, BMW M5, M3, Corvette, Lotus Elise, Merc SLK, Caterham and 997 Turbo to name a few. Then a Ferrari F355 Spyder turned up and not one, but two 2010 Nissan Skyline GTRs. A Lotus Elise pulled up next to one of them initially, a visual scene reminiscent of the story ‘David and Golliath’. One by one more cars arrived until we departed at 8am, heading over ‘Snake Pass’ into Glossop.

And they're off....

And they're off....

The drive along Snake Pass is lovely. Beautiful countryside with a long winding road through the centre of the dales, taking you into Glossop via a few small villages, random ambling sheep and some great twists and straights. All drivers enjoyed the experience, some of the more powerful machines ducking and diving traffic when the opportunity arose.

2At one point, there was a slowdown caused by a Land Rover who was leisurely driving along. He must have seen the long line of brightly coloured livery in his mirror as he pulled over at one point to let us all past. Thank you to that man. πŸ™‚

5We pulled up at Lady Bower lake along the way for a photo opportunity and a Ferrari 550 joined our convoy of around 20 cars. Back on the road at the next straight each car slowed before accelerating hard along the road for a short time. My little Cayman tried its best and I was pleased with the performance, until I noticed the SLK glued to my bumper. “That Merc is a bit quick” says I to my passenger. “It wants to be, its a 5 litre AMG”. Ah. Jestful comments will surely be made of my performance at the next meet point and I wasn’t disappointed. πŸ˜†

Next stop, Tesco’s in Glossop and here we meet a whole new bunch of cars. Noble M12s, F355s, 360s and F430s (including Challenge Stradale models), a Lamborghini Gallardo, Audi RS4’s and many others. All cars of varying combinations of loud, mad, rare and colourful surely made for a great sight for passers by.

As we departed for Manchester, an impromptu automotive form of willy waving ensued as the engines were started. From the Corvette positively barking its authority like claps of thunder, to the Tubi F355 whaling like a screaming banshee and everything in between, it was a piston head’s audible delight!

Supercars

Supercars

Onward now to Manchester via a few more twisties and a short motorway dash to meet the rest of the team, before a drive through the town centre. As the convoy exits the motorway we are caught by some traffic lights. A van man pulls up next to us. With a big grin he asks “What’s all this then, ‘2 Fast, 2 Furious’ or something?!”. We laugh in agreement and he added “Your car looks lovely!” as the lights turn green.

At this point, getting lost became a regular occurrence and confusingly we’d often see super cars heading in all directions at junctions trying to find their way onto the correct road. “Are they lost, or are we?” became the question of the day. At a set of lights, we pulled up next to one of the Nissan GTRs for a quick chat on directions. “Are we racing then?” jokes the driver. “Go on then, next green” says I, “Just to next lights” a few hundred yards ahead. The lights change (AMBER I might add!! πŸ˜‰ ) and the GTR is off under a crescendo of noise. I feel rather stupid. My mate looks at me as we sheepishly set off “So… you weren’t ready then?”.

Finally we arrive at the War Museum in Manchester and meet the final herd of our precession. Around 60 super cars are now gathered together and its a real sight to behold with so many different models and colours, not a single car looked the same as another one. After coffee and conversation we head off around a predetermined route through the city centre. A route which was unexpectedly thwart with roadworks, making for even more comedy lostness.

More supercars

More supercars

As we all queued heading towards a roundabout, the roadworks brought us all to a standstill. Other motorists ambled past us in the outside lane, all occupants with huge smiles on their faces as they drove past some of the fastest most desirable cars in the world. A rare sight to see one Ferrari on the road, even rarer to see a Noble or a Lambo. To see 50 or so all lined up in a row was a great visual scene.

Silver Ferrari F430 and Grey F550

Silver Ferrari F430 and Grey F550

As we get through the roadworks, cars go off in all directions. Eventually, most cars gather together on the same road and the driver of the silver Ferrari F430 is in familiar territory so agrees to take the lead. With cars ditched in bus stops and filter lanes waiting for everyone else to catchup, amazingly the rest of the population don’t seem phased by this. Normally one would expect horns to be blaring and expletives to be shouted out of open windows. But not today, I suspect a collective respectful understanding was in the air and the people of Manchester allowed us a minor chaos whilst we sorted ourselves out.

By now I was 3rd from the front and the group frequently got divided by the traffic lights. A Challenge Stradale was somewhere near the rear of the group and you knew they were on their way again as the echo of the engine under acceleration filled the air from several streets away. We were parked in a lay by near a large pedestrian square and the Silver F430 commanded attention from absolutely everyone. Public smiles grew and grew as more exotica came around the corner. The red Ferrari’s, the yellow Corvette and the almost luminous green 911 GT bringing up the rear.

After traveling around the streets of Manchester we regrouped at the War Museum once again before heading of shortly afterwards.

For me, this is the pinnacle of motoring as a car enthusiast. Such a rare bunch of cars gathered together usually only occurs at car shows. Yet the inherent flaw at a ‘show’ is that all this fantastic automotive machinery is static. Having a convoy of like-minded, level headed enthusiasts driving together actively yet responsibly, enjoying the sights of new roads and towns is what it should be about.

Challenge Ferrari

Challenge Ferrari

As a youngster, and even now, to see several million pounds of the most desirable cars in the world all passing by in my town would bring an uncontrollable grin to my face, and would be a lengthy talking point in the pub that evening. I think that the collective achieved this in Manchester yesterday and I for one felt very privileged to be just a small part of such an amazing group.

BMW M3 and Lambo

BMW M3 and Lambo

And what of the owners of these great cars? Far from being elitist, everyone was approachable and relaxed – just ‘normal’. Friendly, regular guys and gals with a like-minded passion for cars, all expressed in various automotive shapes and sizes. From the sophistication of the blue Aston Martin to the hardcore of the orange Westfield, everyone expressed their hobby in a different way – and that’s what made this meet such a special one.

After a great day out, we headed home, once again over the snake pass – the group now disbanded. The swan song of the day was the AMG Merc – behind me on the first leg of the journey and arrived in my rear view mirror once again as we arrived into Sheffield, shortly before going our separate ways a few minutes later and signaling the close of what was a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Β£400 was raised for the Museum charity by the group as a thank you for allowing us to use their car park.

A huge thank you goes to Richard and Adam for arranging our motley crew in such an organised fashion.

A few name checks and thanks to a few of the many people who I spoke to during the day…

  • Merc AMG for being a good sport. Are you getting that F430 next then after your passengaer ride?! πŸ˜‰
  • The guy in the 911 Turbo who used to have the Cayman – nice car dude!
  • The guy at Sheffield in the Aston Martin, just for having such a cool car.
  • ‘Brute’ for having by far the most awesome sounding car in the history of the world.
  • The Silver F430 for being such an uncontrollable head turning, traffic stopping car – and changing my previously held opinion that a Red Ferrari is the only Ferrari to have!

Here’s to the next meet. Personally, I can’t wait! πŸ™‚

TVR

TVR

June 2010