Wheels festival off the mark on seafront
An array of vehicles of all shapes and sizes have rolled up on the seafront in Great Yarmouth.
The Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival showcases thousands of classic and contemporary cars, with 15,000 motorbikes expected to join the procession today as part of the Great Yarmouth Motorcycle Takeover.
Tomorrow, the Centre 81 Classic Car and Bike Run and Show will see vehicles embark on a 60 mile ride from Cromer to the seafront.
Cars taking part in Centre 81’s show will be judged on various categories including Best in Show, Oldies but Goodies and the I’m Exhausted Award.
Wartime engines will also be showcased as part of the festival’s ethos of educating and inspiring young people.
Engine enthusiasts from Historic Aero Engines will be demonstrating two vintage engines: a Rolls-Royce Merlin and a Bristol Hercules.
The Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk500 engine was originally fitted to an Avro Lancaster bomber that saw service in the Second World War.
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In 1945, the engine was fitted to an Avro York transport aeroplane and, in 1950, fitted to a bomber for the Spanish Air Force. It was returned to the UK in the 1970s and used in a research facility for some years before current owner David Irwin acquired it in 2007. He completed an eight-year restoration programme in 2015.
The Bristol Hercules Mk216 engine was fitted to a Handley Page Hastings, C Mk2. This engine was recovered from a museum in Yorkshire were it had been left untouched on display for many years. Patrick Smart and Peter Irving rebuilt the engine as a ground-running example.
Other festival attractions include bespoke hotrods from the National Street Rod Association (NSRA), a selection of modified cars from Modified Nationals, displays from the East Coast Pirates Car Club, Autobahn Stormers Club, Norfolk BMW Car Club, and the Norfolk Mini Club, as well as a dealer’s village showcasing new-registration models.
The festival is free and will be centred around Britannia Pier, Anchor Gardens and the Sea Life Centre Gardens, starting at 10am today and tomorrow.
The event is sponsored by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area and Joyland.
Barry Coleman, chairman of the council’s economic development committee, said: “Historic Aero Engines participated for the first time last year and their demonstrations were hugely popular, really adding something special to the atmosphere of the wider festival, which is about boosting visitor numbers, spend and the economy.”
Central Marine Parade, between the junctions with St Peter’s Road and North Drive, will be closed to traffic between 7am and 10pm on the Saturday and until 7pm on the Sunday, with a signed diversion in place.
The taxi and coach stops along North Drive will not be affected.
Motorcyclists will be routed onto Marine Parade via St Peter’s Road and roads to the south.
The car parks at Anchor Gardens, Marina Centre North and South, and Jetty North, plus the closed roadway of central Marine Parade including the landau lane, will be designated parking zones for the motorcyclists and Wheels exhibitors, who will be guided by traffic marshals. Access will be maintained for pedestrians and emergency vehicles.