Flurry 'cross the Mersey

Cars raced through Liverpool’s Albert Dock watched by cheering crowds during a clever preview of the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power

Arriving at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool, you might be forgiven for thinking that the combined talents of both Anfield and Goodison Park had somehow managed to choose the same accommodation.

There they were, the preferred transport of ‘superstars’, parked outside the entrance. Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari Enzo and Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé. From inside came a great deal of noise from the bar. But this was nothing to do with football. This was the start of the Liverpool Pageant of Power.

Later in the day racing cars roared along the Mersey waterfront, a huge crowd waved and cheered, boys shinned up lamp posts for a better view, while the privileged watched from balconies high above the streets. The chosen few looked on from boats in the harbour.

The purpose of such an event was to promote the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, which will be staged on July 17-18 in the magnificent grounds of Cholmondeley Castle out in the Cheshire countryside. This was just a taster of bigger, better and noisier things to come. But for the Liverpudlians it was the real thing, their very own Pageant of Power set against the spectacular backdrop of the city’s Albert Dock, itself a World Heritage site and the showpiece of a recent regeneration scheme that has transformed the old docks.

Star of the show was Jersey man James Walker in his Superleague Formula car, sponsored by the city’s famous football club. Walker threw the red car around in an energetic series of racing starts and donuts. The fans loved it, forgetting a dismal season at Anfield and instead enjoying a blast of Superleague racing where they are the reigning champions. “Look, here comes the F1 car,” shouted a young lad, “it must be a Ferrari.”

No sooner had the tyre smoke blown away then out came Justin Law in his Silk Cut Jaguar, booting it away from the line and charging towards the iconic Liver Building in a wall of sound. A forest of mobile phones was held aloft as the big car rumbled past, a moment that may never be seen again on these streets. “I had to delete photos of my daughter,” laughed a man next to me, “but you don’t often see racing cars around these parts.”

And there was more to come. Bentleys of all shapes and vintages, racing bikes, rally cars and a mouth-watering selection of supercars such as any self-respecting Premiership footballer takes to the training ground each day. Not to mention racing powerboats in the harbour and wing-walkers in the sky above. Girls in blue Cholmondeley shirts mingled with the fans, hoping to persuade them to see it all again at the castle this summer. Judging by the reaction, there will be many who make the trip out of the city.

There is already talk of the Liverpool Pageant of Power becoming an event in its own right. Organisers were taken aback by the size of the crowd, estimated at around 25,000 souls. City bigwigs reckoned it was worth up to £1 million in revenue by the time the crowds had come, spent their money in bars, shops and restaurants, and returned happily home. It was a great day for the city, an inspired promotion for Cholmondeley – and perhaps a new stage for the sport.