Gold Cup versus Aintree

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Bosses of major historic events set out plans for expansion in North West

Two events look set to vie for the title of 'Goodwood of the North'. Major historic racing celebrations at Oulton Park and Aintree are giving fans in the North-West of England the chance to see famous names and cars in action at two venues which are barely 30 miles apart.

Jonathan Palmer, the new owner of Oulton Park, believes that the character and picturesque setting of his Cheshire parkland track makes it ideal for a major historic racing festival. Currently, the Gold Cup in late August is an HSCC meeting with several notable series added, but Palmer has major plans to further develop the event.

Meanwhile, the promoters of the Festival of Motorsport at Aintree hope to expand their event over a five-year period with the express aim of returning period racing to the Liverpool venue. The first running of it will be in November and the promoters are aiming for a crowd of 30,000 over three days to see cars demonstrated over sections of the former British Grand Prix track.

Palmer believes that the Gold Cup could mirror the success of the Goodwood Revival: "There is an opportunity for evolving the Gold Cup into a very special festival of historic motor racing for the North. Oulton Park is a beautiful circuit, and we at Motorsport Vision are determined to enhance that. It is a very challenging track and it particularly suits historic cars."

Gary Millar of CCUK, the company promoting the Aintree event, has clear goals for his festival: "It is a long-term project and we've got great ambitions for the event. I can envisage two Revival-type meetings at Aintree each year and the return of racing for cars of the period is very much part of that plan."

But Millar was swift to distance the Aintree festival from any rivalry with Goodwood, which currently holds the most popular motorsport events in Britain after the grand prix: "Ours is a celebration of Aintree and we're not competing with any other historic events."

Millar plans to shift the date of the 2005 festival to stand a better chance of good weather. He favours either May, June or early autumn.

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Fact file: British GP winners at Aintree

1955: Stirling Moss (Mercedes)
1957: Moss/Tony Brooks (Vanwall)
1959: Jack Brabham (Cooper)
1961: Wolfgang von Trips (Ferrari)
1962: Jim Clark (lotus)