Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Bournemouth Wheels Festival

During the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May I took in the joys of the very first  Bournemouth Wheels Festival.  If you like cars, bicycles, motorbikes, anything with wheels this is the festival for you.  There were Supercars, vintage cars, Monster trucks, Bears on Bikes and a night ride for bicycles covered in lights and reflectors.

There was so much to see including a couple of plastics spotting gems.

I am sure that I have mentioned F1 cars in this blog before, as a life long fan it is difficult to avoid, especially as it is such a excellent illustration of the use of carbon fibre composites.

Carbon fibre composites were first introduced to the paddock in 1981, and offer a material which is 10 times stronger than steel and yet much lighter. This reduction is weight and yet still maintaining the strength allows the teams to build very safe, fast cars. The video below shows an interesting piece by Red Bull Racing about how to build an F1 car.

I have been to a race and testing at Silverstone, I have stood in the garage next to a running F1 car but nothing really prepares you for the sight of these amazing cars on the street in what is generally known as quite a sleepy, seaside town in glorious sunshine. Especially when they include Michael Schumacher's Benetton, the car in which he won his first Grand Prix race in Belgium 1992, here driven by Lorina McLaughlin.

How do you top F1 cars? With the classic Sinclair C5 of course.  It was a completely unexpected treat to see one of these environmentally conscious electric and pedal powered vehicles in the flesh.  

This little beauty, made of ICI supplied polypropylene injection moulded by LinPac, with a top speed of 30 mph was launched in January 1985. Unfortunately, with its low profile, fears of safety in traffic meant that the C5 was restricted to 15 mph making it feel very slow and eventually leading to its downfall as a desirable vehicle for British city streets.  However, it seems to be gathering popularity in Holland, the Dutch having wide, flat, cycle friendly and therefore C5 friendly roads.

If this year is anything to go by and you like cars you can't go wrong by getting yourselves down to Bournemouth next May for this spectacular event.

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

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