04.05.09: Car Dealer's police escort

Time 13 years ago

Click the picture for a gallery of amazing pictures

Click the picture for a gallery of amazing pictures

EVER wondered what a police escort feels like? Well, Car Dealer has found it – in a fleet of supercars!

Car Dealer commercial manager Duncan Chappell got the chance to join 50 supercars drive from London to Silverstone on Friday.

Here’s his account of the amazing day… complete with police bike escort out of the capital:

WOULD I like to be a passenger in a Ferrari 360 Spider from Leatherhead to The RAC Club in Pall Mall, then join a procession of 50 supercars in a Bentley Continental GT through the west end of London on a journey to Silverstone Race Circuit for some track time?

As questions goes, this one was a pretty easy one to answer with just two words: YES and WHEN.

This is the fourth annual London-to-Silverstone Supercar Rally, organised by the Royal Automobile Club. It’s a ‘grand day out’ for the car enthusiasts belonging to the members club, and the participants are without a doubt all there for one reason – fun!

There is however, a very important passenger in the lead car, the stunning Tourist Trophy which is to be delivered safe and sound to Silverstone Circuit.

My day started very early, leaving Gosport at 5am to reach the home of our kind host for the day Jim Monks in Leatherhead, Surrey.

We were due to meet six of his friends and in this quiet suburban cul-de-sac, there must have been close to £1m worth of metal: five Ferraris, one Aston Martin and a Bentley. Not a bad sight to wake you up in the morning!

I jumped into the open-topped cabin of the 360 with Jim, as we led the cars on a slow and careful route to London. We picked up another one of Jim’s friends’ in his beautiful white R8 en route and pressed on, in a neat line, to the city centre.

Onlookers’ bemusement is accompanied by a smile as we carve through the congested streets, it’s a very strange feeling to be admired and respected by so many strangers, just because of the car you are in.

We regroup just short of Pall Mall, and the scenery becomes very fitting for the eight cars we are in, maybe more of an everyday sight in these parts – but what about 50 of them? As we arrive at the RAC it is a breathtaking sight to see so many precious and truly supercars all in one area.

We are waved through to park up, and immediately I’m overcome by the urge to jump out and look at the stunning array of machinery on display.

There are too many to list, so I will give you the highlights: Pagani Zonda, Mosler, Lambourgini, Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley and Maserati are all represented.

After a well-needed breakfast at the RAC, we are given a brief and to the point talk by our leader for the ‘out-of-London’ leg – the Metropolitan Police!

In all we will be accompanied by 12 Police bikes plus a 4×4 as our ‘back up’ car. It is all very lighthearted and there is an undoubted mutual respect between club members and the Police.

I have to say that the Metropolitan Police did a fantastic job at keeping the 50 cars together and at a good pace through the busy Bank Holiday traffic and sightseers – I have never seen so many mobile phones, and cameras held aloft as people tried to get a picture.

The journey through London under police escort was one of the best experiences I have had. The sheer number of supercars, the noise, the crowds and luckily the weather! Seeing police bikes shoot past us at close to 90mph to make sure the path ahead was clear was an experience in itself. To you boys in blue – I salute you!

We dropped the police escort at Towcester Racecourse for a coffee break and a brief from the instructors from Silverstone.

The promise of a ‘quick pace’ round the track was welcomed by the drivers, and excitement grew even more. Half an hour later and we arrive at the famous circuit and formed three lines of exotica on the entrance to the circuit.

Group by group we are led onto the track by the instructors, and proceeded with a torrent of noise through the first three corners before hitting the straight.

I was the passenger of Dave Timmis, of Really Good Domains, in his glorious Bentley Continental GT.

With our mirrors full of Harry Metcalf – of Evo fame – in his Zonda, and close on the tail of (yet another) Ferrari F430, we are kept our promise of a ‘quick pace’ and continue for three or so laps.

After lunch at the Brooklands hospitality suite and some perfect views of the FIA GT practice I learn I’ve got a special ride home – a Ferrari 599 GTB.

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In perfect red, the machine really is a beautiful piece of design. We head out of Silverstone for the last leg of our journey – home. The traffic is heavy, and I succumb to the fact that it doesn’t matter what car you are in, traffic is traffic, all the same.

But what a day… Thanks to Jim Monks, Dave Timmis and Malcom Rae for the ride home!



James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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