Bournemouth’s third high energy Wheels Festival has come to a close, after attracting an estimated 410,000 people over three action-packed days, featuring monster action on the resort’s golden sands.
The biggest of its kind in the UK, the event enjoyed sunny spells and mild temperatures across three days of non-stop displays and demonstrations. Highlights included British racing driver Tom Chilton and TV stunt star Paul Swift on the Demo Straight, monster trucks in the Coastal BID Arena with the addition of Aussie daredevil, the Kangaroo Kid, and a Wheels debut for the BXUK Championships – a beach cross motorcycle and quad bike race series featuring international competitors.
Speaking after completing his brand new display, a car chase sequence based on classic movie, The Italian Job, Paul said: “It’s fantastic to be back in Bournemouth again. Wheels is a great family event. The Italian Job shows have gone really well and it’s been great to do something so different from last year – who knows what we’ll come up with next.”
Saturday and Sunday saw a brand new pop-up arena show on the Demo Straight as the Two Brothers Stunt Team took to their motorcycles performing a series of athletic manoeuvres on the back of moving bikes.
Ashley Mark, part of the Two Brothers Team and a newcomer to Bournemouth Wheels Festival, said: “It was absolutely fantastic – we loved it. Wheels was everything we thought it would be and more. There was a really good crowd and everyone got behind us. Our show has evolved now that we’ve got drift bikes. They come at the end of the display so it’s a great finale.”
As well as crowd-pleasing stunt shows, the clifftop Demo Straight gave scores of experienced drivers and riders the chance to stretch their legs, working their way through the gears and navigating chicanes at speed. Heading up the historic F1 cars was female racing driver dubbed the “Surrey Speed Queen”, Lorina McLaughlin who, along with her ex-Michael Schumacher Benetton B192, has been a major part of the festival since its inception. At the front of the supercar pack – a parade of vehicles worth over £16 million – was British racing legend, Tom Chilton in his Nissan Skyline GTR. A shining star in his field, Tom was also on hand to chat to fans in the supercar display marquee at the Waterfront in Pier Approach.
Meanwhile, in the Coastal BID Arena, hundreds of families were entertained by monster trucks Big Pete, Grim Reaper, Slingshot and Swamp Thing as they raced side-by-side, bouncing and rolling over scrap cars. There were also combined shows with the Kangaroo Kid, Matt Coulter, as he tackled death-defying jumps over the sand.
Councillor Lawrence Williams, portfolio holder for tourism, said: “It has been wonderful to see so many families – both from the local area and further afield – enjoying the wide range of shows and activities on offer. From classic cars and bicycles to monster trucks and million-pound dream machines, the variety is part of what makes this festival so special. On a personal level, I particularly enjoyed the quad bikes – I saw them rolling over in the sand on Sunday morning.”
Mark Smith, director of tourism, added: “We would like to thank all of our sponsors for their support and, in particular, our main festival partner, Bournemouth Coastal BID. We are also grateful to the council for its continued enthusiasm for these major festivals. Such large-scale events bring millions of pounds to the local economy and raise the profile of the resort in line with our vision to become an ‘eventful’ world class destination. There are very few places that manage to combine the appeal of a magnificent bay with such a vast programme of attractions and high quality entertainment.”
For more information, visit bournemouthwheels.co.uk