NEXT month thousands of people across the region are expected to descend on the usually tranquil surrounds of Cholmondeley Castle, which will be transformed into a haven for lovers of all things fast and powerful. It’s Pageant time again – and it’s going to be bigger than ever. Rob Bellis reports.

Accelerating down the final straight, it really does feel like my stomach has lodged itself somewhere near my throat.

I thank my driver, Bentley project engineer Ash Mason, and step out of the beautiful cockpit of the Continental Supersports – the most powerful road car the marque has ever produced.

Bentley was one of the founding sponsors of the Pageant of Power in Cholmondeley and this year returns with a range of historic race cars.

The ride in the Continental had been my second high-speed tour around the track.

Earlier I had been a passenger in the incredible new XKR-S, the quickest Jaguar ever, capable of more than 185 mph.

We are in the grounds of  Cholmondeley Castle, surrounded by some of the most important cars in history.

The Pageant of Power has become a hugely popular annual occasion which last year drew 50,000 people to the region.

According to event director James Hall, even more are expected at this year’s festival, bringing in an estimated £5 million into the local economy.

“There are 150 cars on the track – and that doesn’t include the rally cars – as well as 2,000 from the car clubs. What makes the Pageant of Power different is that it is a celebration of land, sea and air and we’ll have the world speed record boat Bluebird here as well as seven classes of power boats and, of course, some incredible air displays.”

There will be a fantastic array of vehicles on show as well as some incredible displays and activities. Visitors can explore trade and catering stands, with the popular fireworks concert and military tattoo taking place on the evening of Saturday, July 16.

During the weekend, the British Army and Royal Air Force (RAF) will come together to amaze Pageant crowds with the country’s only public demonstration of military combat power.

Royal Navy Lieutenant Dave White and his colleague, Squadron Leader Sharon Males, both based at Shawbury, will be among the armed forces contingent wowing the crowds.

Lt White said: “We’ll be doing demonstrations of hovering and activities on the lines of the British Helicopter championships.

“The other event is a search and rescue display over the mere.”

The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power takes place at the Cholmondeley Estate, on the north Shropshire border, from July 15-17. Booking details and further information can be found at and or by calling the ticket hotline on 01829 772432.