The Flywheel Festival, held this year over the weekend of June 23/24, is an event which combines cars, aeroplanes and motorcycles, and although it has tagged itself as a ‘show’ it’s by no means a static event; cars and motorcycles are demonstrated on the figure-of-eight circuit, while aeroplanes fill the skies overhead. Plus there’s also tanks and a vintage fairground too.
The location is the Bicester Heritage site in Oxfordshire, a fascinating complex, home to 35 motoring restoration businesses, ranging from magneto refurbishment to upholstery, and pretty much everything else (including fabrication and marque specialists) in between. There’s also two historic vehicle restoration schemes running there as well. So as a setting, it can’t really be bettered.
The actual Bicester site is fascinating in its own right too, with the earliest parts of construction dating to 1916 with the arrival of a Royal Flying Corps soon afterwards. From 1918, and for two years, it was used for military flying.
There was another big change in the early 1920s (many buildings date to this 1923 remodelling) with more development coming as the years passed; military operations finally ceased in 1976, though the RAF used it as a glider training facility.
RAF Bicester finally closed in 2004 and it re-emerged as ‘Bicester Heritage’ in 2013. The Flywheel Festival started in 2015.
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