Parades des Pilotes 2004

Back from Le Mans. Back from the Drivers Parade aka the ‘Parades des Pilotes’ . Ooooooooh yes! What a fantastic experience. On Friday, having parked the car in the exhibitors area at the Classic British Welcome in St Saturnin for a few hours, we assembled for the trip to Le Mans city centre & set off through a number of villages accompanied by motorcycle outriders from the Harley Davidson club, who zoomed ahead & blocked off side roads & roundabouts to ensure our passage was uninterrupted by the hoipolloi. This was ridiculously cool & almost certainly the closest I will get to feeling like the President of the United States! In many of the villages, the children were lining the road waving Union Jack flags & cheering which was real lump-in-your-throat stuff, making everyone feel very special. After weaving through a few cordoned off side-streets to get into the centre of the city, the Marcos cavalcade parked up with other cars to feature in the Parades des Pilotes & waited until it was our turn. As it turned out, there was plenty of time for a group photo!

One of the bikers also took a shine to my (admittedly very buxom) girlfriend who was very amused to while away the time posing for photos astride his Harley. I’m not sure what Mrs Biker said when he got home though… Tsk!

In true French fashion, we set off a couple of hours later than scheduled, about 2000 hours. It was still sunny but about four hours into the parade & the crowd, who had by now been ‘celebrating’ since lunch, were baying for wheel spins/general mucking about by the cars in the parade. The Gendarmes accompanying the parade cars through the streets of Le Mans made it quite clear that this would be frowned on however! An Entente Cordiale was reached, whereby on the odd occasion that someone’s foot slipped off the clutch resulting in inadvertent hard acceleration & loss of grip by the tyres, there would be some severe finger wagging (possibly accompanied by Gallic frowning), after which the driver would exercise better control over their pedal feet for the next few minutes. At various points along the route, there would be an extremely excited commentator keeping the crowd engaged, & they would pounce on one of the drivers to ask them questions about their car. I escaped interrogation!


After participating in the Parade des Pilotes the race itself was always going to be something of an anticlimax, although both myself & t’other half enjoyed sun, beer & company. No idea who came first, second or third… erm, so let’s just say that this weekend everyone was a winner! Even my exhaust cracking on the way back up from Le Mans failed to put a damper on things (‘cos it made me sound like a Corvette ). Indeed, I have just got back from Tube Torque in Macclesfield who fabricated the current stainless system & who fixed the weld in question, er, without question! 

What a great weekend… 

First Tatton Park show of the year

Just back from a very successful car show at Tatton Park today. Eight of the ten Marcos expected made it, meeting at a new location (closer to the show venue) the car park of the White Swan in Bucklow Hill. While this was more convenient for everyone than the old meet location, what I hadn’t banked on first thing on a Sunday morning was some geezer & his mate turning up in a tricked up Eurobox (Punto?), straight from two days of clubbing, spaced out of his mind & everyone’s best friend! However drugged up he was he (a) didn’t offer to share any and (b) twigged that the cars were something special. After offering one of our group £250,000 for his yellow supercharged Mantis (a reasonable offer but his credit did not look good!) him & his mate decided they would scrounge a lift in a Marcos each, into the show! When we got there they eventually realised they had a good mile plus walk back to their own vehicle, but at least they had fun! No way they should be driving like that though…

The weather was great & with Marcos owners travelling to the show from as far away as Hull, Essex and Bath, I was quite relieved! The show organisers have given us a new spot at the end of the first main row of clubs, & we were able to park the cars in a nice crescent. This also allowed the public to see us from three sides, which was nice.


The yellow supercharged Mantis with its huge racing wing got most of the attention, followed by one of the Tatton regulars, a red LM500 from Todmorton, with it’s shy, retiring owner (yeah right!). For the first time the show organisers had created awards for the Marcos marque, with two categories; early (Mantula) & late (LM500) models – quite flattering & I guess this must mean they take us seriously now! I am quite chuffed by this as I have built up the attendance from a couple of cars to double figures (following on the from the years of good work from young Mr Knott!) To top it all we even got a mention in the July Classic & Sportscar on p164


Not to be outdone (reference to the adjacent TVR stand), Marcos Owners’ Club alongside included a wild, Quad Cam Mantis

Although obviously I’m a bit upset about the fact that mine was parked right next to the yellow supercharged one & didn’t get a mention! Plus the club was CMI not the MOC – how can you miss those 20ft banners?!

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