Not just courses for horses Aintree Race Course

1st Edition Southport Classic and Speed…a resounding success!


Picture Credits: Haydn Lloyd Davies

A stunning array of over 240 cars from three centuries of motoring formed the impressive line up at the inaugural Southport Classic and Speed event, which took place in glorious sunshine on the resort’s 34-acre Victoria Park on Sunday 10th October. Crowds of around 10,000 across the day were estimated.

Celebrating Southport’s motor sporting heritage, star of the event was a rare 1903 French-built Gladiator, the type driven by 21-year old Miss Dorothy Levitt when she won her class in that year’s Speed Trials on the town’s promenade. At the forefront of the pioneering lady motorists of her time, she soon became known as “The Fastest Girl on Earth”.

In the Gladiator’s driving seat was Dorothy Levitt “lookalike” Hannah Gomersall, Southport born and teacher in a local primary school, dressed in full Edwardian-style costume as worn by Levitt and other lady motorists of the day. The Gladiator was kindly loaned for the Southport event by Harrogate-based Tim Snowden.

It is estimated that cars with a total value of £60million were on display, including the 7-litre 1914 Silver Ghost and 6.5 litre-1927 Bentley, winners at the Pebble Beach Concours, a 1903 Darracq, 1905 Albion, 1907 Paterson, 1909 Alldays and Onions, 1910 Straker Squire, plus Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Jaguar right through to Mustang, Lamborghini, Morgan and Subaru classics of the more recent and modern era. Preston and District Vintage Car Club’s 15-car display focussed on encouraging younger participants to become involved in vintage motoring.

“Judges’ Favourite” class awards were presented, Best in Show going to the magnificent 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost of Jim Clarke, one of several cars on display from The Clarke Collection.

Earliest car by date was a replica 1886 Benz and the oldest running car was an 1899 Hurtu, driven by Bernard Williamson, Tarleton-based past president of the Veteran Car Club, which led a grand parade through the town and along the promenade where cars were flagged away by the Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Clare Carragher.

Building on the success of this year’s event organisers have ambitious plans for 2022 to include a revival of sand racing and Speed Trials on the promenade.

“Southport Classic and Speed” is organised by Aintree Circuit Club and sponsored by Cataclean with support from Porsche Centre Preston in partnership with Sefton Council, Southport BID and Victoria Park Events. Local media partner: Sandgrounder Radio.

The full story of Dorothy Levitt; “Fast Lady” by Michael Barton will be published in 2022 by Butterfield Press, sponsors of the Dorothy Levitt / Gladiator display at Southport Classic and Speed.


Southport’s motor sporting heritage began with the Speed Trials in 1903 on the promenade, one of the world’s first organised competitive motor events.

Sir Henry Segrave’s Sunbeam Tiger “Ladybird” broke the world land speed record at 152mph on Ainsdale Beach, Southport in 1926.

First organised by The Southport Motor and British Beach Racing Club, sand racing took place throughout the 1920s and 1930s and again in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.


More information, contact:

John Bailie


”Judges’ Choice” award winners at Southport Classic and Speed 2021:

BEST IN SHOW - Jim Clarke - 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

BEST PRE 1918 David Fellows - 1901 Bertrand

BEST PRE WAR UP TO 1939 Mike Postle - 1931 Austin Seven

BEST POST WAR TO 1966 - Chris Walker - 1962 Aston Martin DB4

BEST 1966-90 - John Dickenson - 1968 Wolseley Hornet Mk 3

BEST POST 1990 - Martin Higgins - 2007 Subaru RB320

BEST E-TYPE - Jack Ashcroft - 1961 Jaguar E-type OBL Prototype

BEST BENTLEY - David Lawson - 1935 Derby

BEST ROLLS-ROYCE - Graeme Calvert - Thomson - 1996 Silver Spirit IV

Top ∧