Some 5,000 racing fans lined the streets of Coatesville to watch the 7th Annual Coatesville Invitational Vintage Grand Prix. (Photo courtesy of Tom Silknitter)
COATESVILLE — This past weekend, the city hosted the 7th Annual Invitational Vintage Grand Prix, an exhibition of vintage motorcycles and automobiles.
Over 5,000 spectators came out on a sunny Saturday to see unique vintage race cars and motorcycles roar to life on a 2-mile road course that starts on Lincoln Highway. Each year the event has grown, with this year having 80 entrants.
One such entrant, Malvern resident Keegan McGregor, had been attending the event for years and this year entered his 1973 BMW 2002.
“This is my first time running the event. I’ve attended 3 times prior,” McGregor said after the event. “What attracted me was the opportunity to run my car on the unique road course. This is a cool event that’s in our backyard. It’s exciting to give the opportunity for people attending the event to get up close to the cars that are running and possibly inspire the next generation of gearheads.”
The event is family friendly one, in which the city blocks off a 2-mile road course through the heart of the city. With barriers set up and field marshal volunteers and police stationed throughout the course, safety is maintained for an enjoyable afternoon.
The event is not a race but an exhibition of vintage race cars and motorcycles with trophies for best in show. All the vehicles have to be vintage and are in several different classes. The classes range from 1900 open-wheel race cars and motorcycles to the 1983 model year.
The sum of the success of this event growing each year really harkens to the small-town nature of the event.
Downingtown resident Steve DeMarco entered a 1976 Kawasaki KZ400 after attending last year, “I went last year with friends and family and decided to get a vintage bike to enter this year. I like vintage bikes and cars, everybody was friendly and helpful. The spectators and everyone had a great time, but the most fun was the actual driving around the course. ”
According to organizers, the award for Best in Show – Vintage Automobile was presented to William Richter of Pitman, N.J. who drove a 1970 AMC AMX. Sam Wiggin and Heather Carroll Wiggin of New Boston, N.H., won the Best in Show – Vintage Motorcycle trophy driving their 1971 BMW R75 Sidecar. Sam Wiggin stood in for Brian Carroll, Heather’s father and the usual driver, who supported the team this year from the pit.
Show awards were presented by Duke Wilford, Chief Steward from Brandywine Motorsport Club, and Anthony Wilson from Jeff D’Ambrosio Auto Group.
Adjacent to the event, the 1st Annual Vintage Auto/Moto Show, sponsored by Brian Hoskins Ford featured a curated selection of classic cars and motorcycles. Show awards were presented by Ed and Clayton Kovatch of Brian Hoskins Ford to Best in Show Euro/Import Automobile: John R. Gailey, 1965 Iso Rivolta GT; Best in Show Motorcycle: John Bonick, 1948 Royal Enfield; and Best in Show Domestic Automobile: Mark & Pam Shane, 1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible.
“It’s exciting to welcome thousands of visitors to the City of Coatesville for the Grand Prix, an event unlike any other in the country,” said City Manager James Logan. “It provides a chance for families and motorsport enthusiasts to get an up-close look at amazing vintage vehicles, watch them in action, and even get to know the drivers.
A portion of the proceeds benefits Coatesville Parks and Recreation quality of life initiatives. This year’s Grand Prix lead sponsors included Coatesville Youth Initiative (made possible by Jennifer and Bob McNeil), Brian Hoskins Ford, Jeff D’Ambrosio Auto Group, Cedarville Engineering Group, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., and JGM USA.