Festival brings the romance and glamour of motoring to St Helier

The Island’s third Concours d’Elegance will take place on Saturday 1 June

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“THERE is,” says Joe Castellino, “something both earthy and glamorous about mechanical engineering – the coming together of form, function, design and ingenuity, with a combustion process creating a unique sound – which fills the owners of classic, vintage and supercars with a buzz, affection and pride.”

And, as motoring festivals around the world continue to attract high numbers of participants and spectators, it is clear that the glamour and romance associated with such vehicles is not felt solely by their owners.

“Automotive events are very much in fashion,” added Joe, one of the founders of Le Riche Automobiles Restorers. “Goodwood Festival of Speed is now one of the UK’s leading recreational events, while Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, which takes place on the shores of Lake Como each year, is one of the most elegant, attracting both high-profile celebrities and the finest vintage and classic cars in the world.”

Joe and fellow Le Riche Automobiles co-founder Ian Le Riche launched the Island’s first ever Concours d’Elegance in 2022, and the event returns for the third time next month, with the support of experienced event organiser Ian Barnes.

Taking place on Saturday 1 June, the event has been planned in conjunction with principal sponsors Hepburns Insurance and Steve Salmon, who organises the Jersey International Motoring Festival, which also runs that weekend.

“We are thrilled that this year’s event will take place on a Saturday, which we hope will enable more people to come along and enjoy the spectacle. It will be staged in The Lower Park alongside Victoria Avenue, which allows us to showcase not only the beautiful vehicles taking part but also the Island’s stunning natural beauty,” added Joe.

“As the concours attracts an increasingly international participation, it provides a wonderful opportunity to introduce the Island’s beauty and the quality of its restaurants, hotels and amenities to an audience of classic car clubs and owners who are always looking for new venues to showcase their cars.”

Indeed, this year’s international line-up includes participants from America, Europe, the UK and Jersey, with the US-resident winner of last year’s Best In Show trophy among those returning for the 2024 event.

“He was so impressed by the Island and the quality of the event that he is returning with a different car – a Triumph TR5 – this year,” said Joe.

This Triumph will line up alongside Ferraris, Jaguars, Porsches, Bentleys and expertly preserved and restored vehicles representing equally prized, but less salubrious, brands such as Ford and MG.

The event has a bit of theatre about it, as each car, or motorcycle, drives along a causeway, while Joe explains some of its key characteristics and points of interest.

“This allows the audience to see each vehicle in motion and to hear, for example, the V12 engine of a Ferrari as it is revved up,” added Joe. “The cars then come up onto a rostrum where they are judged and awarded their final points.

“People can look forward to seeing an eclectic mix of vehicles. Expect everything from the finest modern Ferraris to some of the most delicate and elegant vintage cars, as well as some exceptional motorcycles.”

While spectators are most interested in the presentation of each vehicle, the owners are keen to impress and win one of those coveted trophies – and this year there will be an extra significance to one of the awards.

“There is some sadness this year, as we remember John Boothman, an automotive expert who chaired our judging panel for the first two years,” said Joe. “His expertise, together with the colour and texture he brought to the concours, will be greatly missed, but we are pleased to honour him with a trophy named after him.”

In another new development this year, all of the trophies will be presented at a gala dinner and prize-giving taking place at Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa on the Saturday evening.

The Concours d’Elegance is free to attend and all Islanders are invited to join this motoring celebration on 1 June. The organisers would also like to thank sponsors Hepburns, Liberation Group, ROK, Alexforbes Offshore and Veuve Cliquot.

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