Rolls-Royce Merlin engines on display at Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival

The Merlin engines which will be on display. Photo: Historic Aero Engines

The Merlin engines which will be on display. Photo: Historic Aero Engines - Credit: Archant

There will be a rare chance to hear the roar of wartime aeroplane at a festival celebrating engineering.

The Merlin engines which will be on display. Photo: Historic Aero Engines

The Merlin engines which will be on display. Photo: Historic Aero Engines - Credit: Archant

As part of the Great Yarmouth Wheels Festival engine enthusiasts will be demonstrating their vintage Rolls-Royce Merlin engines from a special enclosure on Britannia Plaza.

David Irwin and Peter Grieve, of Historic Aero Engines, are aiming to support the festival's ethos by educating and inspiring young people about engineering,

Mr Irwin said: 'We own the engines privately but share an interest with a small group of other engine enthusiasts who each own WWII engines. We display them on a non-profit basis at larger public events with an engineering or aeronautical focus, and we are really looking forward to attending the Wheels Festival.

'Our motives are various, but for me it includes an aspect of personal remembrance of the WW2 generation, interest in British engineering excellence, the historical significance of the iconic Merlin, and educating and encouraging younger spectators to have an interest in engineering.

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'Between runs, the engine enclosure is opened to the public who can enter and discuss the engines with us.'

Mr Irwin's engine was manufactured in 1943 in Derby, was originally fitted to an Avro Lancaster bomber that saw service in the Second World War.

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In 1945, the engine was fitted to an Avro York transport aeroplane and, in 1950, fitted to a bomber for the Spanish Air Force.

It was returned to the UK in the 1970s and used in a research facility for some years before David acquired it in 2007. He completed an eight-year restoration programme in 2015.

Mr Grieve's engine, manufactured at Hillington in 1941, originally propelled a Bristol Beaufighter IIF night fighter aeroplane, which operated during the war as part of the Fighter Interception Unit in West Sussex.

The aeroplane crashed near the airfield during a radar test flight.

The engines remained buried in the ground until 1978 when they were both recovered, and the engine was rebuilt in 2000.

Organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the Wheels Festival Committee, the free festival on Saturday and Sunday is taking place from 10am to 5pm on both days, will see scores of prestige, classic and novelty cars delight families along the seafront.

Motorbike takeover

On Saturday, up to 5,000 motorcyclists will visit the seafront as part of the festival, arriving between 10am and noon. The borough council has worked closely with the organisers of this authorised visit and police, to put together a plan to ensure it happens in a safe and co-ordinated way which reduces the impact on other road users, while still capturing the huge economic benefits that thousands of extra visitors bring.

Central Marine Parade, between the junctions with St Peter's Road and Trafalgar Road, will be closed to traffic between 7am and 10pm on Saturday, with a clear signed diversion in place. There will be no direct vehicular access to Marine Parade from Lancaster Road or York Road.

Marina Centre South car park and the closed roadway of central Marine Parade will be designated parking zones for the motorcyclists, who will be guided by traffic marshals. Marina Centre users are asked to use the Marina Centre North car park.

Access along the whole length of Marine Parade will be maintained for pedestrians and emergency vehicles. In addition, the entire landau lane will remain open for cyclists and horses and carriages.

Then on Sunday, the Classic Car and Bike Run and Show will take place between Cromer and Great Yarmouth, in aid of Centre 81, which will see around 75 vehicles arriving at Marine Parade for the festival from around noon, followed by judging.

Pushing Ahead cycling event

There will be 'go-ride' skills and games sessions, bicycle health checks and maintenance workshops, and an adventure course with bikes provided. Local colleges will be bringing their engineered smoothie-making bikes and blade bikes.

Meanwhile, people will have the chance to ride some really wacky bikes, courtesy of Doc Spinoff and his Tricky Tricycles.

Visitors to the Pushing Ahead zone will have the opportunity to sign up to the free cycle loan scheme, giving residents the opportunity to try a bike for free, as well as getting information about personal journey plans, pick up a copy of the 2nd edition Great Yarmouth cycle map, and much more.

Other festival attractions

Bespoke hotrods from the National Street Rod Association (NSRA), special vehicles from the East Coast Pirates Car Club, Lotus Carltons and other big Vauxhall Opel makes from the Autobahn Stormers Club, a host of pedal-powered fun and cycling confidence-building activities, and the chance to ride a 1959 vintage Spratts coach.

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