The Heidelberg Great Train Race 2020

By Jaco Pitout

It was with great anticipation that I drove to the town of Heidelberg on Heritage Day, the 24th September, for what promised to be an event to be remembered.

Arriving at 08:00, the airfield was already a hive of activity with a group of para-motor pilots arriving under their brightly coloured canopies. I unfortunately arrived too late to capture their arrival, but gauging from the laughter and banter among the pilots, it must have been a memorable flight!

I walked onto the airside of the Heidelberg airfield that was exceptionally prepared, with mowed taxiways, demarcated parking areas for both cars and aircraft. It must also be said that the availability of marshals on the ground also added to the sense of attention to detail at the event.

I took up position next to the runway to capture some arrivals onto runway 06.

The Heidelberg Great Train Race pay tribute to a similar race held in 1930 where a Bentley Sportsman Coupe managed to beat France's famous Blue Train over a route of 750 km. In an unfortunate sign of the economic times,
the usual participating locomotive, a 1919 Class 12AR, affectionately named Susan, could not participate.

This, however, did not detract from the wide variety of classic and more modern cars on display. You can clearly see the tender love and care taken to have these vehicles prepared to showroom condition.

During the flying displays, the vehicles that were displayed at the airfield took a tour through the town of Heidelberg as part of a parade.

There were two flying displays flown during the day to the delight of those in attendance. The first was by the Goodyear Eagles. They are known for their high energy displays with particular attention to a number of opposing passes that leaves any crowd gasping for air!

The second display team that featured on the day was the ever-popular Puma Energy - Flying Lions. Watching a Flying Lions display is a multi-sensory experience, the smell
, sound and sight of these machines remains a crowd pleaser!

With the flying mostly complete, the majority
of the visiting aircraft departed to their respective home bases. I took position next to the road leading to the airfield as the parade of vehicles returned from their trip into town.

What a fantastic day out in the bright Spring sunshine! I look forward to attending this event again next year!

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