GOLD Cup day at Oulton Park on Monday is as important as it ever was to the racing calendar, but for a Mid Cheshire couple there is a special significance.
Vin Malkie and Helen Bashford-Malkie are owners of the Chevron marque and the Chevron cars are more closely associated with the Gold Cup than perhaps any others.
It is Chevron's 40th anniversary and Helen, who is also chairman of the British Women Racing Drivers' Association, aims to compete in the event.
Chevrons, once famously made at Bolton, are now built by hand to order at the Malkies' Antrobus base, where they also turn out parts and are producing the first road car under the name.
The race of historic cars allows fans to reminisce and for Helen it will turn the clock back 30 years.
'The Gold Cup is the reason I got into racing in the first place,' she explained.
'I was 17 and had not long passed my test when I went to Oulton for the Gold Cup.
'Davina Gallica, a good British driver in her day and a champion skier, stopped in front of me and got out of the car. Until that moment I didn't even realise women could race and from that
moment that was what I wanted to do.
'I went home and told my parents and they were aghast. I did not come from a car background.
'I went to the Jim Russell Racing School for a lesson and that was when I also met Vin.
'A few months later he said I should drive his car rather than pay for the lessons. It was a Chevron B1 and he'd got a new Clubman. But it was a bag of bits and the engine oil kept dropping out before I'd gone 100 yards. At one stage I actually made it to the track, but no further.
'So I switched to Formula Fords, which was so big there were heats and finals. I never won a race, but I always made it to the finals.
'I had a terrible car, a MacNamara I found out when everyone was driving Merlins.
'What I did not realise was that it had belonged to Nicky Lauda. I even painted it pink and called it The Pink Pig. Some time later, when I opened his biography, there was the car.
'I did F2000 and F3, but I never had any money and could not make the step to Formula 2, so I switched to sports cars, attracted by the idea of competing at Le Mans.
'But when the championship stopped it was hard to switch back again and I went into historics, the FIA World Thoroughbred Car Championships, cars that Lauda, Mansell and Hunt had driven.
'It went well. I had a few podium finishes and won a few awards, and then ran out of money again.
'By 1997 I had been in debt for more than 20 years to fund my racing and decided it was time to work my way out of it. I decided I'd only race if I was asked or paid to. No-one asked and no-one paid.
'Vin worked at Chevron and he bought the B1 design and we were also connected. We had a service and repair garage at Manchester for Chevrons and we'd race at weekends.
'The company liquidated in 1981 and in 2000 we managed to pick up the logo.'
Helen will race a Chevron B1 at Oulton Park, fitting the event into a congested schedule. The Malkies are this week off to Monterey, California, for the US celebrations of the Chevron's 40th anniversary. The car is big in the States.
'The Chevron is a popular car and we even have three of four of the company's original employees working for us. It is going to be a great day,' she added.