VSCC hillclimb season wraps at Loton Park

by Paul Lawrence on 13th September 2016

While the focus of historic motor sport was rightly on the Goodwood Revival over the weekend, the Vintage Sports-Car Club wrapped up another hugely successful hillclimb season at Loton Park.

With close to 200 entries the final of the VSCC’s annual programme of hillclimbs, which also takes in Prescott, Wiscombe Park, Shelsley Walsh and Harewood, was another runaway hit.

The idyllic Loton Park, in use since the early 1960s, is perfect for hillclimbs with a challenging course in the grounds of the deer park and a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Nestled in gently rolling hills within a stone’s throw of the Welsh border, Loton does not have the history of Shelsley or the garden party atmosphere of Prescott, but it is notably longer than both and offers a tremendous test for the drivers.

Austin 7s, Rileys, MGs and Lagondas packed out the entry, while the wonderful one-offs were well represented by gems like the 10-litre 1914-vintage Fafnir of Guy Lachlan, the Grannie of Gary Clare and the GN Piglet shared energetically by husband and wife Dougal and Liz Cawley.

At the top end of the field were the over 3-litre racing cars from the pre-war era and it was from here that Tom Walker topped and tailed his VSCC hillclimb season in the wonderful 11-litre Hispano aero-engined Amilcar, taking pre-war FTD to add to his season-opening victory from Wiscombe Park in May.

Among his class rivals, and delivering a typical tyre-smoking spectacle for the fans, was the 24-litre Napier Bentley of Chris Williams. Julian Grimwade ran Walker close in the Frazer Nash Norris Special, while Nick Leston was at his intrepid best in the 1929 Lovell Elkhart Sprint Racer, raced on US dirt tracks in period.

Overall fastest time of the day at the Shropshire venue went to Phoebe Rolt’s Formula Junior Elva 200, from a class for up to 1100cc racing cars built before 1961. It is commonly the VSCC’s only nod to post-war sport; understandable given such demand for entries from pre-war machinery.

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