The VSCC Pomeroy Trophy

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This year’s Pomeroy Memorial Trophy was held under dry but occasionally grey skies, around the Silverstone Club circuit, with the traditional organisation of the Vintage Sports Car Club. A spirited performance from Hugh Conway and his 1928 Bugatti 43 secured the “Pom” in appropriately elegant style. First class awards were taken by H.C. Bergel’s 1926 Bugatti 35T, M. Hilton’s magnificent Ferrari 275GTB of 1964, W.J. Roberts in a 1948 Frazer Nash High Speed and the 1950 Mille Miglia Frazer Nash model of W.H. Summers. The 1929 Frazer Nash Super Sports of F.C.B. Smith completed the hat-trick of first class awards recorded by 1,991-c.c. Frazer Nashes, albeit of very different eras.

That W.B.’s initials should be appended to a report of the Pomeroy Trophy seems as much of a tradition as the event itself. This year Motor Sport’s traditions had to be broken, but this made little difference to the courteous welcome and free supply of information for a strange face.

Because the “Pom” is one of the 12 races held on Saturday at Silverstone through the season, and without a charge made for the use of the circuit, following the BRDC’s policv of encouraging racing at the amateur grass roots, there is little publicity or attempt to encourage spectators. It is an event for those who are involved with the competition, or the competitors. This makes it very easy for the visitor to get out and see exactly what is going on within this unique series of steering, braking, acceleration and racing tests.

The proven equalising formula of the VSCC ensures the widest variety of vehicles on the same race track, though some feel that there are now too many modern marques competing. This year’s event featured 76 entries, and 49 of those cars were manufactured after World War II.

As explained to the author over the years, the object was to encourage the truly outstanding large touring car, with all that is best in steering, accelerative and braking abilities. By and large the competitors conform to this pattern, though the writer’s personal opinion was that the rare Deep Sanderson (Cup Award winner and the fastest at 13.28s over the quarter-mile) was out of character. I could find no other modern mid-engine racing two-seater coupe in the entry: it worried me that owners of GT40s, Lola T70Bs, and the track version of Ginetta 12S and Lotus 47 or 62 models could appear, creating a hazard that could mean the end of the event. For example, the modern mid-engine car arriving in the midst of vehicles like the C.P. March 1922 Morris Oxford and the 1923 Pilkington Voisin C3 which were being enjoyably and slowly by comparison) conducted at the back of the first half-hour speed trial. Also a surprise to the author was the spectacle of a 1929 Austin Heavy 12/4 driven by Mr. S. Danaher in a Bellstar full face helmet; an interesting precaution in a car capable of the second slowest quarter mile acceleration time of the day: the Pilkington Voisin finally took the slowest quarter-mile with a time of 28.46s. Mike Barker’s 1955 Jaguar D-type was the only other car, aside from the Deep Sanderson, to record under 15 sec. for the quarter-mile. managing 14.35 sec.

The initial braking tests—in which the competitor virtually decides what speed he will stop from to accurately straddle a line between front and back wheels—was notable for a pair of SP250 Daimler sports cars that both overshot the line with locked-up wheels, in contrast the 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GTs of W.B. Fowler and M.H. Morris showed accurate and undramatic braking powers. Neat and tidy braking performances also came from G. Daniels’ 1930 Bentley, I.H. Titterington in the shining 1939 i.f.s. Alvis Speed 25, S. Denner’s 1965 Healey 3000. A.D Mitchell’s blue 1974 Stag (a 3rd class award winner) and, from the same year, the Datsun 260Z 2+2 of R.W. Potter and the Escort RS2000 of R.J. Threlfall. Neat stops from the MG-B V8 GT.s of P.J. Morgan and A.S. Cottam showed that the largest MG engine hasn’t affected “Safety Fast”, and equally impressive was C.J. Lawrence’s Chrysler V8 engined Monica 560 of 5.6-litres. W.A. Liddell demonstrated that his long-tail 6 1/2-litre Bentley was as accurate and neat as a 1976 model, rather than the 50 years earlier period at which it was dated. H. Harben’s 4 1/2-litre 1930 Bentley, I. Woolstenholme’s 1936 Alvis Speed 25, W. Sellers’ blue Citroen 1937 with tatty hood, C.R. Pack in the recently constructed Riley 9/16 hybrid (based on vehicles from 1929/39) were also undramatic stoppers, in the company of W. Thompson’s 4.6-litre Bentley special, and P.I.A. Evans’ yellow TR-engined Morgan +4SS of 1965.

In the first half-hour trial, which got off to a dusty start after two pace laps, behind a Volvo Estate, the front runners were J. Bailey (1936 Bentley Special), Bergel’s Bugatti and S. Phillips in his quiet 1938 BMW 328.

The second half-hour blind was dominated by the Deep Sanderson, but it looked for a time as if the beautifully driven R.W. Potter Datsun 260Z might catch the silver M.G. Dawson Ford Capri RS3100, which was conducted with a flair that is rarely seen by one driving his own road-registered transport.

The third half-hour was by far the best in individual dices and the sheer attraction of varied machinery. Hilton’s 275GTB (reg. 100 DLP) headed the fading pursuit of the Monica V8 and the soon-to-he amongst the leaders Jaguar D-type of R. Cooper. Such diverse equipment as Morgan V8s fighting the similarly-powered MG-B GTs and the effectively driven Reliant Scimitar coupe V6 of R. Rew. also enlivened the proceedings.

An interesting day. which deserves every assistance to perpetuate the memory of the Pomeroys, two great and original thinkers. J.W.