VSCC Pomeroy Trophy Competition

Silverstone—February 26th

The auguries were good for this year’s Pomeroy Trophy contest when February 26th turned out to be a bright sunny day, and in one of the streets of the built-up area which we formerly knew as the paddock at Silverstone we spotted the RAC Steward driving a car bearing the appropriate number POM 1.

At scrutineering the lack of a laminated screen excluded David Ryder-Richardson’s 1972 BMW 2002, and Chris Mann’s 1968 Alfa Romeo Type 33/2 was, rather surprisingly, guilty of the same sin. This car arrived late after breaking an oil pipe and stopping for a battery change on the way up from London, a component for which it has a voracious appetite. Tony Charnock was most disappointed to find that his 1949 Frazer Nash, despite its Le Mans background, was illegal for not having a proper bulkhead in from of the petrol tank. In real life David Ryder-Richardson drives a 1910 Adler, Chris Mann a 1924 RLTF Alfa Romeo and Tony Charnock a 1936 3 1/2 litre Bentley, all of which would almost certainly have passed the scrutineers, as did the vintage Bentleys, Bugattis and Alvises which were entered on the day, these makes constituting the vintage entry, plus one AC-engined Frazer Nash. Of the post-war cars, AC was the predominant make. The keen vintage Vauxhall faction within the VSCC was not competing, and Luton was represented by a lone Firenza—a wise choice as it turned out.

The first test was described by the organisers as a “steering test of a zigzag nature” extending over a 1-mile—a sort of weaving flying 4, here the best time of 20.51 sec. was put up by Bill Summers in his 1973 Dino 2400 Fiat, Bill himself saying that this short chassis car with a limited slip differential was idea for this sort of exersize—not hindered, one might add, by the Summers expertise. A highly commendable second was A.O. Shute’s 1974 Vauxhall Firenza with 20.87 sec., whilst others to approach these times were Dave Duffy, 1953 C-type Jaguar (21.75 sec.), V.P. Stafford, 1957 AC Ace/ Bristol (21.78 sec.), Stuart Bond, 1960 DB4GT Aston (21.27 sec.), Robin Rew, 1969 Reliant Scimitar GTE (21.51 sec.). A.D. Mitchell, 1974 Triumph Stag (21.74 sec.) and P.J. Garland, 1974 Morgan 8 (21.11 sec.). In the class for non-standard cars, P.D. Aldridge achieved 21.77 sec. in his modded 1973 Datsun 240Z. Hugh Bergel, who was born before front-wheel-brakes, put up an excellent 22.78 sec. in his 1926 Type 35T GP Bugatti, to beat the other vintage cars and most of the moderns. Mark Joseland spun in the 1963 Reliant Sabre Six which Robin Rew used to spin in former years, and Malcolm Elder’s 26,29 sec. headed the 1 1/2 litre vintage cars in his 1926 12/50 Alvis before a tappet got out of adjustment and the dynamo/magneto drive packed up.

The braking test was timed from a flying start and the cars had to stop astride a line about a couple of hundred yards away. It has been said that the best drivers fail this test as it proves they are trying, in which case the majority of the entrants this year were the best drivers. With honourable exceptions of D.O. Beaks and V.P. Stafford, the AC drivers proved constitutionally incapable of stopping in time. Stuart Bond in his Aston was one of the few who changed down as he approached the line and recorded 7.5 sec. Robin Rew was virtually the only driver who did not squeal his tyres, and was rewarded by unworn treads and a time of 7.7 sec. The star turn was by Garland (1974 Morgan +8) with 6.7 sec., whilst Shute in the Firenza did extremely well to tie for second place with David Bowles (1969 Ferrari 365GTC), taking 6.9 sec. Best time in the non-standard class was 7.0 sec. by Simon Phillips (1938 328 BMW) and Michael Dods (1960 Austin-Healey 3000), whilst Hugh Bergel was best vintage with 7.4 sec.

Channon in his 1964 AC Cobra was first in the standing and flying 1/4 acceleration tests with 14.12 sec. and 7.44 sec. respectively, whilst Joseland’s Reliant was best in the nonstandard class with 16.39 sec. and 9.04 sec. Hugh Conway (1928 Type 43 Bugatti) was best vintage with 17.00 sec. and 10.11 sec., but was thought to have bent a valve in the process and did not start in the subsequent high-speed trial.

There were three half-hour high-speed trials on the Club circuit, which some people treat as races and others are more restrained and concentrate on completing their scheduled laps at the minimum speed required. The racing part of the first trial was led at first by Stuart Bond until sparks from beneath his Aston Martin denoted his exhaust pipe was falling off, whereupon Dave Duffy led in his C-type Jaguar with Bob Fowler’s 1961 DB4GT Aston second. Derrick Edwards (1955 D-type Jaguar) suffered a slipping clutch, a malady which retired Gerald Bates 1955 AG 2000 Maserati, driven by Richard Bergel. This rather odd-looking car used to belong to Peter Daimler, descendant of Gottleib and Paul, and was successful in its youth at the historic Ecce Homo hill-climb, held outside Salzburg. J.A. Monro had the misfortune to come to a permanent halt in front of the pits, where he pulled off on to the grass, with a fault which turned out to be a blown fuse in the ignition system of his nice 1938 4 1/2 Bentley drophead coupe.

The second trial was the vintage and prewar one, led at first by Rusty Russ-Turner in his 1929 4 1/2-litre blower Bentley, until he got tired of wearing out his tyres unnecessarily, whereupon Simon Phillips in his 1938 328 BMW took over, followed at a respectful distance by Tony Bianchi in his 1931/8 3 1/2-litre-engined Silver Eagle Alvis Special. John Batt seized his newly rebuilt and very attractive 1936 LG45 Lagonda due, he said, to being too impatient to make sure it was properly run-in before the Pom. Victor Gauntlett retired his 1929 4 1/2-litre Bentley allegedly with bearing trouble, and was towed away from Silverstone afterwards by Rusty Russ-Turner’s blower car.

Channon’s Cobra led Garland’s Morgan in the last trial, the latter entertaining the onlookers with spectacular driving. The three Reliants of Joseland, Rew and Mather circulated mainly together, as had the Lancia Aurelias of Savage and Crowe in the first trial. Bill Summers lost the chance of a 1st class award by stopping to make momentary adjustments under the bonnet of his Dino Fiat.

When the formula was worked out incorporating capacity, age, length in inches between clutch pedal and rear axle etc, devised by the late Laurence Pomeroy Jnr. to find “the ideal touring car”, John Horton’s delectable 1928 Type 43 Bugatti was found to have won the Pomeroy Trophy. Hugh Bergel’s GP Bugatti would have won if it had had a hood, but then most people nowadays would consider a roof as being an essential piece of touring equipment. Simon Phillips’ 328 BMW won the nonstandard class, and few would quarrel with the 328 BMW’s capabilities for fast touring..P.H.

Pomeroy Memorial Trophy Cup: J. Horton (1928 Bugatti T43), S. Phillips (1933 BMW 328)
First Class: H.C. Bergel (1926 Bugatti 135T), B.M. Russ-Turner (1929 Bentley 4 1/2 s/c), E.M. Dean (1929 Bugatti T34A) and V.P. Stafford (1957 AC Ace! Bristol).
Second Class: I. Finlator (1928 Bugatti T43), W.H. Summers (1973 Fiat Dino 2400), A. Shute (1974 Vauxhall Firenza) and F.C.B. Smith (1929 Fraze Nash).
Third Class: R. Finch-Hatton (1937 BMW 328), D.J. Duffy (1953 Jaguar C), J. Savage (1953 Lancia Aurelia GT), F.J. Threlfall (1974 Ford Escort), C. Holloway (1936 Bentley 4 1/4) and C.R. Pack (1929/39 Riley 9/16 Special).

V-E-V Odds & Ends

The troubles in Ireland have not stemmed enthusiasm for old cars. Near Belfast a big pre-war Daimler, a locally-built vintage Chambers Six and a sleeve-valve Minerva are amongst those being restored. To commemorate General Motors’ 50 years in New Zealand, the colour front cover of the Dec./Jan. issue of Beaded Wheels, journal of the VCC of NZ, depicted a 1927 14/40 Vauxhall tourer with a modern Chevette. Inside, there happened to be a picture taken in 1952 of the 100,000th Series-E Vauxhall saloon in NZ with a 1926 Chevrolet tourer, while the magazine’s back cover showed that Champion advertisement of a Model-T Ford sedan leading a cavalcade of different Fords, a Model-A and a V8 following it closely. That there is much public interest in the older cars is evidenced by features in the Eastern Daily News which have recently dealt With C.M. Harvey’s 12/50 Alvis racer at the 1923 West-Harling Heath speed trials, a very rakish racing Itala in Norwich many years ago, with a brass-radiator Model-T Ford in the background, a Rolls-Royce towing a 1923 Eccles caravan in the 1964 road rally, and a long piece about the 1908 GP Itala which says that its one-time owner, John Pole, aged 32, lives in Suffolk. And Australia’s Daily Mirror had a page on Brooklands, last December.

Donald Healey, and Frank Ashby are out in Australia. Motoring sport owes much to the St. John Ambulance Organisation, so it is worth supporting the Surrey section’s Centenary and Silver Jubilee Steam and Vintage Vehicle Rally, at Wisley Airfield, on June 18th/19th. Details from : G.P. Ranger, 20, Mandeville Road, Shepperton, Middlesex. We are informed that Sealink Services may be able to assist rally organisers who are involved with taking old cars across the Channel. The person to contact is S.L. Masters, at the S & ISD offices at Victoria. It is expected that the loM Silver Jubilee Austin 7 Rally, starting on August 20th, will attract some 300 cars. It includes a 3-lap run round the TT course. Details from Katie Ball, Glen Cam, Ballasalla, IoM. Parts for a Tipo 514 Fiat which is being restored in Australia are sought. The car was found in 1974, literally cut in half, at a tobacco–drying plant. It is due to come to England, after the owner has sold his Willys 77. The Bass Museum will open in Burton-on-Trent next July and sounds just the place for a gathering of beer-drinking vintagents! Especially as it includes some early transport vehicles used by Bass and a Robey compound steam-engine, housed in a three storey building built in 1866. Details from M. Lovatt, at Bass Productions Ltd., Hugh Street, Burton-on-Trent, on mentioning Motor Sport.

VSCC at Brooklands

For the record we append the results of the VSCC Driving Tests held at Brooklands in February and omitted last month :—
First Class Awards: D. Edwards (Aston Martin), B. Harding (Frazer Nash), R. Adnams (Austin 7), M. Dods (AC Special), N. Garfitt Frazer Nash BMW), R.J. Burrell (Bentley) and C. Holloway (Bentley).
Second Class Awards: B. Clarke (Austin 7), N. Mason (Aston Martin), P. Gledhill (Austin 7), D Chester (Austin 7), T. Tarring (Frazer Nash), C.R. Pack (Riley Special) and H.G. Conway (Bugatti).
Third Class Awards: A. Guggus (Amilcar), A.D. Jones (Austin 7), J, Blake (Alvis) and M. Rainey (Alfa Romeo).