Despite being organised by the Vintage Sports Car Club, the Pomeroy Trophy offers cars of all ages the opportunity of competing on (hopefully) level terms in a variety of tests of driving and mechanical ability.
Assembling at a chilly Silverstone on the first Saturday in March were cars ranging in age from Collings’ 1903 Mercedes to the Porsche 928S of D. Biggins, and in size from D. Woodward’s 6.3-litre Bentley to Mark Joseland’s 1500 c.c. Frazer Nash.
The first test was a slalom on the straight just before Woodcote which did not provide much in the way of surprises, except for C. Lees who managed to spin his BMW 320i. Good times were put up by Joseland’s Nash, and by the Bugattis of Marsh and Horton, the latter being the first to break the 20-second barrier with 19.91s in his T43. This time stood for several more runs until R. T. Joice improved on it in the Frazer Nash Le Mans, and he was in turn bettered by, ironically enough, a BMW — the 2002 piloted by I. J. Dutton. Before long, Spollon’s Bentley had regained the honours for the pre-war cars, but was topped by a Porsche 944 with R. S. Kettel at the wheel, which was in turn beaten by another Bentley, Bentall’s Mk. VI Special. Overall honours on uncorrected time, however, went indisputably to Robin Rew, whose bright yellow turbocharged AC3000ME knocked over half a second off the rest of the field.
From here, contestants queued at Woodcote for the second test which was on the start / finish straight. This involved crossing one line at any chosen speed and bringing the vehicle to a halt with its front wheels in a box some 70 yards further on, all in the minimum time. Some elected to go for the highest possible speed and lock the wheels into the box, and some took it very steadily, aiming to halt the front wheels just inside. H. H. Kenshole was over careful and stopped his AC Ace short of the line, whereas the XK120 of D. Bowles sailed right through with tyre-smoke billowing behind it. For a moment it koked as though Spollon would do the same, but the Bentley did stop in time, albeit sideways. Quite why Styles’ Porsche 911SC purred through the box at undiminished speed was not clear, but P. Donnelly got it just right in an Aston Martin DB5. The power of A. G. Moore’s Ferrari 365 was its undoing, as after a blistering start, he was unable to stop in time and released clouds of unpleasant-smelling rubber smoke. Two drivers were equal fastest here, Joice in the ‘Nash and P. Channon (AC Cobra 4.7), but on handicap it was Mann’s Alfa GTV6 heating the BMW 2002 of Dutton.
After a short break, the cars assembled for a standing followed by a flying quarter-mile, this time running anti-clockwise from Woodcote to Becketts. The bitter wind was keeping many onlookers in their cars, but in compensation the wonderful blend of noise from such a range of engines drifted across the circuit as the drivers warmed up for this test of acceleration. Despite the careful handicapping there were some surprises here, such as the very rapid times of the 143 Bugattis (Roberts and Horton), while Joke again made a good showing, as did Rodney Felton with the Alfa 8C. The times began to tumble with the modern cars, but nevertheless Bentall’s Bentley Special was second fastest over the standing quarter, and it was Channon’s 1964 Cobra which was fastest by a handsome margin on both sections, chased by Wills’ Ferrari and Rew’s AC3000ME.
During the lunch-break, the results team were busy with their new computer system, which enabled intermediate positions to be calculated very quickly before the High Speed Trial. This was run in two heats, the object being to achieve a pre-determined number of laps within a fixed period. Of course this was not a race, but there were some interesting tussles going into the various corners. Barker and Scott both seemed determined to occupy she same piece of tarmac coming wide out of Woodcote, but some very precise navigation afforded a compromise. Two of the Bugattis were running with hoods up, while at one point could he seen the unusual spectacle of a Mk. IV Cortina, a Lancia Aurelia, and a 60 h.p. Mercedes squabbling over the best line out of Woodcote. Great brio was being shown by Dutton in the BMW, but although he put up one more lap than required, he gave away ten points by stopping briefly in the pits. Only two cars fell short of their distance — Barker’s Talbot 105, which was displaying an obvious front-axle vibration, and the ‘Nash Tarp Florio of J. Warden which pulled in to the pits and did not restart.
The second heat must be one of the few motor sport events to have been started behind a Mini as Pace-Car, and by the second familiarisation lap, Felton’s Alfa and Daniels’ Bentley 4½-litre were itching to let loose. When they did, it was Felton who sprinted ahead, but T. Needham’s Lotus 7 soon passed him. Consistently noisiest was the Scimitar of R. D. King, which squealed round every bend, heeling over alarmingly. J. P. Brydon demonstrated what opposite lock meant in the Speed 20 Alvis, and Ealand seemed to be enioying himself in the other Alvis, an SP25 Special. Visibly faster than the rest of the field, Channon put in 33 laps with the Cobra, but did not gain anything by it — merely full marks for achieving his intended 31.
Because of the new system, provisional results were available on the day, and these declared Joice to be the winner of the Pomeroy Memorial Trophy, Collings taking the Edwardian section, with Mark Joseland carrying off the Densham Trophy. — G.C.