The VSCC Pomerov Memorial Trophy



The VSCC Pomeroy Memorial Trophy

The “Pom” is an essential rite of Spring, though this year it took place on February 26, whilst winter was still holding its closing-down sale, with heavy rain on special offer whilst stocks lasted. The trophy, which is contested annually, comprises a model of a 1914 41/2-litre G P Vauxhall; it was presented to the VSCC in 1946 by Laurence Pomeroy in memory of his father, Vauxhall’s designer during the Edwardian period.

The competition consists of a series of large-scale autotests followed by a high-speed reliability trial during which competitors have to complete a number of laps of the 1.6-mile National circuit at Silverstone appropriate to their cars’ age and engine capacity. The alleged purpose of the event is to discover “The Ideal Touring Car” but, as Socrates discovered to his discomfort, ideals never seem to work so well in practice. The arcane formula upon which the results hang has, over the years, thrown up such arguably-touring cars as the 1914 T T Sunbeam (Jack Sears, 1954), the 1926 Bugatti 351 (Hugh Berge!, 1964) and the 1931 Alfa Romeo Monza (Rodney Felton, 1994) none of which could absorb more luggage than a toothbrush strapped to the gearlever, and each of which would have run off your Visa card limit for fuel on the first day of a tour. Thus one reaches the conclusion that the Pom’s real purpose is that seven-dozen VSCC members and their friends should have an interesting day playing with the sorts of car at which the club would get very sniffy in the other events it runs. In that purpose the Pom signally succeeds. In 1992 James Diffey startled the Vintage establishment by winning the Pom in an elegant Mk3 Cortina — surely as fine a touring car (apart from the ‘A’) as Ford has ever built? This year Diffey was unplaced in a Westfield, with Sam Stretton in another. Tony Bianchi tried manfully to stop the Farrelac-Allard skating off a streaming track, whilst half-a-dozen “C”, “D” and “E”-type Jaguars practised aquaplaning. Vanessa Finburgh’s “C” absorbed quite a lot of Miss Cohn’s 2-litre BMW into its rear bodywork — luckily after the former had been checked for luggage space. Trevor Tarring’s Napier was the only Edwardian entered, winning the eponymous trophy. Felton’s Alfa won the Pom Trophy, whilst four of the next seven slots were occupied by cars powered by Herr Fiedler’s 6-cylinder 197Icc engine as cribbed by Bristol from the 328 BMW. Many interesting cars found themselves at the tail end of the results list this year, not on account of their incompetence as tourers but because their minders had fouled up a vital test. Piers le Marchant’s 1936 Rolls-Bentley misnavigated some cones (in excellent company) and finished 65th. Mike Holt’s Ford ‘A’ was five laps short in its high-speed test. The Knill-Jones Rolls-Royce, Edwardian star of the recent “Le JOG”, and an ideal mount surely for the Grand Tour? was also short of laps. Speed has never been a Ghostly characteristic; as Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington in 1792: “Delay is preferable to error.” Burrell’s Bentley-Royce, which usually brooks no delay, was incommoded by damp electrics making its 12 cylinders fire only intermittently. Apart from those to whom something unfortunate had occurred, most participants had a good day; whether the world had edged any nearer to the discovery of the “Ideal Touring Car” remains, however, in some doubt. Perhaps that will be resolved next year? T 1 T Results:

Pomeroy Trophy: R Felton (Alfa Romeo). Densham Trophy: R W Upston (1929 “Chain-Gang” Frazer Nash). Pomeroy Edwardian Award : Trevor Tarring (1908 Napier). First Class Awards: S Roberts (1953 Frazer Nash). V Stafford (1957 AC). Second Class Awards: R Spiers (1936 4.3 Alvis), D Morris (1951 Frazer Nash). Third Class Awards: R Gammons (1965 MG). A Pugh (1939 Frazer Nash-BMW).