Miscellany, April 2003

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I am not suggesting that if it had not been for Motor Sport there would never have been any motor racing broadcasting on TV, but it is amusing to remember how we were once asked to meet the head of the BBC Sports Department and the then-leading tennis commentator, as far as I remember, to be asked what different problems motor racing reporting might have from the great Wimbledon ball game. Mr Tee, who was then Motor Sport’s Proprietor, and I duly attended and tried to provide what advice we could. It was a long time ago and the BBC has since relinquished F1 to ITV.

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THE federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs continues to monitor UK and EU legislation and to lobby on behalf of owners of vehicles of all ages for freedom to use the roads. Those who nun the older vehicles who are not already members may wish for protection and such safeguards. The Secretary is P H J Whyman, Kernshill, Shute Street, Stogumber, Taunton, Somerset TA4 3TU.

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Nothing to do with cars, but you may like to know that that great enthusiast George Daniels, MBE, DSC, FSA, who owns Bentleys, including the Birkin blower single-seater, the 1908 Itala and many others, has assisted the Isle of Man Post Office to issue six special stamps depicting the story of time-keeping. For these you must apply to PO Box 10M, Douglas, IoM, IM99 1PB.

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Modernity: for the performances of Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a Bugatti has been substituted for the horse and carriage.

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The 35th Amilcar-Salmson International Rally takes place at Charlecote, Stratford-upon-Avon, from July 31 to August 1, when entries from abroad are expected to add to the delectable small French sportscars assembling there. Other cars of a similar kind, such as BNCs, Darmonts, Derbys, GNs, Hinstins, Lombards, Sénéchals and sports Renaults, would be welcome to join in. Details from: Mrs J Blake, Daisy Head Farm, Caulcott, Oxon.

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The VSCC’s Pomeroy Trophy is the club’s only event in which moderns compete with vintage cars. You will have your own opinion as to whether a TR3A is a touring car, or whether you would have toured more contentedly in a pre-WWI Prince Henry Vauxhall; but that is what A Ealand drove to win the Trophy at Silverstone. The other trophy winners were P Bullett (Frazer Nash), who was only 1.2 marks in arrears of the TR, and H Windsor-Price, whose Mercer Raceabout took the Edwardian prize. In spite of seven non-starters, 90 cars of all kinds had a stab at taking the famous trophy

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The present owner of the 1928 Amilcar CGSS reg no UC 53, which he has owned for the past seven years, would like to know its history before that.

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My thanks to all those readers and motor clubs, etc. who sent me cards and letters on my 90th birthday, and to Paul Fearnley and all the Motor Sport staff for their generous recognition of my old age!

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Dreoilin Publications of Tankardstown, Co Meath, have issued three more of their excellent little books: No 11 The Curragh Motor Races, 1947-1954 by Oliver McCrossan, No12 RJ Mecredy – The Father of Irish Motoring by Bob Montgomery, and No13 The Wicklow Motor Races – 1950 to 1957 by Joan Carvill. The presentation is good, the many pictures well worthy of what they portray, the price of each, £4.75, very modest.

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Dave Randle’s The True Story of Skoda (Sutton, ISBN 0 7509 5, £35) deals amusingly with the joke factor on this now-respected make, then commences with founders Skoda, Laurin and Klement, following this with the complete history of the bicycles, motorbikes, and the Laurin & Klement and Skoda cars, including racing, rally, and commercial vehicles, from 1839 to 2001. Both a fascinating story and a formidable reference work, this will go on my bookshelves alongside those of Bianchi and Voisin.

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My memory is not yet quite as eroded as a change to my copy in my TT article makes it appear! Leon Cushman’s Alvis finished next to Kaye Don’s victorious LeaF, not third as printed. And in my earlier Albert Divo piece, I wrote that the Talbot-Darracqs won the 1921 and 1922 JCC 200-Mile Race, not Fiats, which, as I noted, soon retired! The errors I do make are regrettable, but I like to correct them; when they’re made for me it is stressful!