With the continuing uncertainty over the future of Brooklands, the words “Prohibited Area” hung heavily over the 17th Annual Reunion in July. Most of the activity centred on the post-war runway in the middle of the complex, with access being denied, during building operations at least, to any of the Members Banking, Clubhouse area, or Finishing Straight. Some of the Byfleet Banking was however available for demonstration runs, albeit in the wrong direction, allowing the braver drivers, and the faster cars, to create at least an impression of the excitement which was once commonplace here.
A blazing summer’s day tempted a large crowd to the old circuit, and spectators’ cars were soon lined up six deep along part of the runway — the other section being reserved for the Timed Sprint. This was the first timed event at Brooklands since 1939, and would thus produce the first official additions to the record books since the War.
First, though, were the Banking runs in which cars were sent off two at a time, having aligned themselves with suitable “rivals” beforehand. Most were content to hug the flatter part, but some, like Dudley Gahagan in his ERA, and Rivers Fletcher’s TT-style Alvin with the writer as passenger, held as close to the top as the short run-up would allow. Also impressive were Easdale’s lovely 1932 Alfa 1750 and the 6CM Maserati of A. G. Elmgren, sporting its Swedish Air Force crest.
Amongst those cars which actually raced at Brooklands, sadly in the minority, were Stafford East’s 1922 GN “Kim”, the ex-Whitney Straight K3 MG Magnette, Allison Moores’ 1930 Talbot 90 Brooklands and two TT Lea-Francis two-seaters brought by Tom Delaney.
After a halt for lunch, attention shifted to the Sprint course, where an open-topped bus from Cobham Bus Museum provided the time keepers with an elevated view of the two lanes. First to cross the timing beam was one of the two-wheeled contingent, Graham Brown on his 500 cc 1927 Douglas Brooklands Special, it being 60 years since his first visit to the Track. Then it was on to the cars, pairings again being unofficial and producing duels between Lagonda and Railton, Le Mans Aston Martin and Bugatti T40, and between the ex-Barker 1908 Napier and a 1922 2-seater Peugeot from Australia (the older car beating the younger by 23.50s to 31.36s).
Strict timetabling saw everything wound up very promptly, but as the crowd began to leave by the Oyster Lane gate through the gap in the banking, the feeling that remained was that while it was a well-organised and enjoyable Vintage meeting, it might as well have been held at many another venue. — G.C.
FTD and Class 1: A. G. Sparrowhawk, 1937 Alvis, 15.67s.
Class 2: D. Gahagan, 1936 ERA 16.29s
Class 3: L. J. Stretton, 1923/29 Frazer Nash, 18.07s
Class 4: J. M. A. Edmondson, 1932/35 MG, 17.73s