Brooklands reunion

Browse pages
Current page

1

Current page

2

Current page

3

Current page

4

Current page

5

Current page

6

Current page

7

Current page

8

Current page

9

Current page

10

Current page

11

Current page

12

Current page

13

Current page

14

Current page

15

Current page

16

Current page

17

Current page

18

Current page

19

Current page

20

Current page

21

Current page

22

Current page

23

Current page

24

Current page

25

Current page

26

Current page

27

Current page

28

Current page

29

Current page

30

Current page

31

Current page

32

Current page

33

Current page

34

Current page

35

Current page

36

Current page

37

Current page

38

Current page

39

Current page

40

Current page

41

Current page

42

Current page

43

Current page

44

Current page

45

Current page

46

Current page

47

Current page

48

Current page

49

Current page

50

Current page

51

Current page

52

Current page

53

Current page

54

Current page

55

Current page

56

Current page

57

Current page

58

Current page

59

Current page

60

Current page

61

Current page

62

Current page

63

Current page

64

Current page

65

Current page

66

Current page

67

Current page

68

Current page

69

Current page

70

Current page

71

Current page

72

Current page

73

Current page

74

Current page

75

Current page

76

Current page

77

Current page

78

Current page

79

Current page

80

Current page

81

Current page

82

Current page

83

Current page

84

Current page

85

Current page

86

Current page

87

Current page

88

Current page

89

Current page

90

Current page

91

Current page

92

Current page

93

Current page

94

Current page

95

Current page

96

Current page

97

Current page

98

Current page

99

Current page

100

Current page

101

Current page

102

Current page

103

Current page

104

Current page

105

Current page

106

Current page

107

Current page

108

Current page

109

Current page

110

Current page

111

Current page

112

Current page

113

Current page

114

Current page

115

Current page

116

Current page

117

Current page

118

Current page

119

Current page

120

Current page

121

Current page

122

Current page

123

Current page

124

The Brooklands Society held its annual Reunion in torrid heat on June 18. The theme of the day was the last racing season at the Track, so I wore a 1939 members’ badge; Peter Hampton, who arrived in his 36/220 Mercedes-Benz, wore a 1933 badge to remember the first year he attended.

Invited VIPs included Sir Peter Masefield, Ian Connell, Mrs Hess, Neil Eason-Gibson of the RAC, John Morgan, Wally Hassan, Harry Clayton, Tim Carson, Cholmondeley-Tapper, Leslie Ballamy, “Wilkie” Wilkinson, Charles Mortimer, George Abecassis and an Elmbridge Borough Councillor.

Amongst Brooklands cars which had run in 1039 were Flood’s Kerr-Bate Special, Rob Walker’s ex-Bira Delahaye, Dunham’s 12/70 Alvis (which took the Outer Circuit Aggregate Award that year) and the Bentley-Jackson, whose cockpit Harvey-Noble tried again, fifty years after taking the very last 130 mph badge with it at the last BARC meeting.

These were joined by the ERA R4D, the Straker-Squire, a 200-Mile Race Bugatti, Delaney’s Lea-Francis, Stafford-East’s 200-Mile Race GN, Skillen’s Marendaz Special, the ex-Marriage Ulster A7, the WB May Alvis, the Follett Alvis, the ex-Lones Morgan, Rees’ Montlhery MG Midget, the Straight/Seaman K3 MG and the Dobbs and Gillies Rileys –all Brooklands cars. I was give my customary high-up ride along what is left of the Members’ Banking in Dudley Gahagan’s T37 Bugatti.

Some nostalgic-sounding and very welcome racing motorcycles were there again, including a 7R AJS which ran in 1939, as were veteran cars commemorating the races “round the Mountain” held for them that year. There was the 1903 Dennis which lapped at 8.42 mph, and Pittuck’s 1896 Leon-Bollee (like the one driven by Sammy Davis); applause greeted the latter’s long push up the Test Hill, which the veterans had not had to tackle in 1939!

Spectators arrive in far bigger numbers than for a similar pre-war meeting, and the Test Hill and banking runs were attempted by lots of others cars, such as a fine early Austin 20 tourer, a 1913 Straker-Squire, the Brooke Special (going up very quickly) and a 4½-litre Bentley which leapt away.  

A splendid day proved once again that the Society is very much alive. Meeting Cyril Posthumous and Rupert Prior, one was also reminded that it has an equally enjoyable magazine, named after the forerunner of Motor Sport the original Brooklands Gazette. WB

 

The better part of valour?

Alain Prost attracted criticism for pulling out of last year’s British Grand Prix because he thought the wet conditions dangerous. However, there have been other examples of famous drivers retiring, or driving below their capabilities, in races they regarded either as too hazardous or too boring.

In the 1927 Essex MC Six-Hour Race at Brooklands, Segrave abandoned the sports 3-litre twin-cam Sunbeam (it was alleged to have run out of petrol) on the far side of the track, and went off with his wife for some motorboating at Hamble long before the event ended.

In the 1956 Mille Miglia, Fangio stopped to check that Moss and Jenkinson were alright after they slid off the road in their 3½ -litre Maserati and crashed down a hillside into a tree. Told not to bother about them, as he was losing time, he explained that he was just touring to finish; as DSJ said, he was too old and wise to hurry in impossible conditions.

A more direct comparison with Prost’s action was that of John Cobb in the 1934 BRDC 500-Mile Race at Brooklands. This was an event for which the Napier Railton was well suited – indeed, it won at 121.28 mph in 1935 and the 500km race 127.05 mph in 1937 – but Cobb considered the rain too difficult and dangerous in 1934, and he retired. Unlike Prost, he received praise for being prudent . . . WB