VSCC At Loton Park

Apart from continuing to use its other sprint venues, this year the VSCC had its first full-scale meeting, on June 21, at Loton Park, England's longest hillclimb course at 1478 yards. It is normally the preserve of the Hagley & District LCC, which invites the VSCC to its meetings. This delightful venue, on Sir Michael Leighton's Estate, takes one right back to pre-war days, as one enters through ball-topped gateposts, as at Branches Park and similar one-time speed trial courses, to find the racing cars in a grass paddock, with spectators' cars parked in a field opposite. The course has six named corners and both downhill and uphill straights, well-suited to vintage cars. Being narrow, skill is needed to keep to the road and the cornering is, perhaps, slower than at Prescott. It was all delightfully vintage on that sunny Sunday.

On arrival we found Browning having a busy time administering to his 3.6-litre Alvis Special, which was having its brake linings chamfered after snatchy retardation, had had a carburettor fire quickly extinguished (do you carry an extinguisher?) and its battery was being energised via jump leads. All credit that he did a time of 79.07s. Watching from the Triangle, approached downhill, Peacop was using plenty of revs in his MG Midget, Densham in the Aston Martin was going fast, Black approached quickly in the Alfa Romeo and Macmaster was neat in the FN-BMW, but Stops' Riley clobbered the outer bank.

Bruce Spollon was driving the Alfa Romeo, as his ERA had valve-seat trouble. Bronson's Riley did some grass-cutting at the Triangle. Even more spectacular, Drewett's Riley slid straight on between two bollards on locked wheels, recovered and exited via two more bollards, without touching any of them, only to be disqualified for leaving the course! More exciting still, Baxter's Chrysler contrived to slide backwards off the road between the Triangle and Keepers Corner, but was completely undamaged, and the Giron-Alvis failed to complete its first run, after we had thought how well Jolley was coping with such a big car.

Now to the nitty gritty. FTD was set by Guy Smith in the Alvis-Frazer Nash, in 66.46s, on a smooth ascent with a wild moment or two, although things went badly on his second run. Cardy drove his T35B Bugatti to best vintage time (69.46s), spinning his back wheels from the corners, and fastest sports car was Bronson's Riley (69.29s), after failing on his first attempt. Julian Majzub non-started; his father used to race the Pacey-Hassan, not the Bowler-Hoffman Bentley as stated last month. The class winners were: R Nice (A7, 79.34s), vintage J Gunn (A7, 82.93s); E Dunn (Riley, 69.52s), vintage D Densham (Aston Martin, 77.04s); B Spollon (Riley, 71.82s), vintage Sir J Venables-Llewelyn (Bugatti, 77.94s); J Bronson (Riley, 69.29s), vintage R Pollack (lnvicta, 79.07s); Edwardians, R Firth (1913 Th Schneider, 84.22s); R Campbell (Austin-Fiat, 70.24s), vintage, G Bishop (A7, 75.28s); M Saywers (Riley, 69.43s), vintage E Benfield (Alvis, 80.80s); D Day (ERA R14B, 67.39s), vintage T Card), (Bugatti, 69.46s); G Smith (Alvis-FN, 66.96s), vintage D Biggins (Vauxhall, 76.15s). This sets a standard to beat at this excellent event, which I am sure the VSCC will repeat next year. The Hagley Club has a date there on July 26. W B