The Brooklands Society held its 29th annual Reunion at what is left of the old Motor Course on June 20, with the usual runs up the Test Hill and round the third of the Members banking which remains, enlivened by a Cavalcade and a jazz band. If far fewer pre-war Brooklands personalities can be met at the Reunion now and not many of the true Brooklands racing cars were at this year’s event, it nevertheless shows the determination of the Society to actively maintain interest in this most historic of motor racing venues.
The Guest-of-Honour was 94-year-old Clive Windsor-Richards who was so successful in the old days racing 30-98 Vauxhalls and very fast Rileys, and record-breaking with the diminutive Gush Special etc. Tom Delaney was there with his two Hyper Lea-Francis, both of which were raced at the Track, and in his 1928 TT-winning car he took Mrs Valerie Kaye Don for a drive round, her husband having driven the actual car to that Ulster victory. The second car raced pre-war by Esplen was brought by Tom’s son. Other celebrities present who actually raced at Brooklands were Charlie Martin and Powys-Lybbe, Ian Connell, Stanley Sedgwick, Guy Griffiths, Peter Hull, Rivers Fletcher etc, all of whom know what Brooklands was really all about. The wife and daughter of Cyril Watkinson were present, as were Doug Earl, Graham Bradshaw, Dudley Gahagan and others with strong Track or Society connections, including John Holmes who had driven up from Exeter, and Ian, son of Charles Brackenbury. Among aviation celebrities was Diana Barnato-Walker who had driven from Horne in her Fiat Uno.
Many genuine Brooklands’ racing cars which would have graced the gathering were absent but 15 cars and three motorcycle with claims to such an association were entered, backed up by the entry of 49 pre-war cars and eleven motorcycles of more ordinary demeanour. The racing cars comprised a 200-Mile Race Salmson, Akela GN, two Amilcar Sixes, the Lones’ 100mph Morgan three-wheeler, a T37 Bugatti, ERA R7B and the two Hyper Lea-Francis. The Dench Trophy for the best pre-1920 vehicle was won by J Bowyer’s 1919/20 Phoenix, The expensive programme was mostly reprints from old BARC Year Books and a diary extract stopped just as the diarist was about to visit the Track. But a jolly good day; if you missed it the BSNSCC Runway Sprint is clue on October 6. The Society’s Secretary is Len Battyll, ,Cleve Cottage, Cobham Way, E Horsley, Surrey KT24 5BH. W B