On November 6th, this club staged its first competitive event, a closed rally called the Scorpion Rally. The reason for the name is twofold: first it is the appropriate sign of the Zodiac and, secondly, the rally route had a very decided sting in the tail for the competitors!
The total mileage was just under 150. There were two start points. From the one at Kenilworth, where our Patron started the first car, there were seven starters. From the “Gravel Diggers Arms,” at Denham on A40, there were twenty-two cars, which were flagged off by one of our founder-members, Peter Cavanagh.
Through the torrential thunderstorms of that morning the competitors made their respective ways, without much difficulty, to the lunch halt at the Talbot Hotel at Loughton on A5, where the sight of at least 35 Healeys of assorted types and calibres was quite something. When the first car restarted at 1.40 p.m. the weather was fine, and so it continued through the afternoon. circumnavigating a completely unexpected emergency road detour in one place, until the cars arrived at a disused airfield near Oundle, where the simple driving test was held.
This consisted of starting from a line, proceeding straight to a mark (about 75 yards), circumnavigating the said mark 1½ times to return to stop astride the line with any two wheels on each side. From here the cars went to the next control where they received the last part of the route. Besides being difficult, they also had to contend with the dark and a slight ground fog in places. It had the desired effect of sorting out the experts from the novices!
From the final control, all were reunited in the warmth of “The George” at Buckden where, after an excellent dinner, the results were announced and the prizes presented. There were no protests, accidents or incidents as far as we know. John Gott, the official R.A.C. Observer, said some quite kind things about the running and organisation which will certainly encourage the organisers when they undertake another event of this nature. Even the competitors seemed to enjoy themselves hugely and some came from quite far away. Indeed to get 29 entries from 106 members, seven of whom are overseas, was very satisfying. Taken all in all, the rally reflected great credit on the work of Jim McManus, who arranged everything and worked out the route on his own.
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