Over 120 cars congregated in the Isle of Man in late September for the three-day Manx Classic, where Mike Sayers swept the pre-war honours in all three sections of the event in his 1937 Riley Sprite Special.
There was rain for the Total Oils Hill Climb on Lerghy Frissel, the longest UK hill, where FTD (89.05sec) fell to local man David Mylchreest in his MGB, pursued by Chris Weedon’s Sunbeam Tiger. Sayers put the methanol-fuelled Riley up in 90.71 sec.
As darkness fell, the crowds moved to the Promenade for the evening sprint, where Weedon’s Tiger hit the quarter-mile at 105 mph, the Anglo-Yankee machine beating Trevor Pritchard’s all-American Corvette by 13.43 to 13.57sec. Frederick Tidball on Donald Day’s ERA R14B, replete with loM history in the hands of Bob Gerrard, gave Sayers some stiff opposition, but scored 14.05 against the Riley’s 13.65sec.
There was more British Empire Trophy nostalgia next day, when the Willaston Circuit was the scene of the Pursuit Sprints. Cars set off at intervals, but things soon take on the character of real road-racing, as faster runners catch up those ahead. This year the lap record was broken by Phil Bennett, who averaged 77.79 mph in his 1964 E-type. Again, the pre-war class fell to Sayers, with an average of 71.14 mph.
Next year the Manx Motor Racing Club who run the Classic plan to add full-fledged circuit racing at the new Jurby track, and also to extend Lerghy Frissell to an exhilerating 5km, making the island the centre of a unique variety of motorsport.
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