That enormously enjoyable annual VSCC fixture, the Presteigne Trial and Road Run, took place on October 7/8, watched by the usual large crowds in the huge free car park at the finish, where refreshments are sold to aid Pilleth Church. The entry was confined to preI 93 I cars, the very essence of this club, and totalled 102, ranging from a large assortment of A7 Chummies and Ulsters to such a rarity as I Ward’s 1922 2.2-litre Vinot et Déguingand two-seater, seemingly just ending a long hibernation, and such courageous Edwardians as Hickling’s familiar yellow Dodge (1917 and 3½ litres). David Roscoe’s Overland (1913 and 5.2 litres), Malamatenios’s Crossley (1918 and 4 litres), E Peppercorn’s also familiar Renault (1914 and 4½ litres) and Ben Collings in his father’s Mercedes-Maybach (1906 and 19 litres). Not all were evident at the end of the second day but Collings was, although even Zeppelin power and three passengers to hold the back wheels down were not sufficient to get it past the mud patch near the summit of Pilleth One, which defeated much of the entry.
To prove the roadability of the cars they had to complete a 100-mile road run before clocking-in at the Radnorshire Arms in Presteigne on the Saturday, and had another 100 miles to complete on the Sunday.
As usual the narrow Presteigne High Street was the scene to be at, prior to the attacks on the Oldhill Banks, The Riggles and Fron Wen. The town is not much changed since the VSCC invaded it just before war broke out, although it has been by-passed and this year a new one-way system was a bit of a shock. But as ever the Radnorshire Arms dispensed hospitality, strengthened that evening by a “happy hour” hosted by Brooks, and the equally obliging garage adjacent willingly acceded to competitors’ needs — such as a welding operation on Diffey’s 30/98. And as ever onlookers gathered to marvel at the odd motorcars that had arrived in their town. The rules rightly forbade the use of motorways, trailers or support cars and the trials entry was in two classes, the distinctions too complicated to detail here.
Heavy and continuous rain made the Saturday trial tough going but by Sunday the sky was blue — well, it would be wouldn’t it? — and a warm sun lit up the Welsh countryside. There was not a cloud to be seen, enabling the Greens to point fingers at the global-warming motorcars — some of which did get rather hot. Trouble seemed less than in some previous Welsh trials but on the Road Run the 1922 8hp Talbot-Darracq, out again after countless years of inactivity, lost time when it shed a brand new front 710/90 Dunlop tyre. Two days of rain had made the sections of reasonable severity, those on the Sunday being Worsell Wood, the brief but testing Lloyds, the interesting Cwmheyope, Railway, Cwmgilla, New Ivor’s, Forest Wood and the three Pilleth ascents.
At the conclusion of the Saturday hillstorming, Barry Clarke (GN-A7) was in the lead with 71 penalty points from Harry Stringer (1928 A7) four points behind, and already several had retired. This order held to the end of a very full Sunday’s hillclimbing. The 40 competitors in the 200mile two-day road event had to cope with five time controls and the route checks. These defeated P Cattell’s 1908 Riley, which dropped out, and J Dutton, whose 4½-litre Bentley completed the course but was outside the time-limit.
RESULTS: Trial: Harry Bowler Trophy (Best overall performance): B Clarke (GN-A7).
Presteigne Trophy (Best in Class 2): S Baxter (Chrysler).
Leslie Winder Trophy: S Diffey (A7).
Smatcher Trophy: S Price (A7).
First Class Awards: B Clarke (GN-A7), H Stringer (A7), J Flann (A7), R Reed (A7), S Baxter (Chrysler), Mandy Reynolds (Bentley), J Holden (Vauxhall), B Collings (Mercedes-Maybach). Second Class Awards: K Stimson (Riley), T Clark (Salmson), M Dawson (Rolls-Royce), K Burnett (Alvis).
Third Class Awards: P Hart (Alvis), C Podger (Alvis), D Baker (Rolls-Royce), R Prest (Alvis).