VSCC paddock mourns the loss of Roger Twelvetrees

VSCC competitor Rebecca Smith looks back over the late summer’s club activities, including a family hillclimb and a tour Mto Northern Ireland, before tragedy struck at Mallory Park

To Ulster in an Ulster

To Ulster in an Ulster – an Austin 7 Ulster, that is – Rebecca Smith was part of the revival of an epic vintage road trip of the 1990s


Motor racing perhaps has more ups and downs than any other sport, and this last month has been as varied as it has been emotional. After two great events out with Mord, the death of Roger Twelvetrees at the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s Mallory Park meeting in August was nothing short of a tragedy, one that left the entire paddock in mourning.

Roger’s accident showed the dark side of the sport we all love, and his loss has been deeply felt across the VSCC community.

The month began with a hillclimb on the Prescott Short Course in Mord, where I would be sharing the drive with my sister, Jessica, who was making her competition debut. Annoyingly what had promised to be a special event proved to be a bit of a washout for us before a mechanical malady ended our run prematurely.

The weather was horrible, but both Jessica and I completed our practice runs with decent times, yet both felt Mord’s brakes were a bit on the soft side. We adjusted them before second practice and Jessica improved her time, but said they still didn’t feel right. I jumped in for my run and bang: no brakes at all. Turns out the seal on the master cylinder had given up, so it was an early bath for us. But at least we got to enjoy the great paddock hospitality and watch the event unfold on Sunday. Special mention to Patrick Teague in his Austin 7 Ulster for winning the Garry Whyte Trophy, which is awarded at Prescott each year to a young driver who has beaten their handicap by the most.

After Prescott came an entirely different kind of event with a trip to Ireland for a rebirth of the ‘Ulsters to Ulster’. Basically, a selection of the VSCC’s youth members re-enacted a road trip many of our parents had done in 1995 by driving from England to Ulster (Northern Ireland), conveniently in Austin 7 Ulsters. We had five Ulsters – plus a Citroën 2CV in our group, which caused some controversy, but we allowed it. The trip was brilliant, thanks to the hospitality of the Johnson family; driving through the centre of Belfast, visiting the old TT circuit, swimming in the lough, before heading home via the ferry to Liverpool and straight down to Mallory.

Rebecca in Mord battles a Morgan at Mallory Park

Rebecca in Mord battles a Morgan at Mallory Park, but the day’s schedule would come to a halt


Mallory had been shaping up to be a great event, with the Youth Race first and three of the Ulsters that had come straight from Ireland on the grid. I swapped back to Mord, and had a great start to pass a handful of cars off the line before engaging in a superb fight with the Morgans of Hamish Cameron-Eveleigh and Finlay Hope-Cameron. I wound up fourth after a duel which ended when Finlay passed me out of the final corner. I was rewarded with second place in the Handicap rankings though.

Then came the tragedy in the second race of the day, which led to the remainder of the meeting being cancelled.

Roger had been a member of the VSCC since the early 1970s and was a very popular figure within the club, as well as a successful children’s author. All our thoughts go out to his family and friends at such a difficult time. I think I speak for all of the VSCC community when I say that Roger will be missed greatly.

Next month: we’re back to kicking up grass and mud in the trialling season