Measham Rally

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Air Commodore Buckle’s Lancia Lambda Wins the Measham Trophy

On Jan. 8th/9th the Vintage Sports Car Club’ Midland Section held the 6th Annual Measham Rally, which, under the direction of J.W.Rowley and J.F.Lloyd, was run off under difficult conditions, ice and snow being encountered on the 200 mile road section, particularly in Wales. From here stories emanated of vintage cars climbing hills which stopped the moderns. In spite of the wintry conditions accidents were happily few, although one crew managed to invert an Austin Seven, luckily without injury, and the shape of R.A.White’s M.G.TC’s dumb-iron apron altered noticeably during the night.

The final tests were held on the Sunday morning, in an Arctic temperature, at the premises of the Measham Motor Sales Organisation, by courtesy of Mr.G.A.Hill, who also donates the handsome Measham Challenge Trophy for the best performance by a vintage car.

A glance at the entry list would suggest that vintagery is on the wane, for it divided into 58 non-vintage. 7 post-vintage thoroughbred and 23 vintage vehicles. in fact, the Measham Rally, which opens. the V.S.C.C. competition season, is eligible to seven invited clubs,. which explains the preponderance of non-vintage competitors.

After an admirable breakfast we observed two of the final tests, one test being deleted in deference to the rigours of the route.

A slow/fast test saw an Austin A30 run unbielievably slowly (an unkind onlooker remarked that this is just how they seem to be driven along our main roads !) and only White’s M.G. stalled, after two tries.

More amusing was a dice round the square punctuated by a pit stop to replenish the car’s radiator with imaginary water, the whole jaunt electrically timed. It was as well that the water was imaginary, because the two V Ws had to replenish their petrol tanks, being sans radiators.

In this test modern bonnets proved difficult with which to cope. Fisher’s 1936 Ford Eight/Ten “hot-rod” saloon, Holland’s Austin A40 (the driver standing up through the convertible top to hold the panel up while his passenger replenished), Machin’s Austin A40, Botts’ 2 1/2litre Riley, Mansbridge’s Jaguar and Goodman’s Ford, Zephyr suffering in this respect, while both Warner (Austin A30). and Rogers (Triumph TR2) forgot to let their passengers in by pulling their bonnet-release buttons, although the TR2 got off quickly nevertheless. Pearce’s M.G., with chequered radiator grille, found it easy by reason of a “real” radiator cap, White’s M.G. did the test splendidly, and Baker’s Austin A30, front number sensibly painted on, put up a magnificent effort, even to a block of wood for propping open the bonnet. The passenger leapt into the back to maintain cornering stability after replenishing, but the car itself was making awful noises. Polack’s Morgan was excellent, aided by a bayonet radiator cap, Gouldbourn’s TR2 paused awile but was driven fast„ passenger jumping over the door after the pit-stop, Mansbridge’s Jaguar XKl20 coupe cornered in a series of uncontrollable lurches, Roberts’ Austin-Healey 100 needed real water, engine running-on, Sinclair helped his passenger by holding open the TR2’s bonnet, but Rumsey’s TR2 lost time because a carriage-key was required for opening and shutting the. bonnet and the “mechanic” dropped the water-can.

Ballisat’s TR2 took its time but Bengry’s VW, which had Firestone “Town and Country” rear tyres and had tried to shed its front number-plate, was through quickly, as was MacKintosh’s VW. Arnold-Forster found the long-threaded filler-tap of Buckle’s Lancia Lambda a bit trying, Robertson’s Riley Nine Monaco saloon lacked speed and was steaming. Hill’s nice O.M., with passenger in. the back, went quite well but possessed a slow filler-cap, and the “mechanic” to Larkins’ 2 1/2-litre Riley saloon coped well with a tricky under-bonnet filler-cap. Fisher’s 30/98 Vauxhall was dispatched very swiftly, as was an old Rapier Special masquerading as a Bugatti, aided by a press-action quick filler-cap, but perhaps best of all was Dr. Harris’ 1934 Frazer-Nash, which tail-slid round the sheds and possessed a real racing-style quick-action external radiator cap.

Cecil Clutton. the V.S.C.C. President, who had arrived in a Citroen (six-cylinder), as had T. W. Carson, the V.S.C.C. Secretary (four-cylinder), thanked Mr. Hill for the loan of Measham and for his handsome Trophy. and this was duly presented to the winner, who brought with him to the presentation his navigator, Nigel Arnold-Forster, and; a charming, duffle-coated young lady whom Nigel had somehow not allowed to distract him from his nocturnal navigating chores. W.B.

Measham Trophy (best vintage car): Air-Commodore N.E.Buckle (1928/9 Lancia Lambda tourer).

Silver Cup (best performance): D.H.Holland (Austin A40).

Visitors’ class First-class Award: H.C.Rogers (Triumph TR2). Second-class Award : J.R.J. Mansbridge (Jaguar XK120). Third-class Award :J.J.Bott (2 1/2-litre Riley).

Post-Vintage Thoroughbred Class: No awards.

Vintage-Car Class: First-class Award : C.W.Robertson (1929 Riley Nine Saloon).

Best Performance in Tests: R. A. Couldbourn (Triumph TR2).

Navigators’ Awards: Navigators of Buckle’s Lancia and Holland’s Austin.