Veteran to Classic - Icy Measham

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The VSCC’s popular Measham Night Rally, first held over 40 years ago, with nocturnal status from 1951, saw 70 eager competitors turn out on January 12/13 to attempt nearly 200 miles of testing navigational work, at some 24 mph average speed. The start and finish were at the spacious Moat House Hotel, Hereford, where the customary map-plotting continued for quite a time after the 9pm “off”.

The entry was highly diversified, from Gordon’s familiar 1915 Hudson, first away, to Lees’ 1940 12/70 Alvis. It was very much a family affair, with five father/ son combinations, six husband and wife, boy/girlfriend entries, and 14 girls driving or navigating. Novice crews numbered 27. Only five cars had elected to come on trailers, including Teall’s elegant 8-litre Bentley saloon which won a coachwork prize at the 1932 RAC Rally. Matching its elegance was Dawson’s 1924 40/50hp Rolls-Royce tourer, definitely as much Concours d’Elegance as Measham! Sadjic was snug in his unobtrusive Hotchkiss AM2 coupe, Andrews in his Lancia Aprilia, the two 16/50 Humbers were in again, 4¼ Bentley vied with 4.3 Alvis, vintage Bentleys with 30/98s, and Miss Moss had Mrs Monro with her in the S-type Invicta. Barry Clarke was navigating for Jane ArnoldForster in the Alvis, Filsell for Binns in the Riley 9.

What the VSCC had not bargained for were icy lanes on the coldest night imaginable, which brought the Rolls-Royce to rest on a hill somewhere south of Hay-on-Wye, sending the schedule a bit behind-hand. In anticipation of trouble here Saxl was lowering the pressure in the back tyres of his 1928 Dodge-5 saloon. Then the downhill ice took its toll, putting a Bentley in a ditch and causing Ayre’s 1927 12/50 Alvis tourer to roll over at a crawl on a bend, without harm to his son and passenger but some damage to a nice car. Antilock brakes prevented the Editorial Ford Sierra from ramming the stationary line of vintage cars; it was certainly a night for 4WD. . . .

By courtesy of RAF Credenhill a vast hanger was available for fettling at the halfway point, and high praise is due to the marshalls from the North Humberside MC who came all this distance to help — greater love of vintage cars hath no man…! Here Mark Garfift was having dynamo trouble with the Frazer Nash-BMW, Keith Hill (Crouch-Helix) and a Bentley driver were repairing punctures, and Brewster’s Vernon-Derby was having its plugs changed in search of full power, although power could hardly be exploited under the slippery conditions prevailing. Of the eight A7s, Atkinson wisely had a reflective trailer-triangle on the rear of his Chummy, but another Chummy was adequately illuminated with the two standard rear lamps, and together had a closed body presumably made for just such an occasion as a cold Measham. WB

Provisional Results

Measham Trophy: P Hart (16/50 Humber). Light Car Award: P Cattell (Riley 9). Novice Awards: B Sadjic (Hotchkiss). 1st Class Awards: P Hart (Humber), A Wilson (A7), F Giles (Frazer Nash), K Hill (Crouch-Helix). 2nd Class Awards: P Cattell (Riley), R Parker (Alvis), D Johnson (Lea-Francis), D Smith (Alvis), G Butcher (Frazer Nash). 3rd Class Awards: J Potter (Lea-Francis), P Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash), G Tomlin (Alvis), R Thomas (MG).

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