Miscellany, February 2004

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The Middlesex County AC’s centenary in 2005 is already being prepared for, and its Centenary Committee Secretary, Kathleen Dawson, would appreciate the loan of any photographs, programmes, events regulations, etc appertaining to it Her address is 76 Norton Road, Wembley, Middlesex HAO 4RF.

* * *

The International Bugatti Rally is scheduled for June 20/26, with the Prescott Day on June 23. We are told that entries are already coming in fast Details from Louise Treutlein at the BOC Office, Prescott, Gotherington, Cheltenham GL52 9RD (01242 673 136).

* * *

Fixtures for 2004 are as prolific as usual. The VSCC has its traditional list (with recent additions), the VMCC has so many that it has needed a 19-page booklet to cover them all, and all the one-make clubs are to be highly active. The Aeroplane, that excellent monthly devoted to historic material, publishes the dates of the many air shows, and Steaming, journal of the National Traction Engine Trust, which in quality matches the best of the motoring clubs’ magazines, lists those for steam rallies, should you seek a change.

* * *

The 27-Litre Thomas Special ‘Babs’ in which J G Parry Thomas was killed at Pendine Sands in 1927 while trying to retake the LSR, which he’d held at 174.88mph, is now on show at the Brooldands Museum.

* * *

The Sunbeam MCC’S 66th Pioneer Run for pre-1915 motorcycles and three-wheelers takes place on March 21, from Epsom to Brighton. The first finisher, out of an expected 300 or so entries, should arrive on Madeira Drive at about 10am.

* * *

Dying is to be avoided because however famous and respected your friends and followers may have thought you, the media, with what I understand are now called its ‘journos’, will pick and pick until hopefully some flaws from your past or private family life, preferably raunchy, are revealed. Thus, sadly, are the respected diminished, for the profit of those avid unravellers of otherwise unblemished lives. It has been done in the case of W O Bentley, revealing a dire and unexpected side to someone previously regarded universally as a quiet, gentlemanly person, famous for his sportscars and happily married to Margaret. But Malcolm Bobbitt has revealed WO’s as being a very different story, of divorce and other calamities.

* * *

The same fate has overtaken the brave Donald Campbell, a temperamental and difficult character, by none other than David Tremayne, the expert LSR historian, in three full and lurid pages of the Daily Mail. ‘Live and let live’ has become an outdated principle, and death a signal for snide probing into the peccadilloes of anyone and everyone, the Royal Family not excluded. What a miserably changed world!

* * *

The greatest praise must be accorded to our rugby team which beat Australia and brought honour and fame to England. The enormous crowds which celebrated the return of the players to London were quite fantastic. Praise, too, to the ‘buses which conveyed the gallant players and the cup on this pedestrian drive of honour — no boiling, no burnt-out clutches, no running down of the police horses which bravely walked in front of them. Never mind, Schumacher; although you were not on these 2mph ‘buses, you are far from being forgotten!

* * *

My recent mention of going on trials with Derek Buckler attracted a folder of Buckler history, including technical drawings of spaceframes, etc, with data on all these cars, which keen members of the Buckler Register may well wish to possess. It is available from the compiler, Brian Malin, 128 Bath Street, Rugby, Warwicks CV21 3JA, for 123 with UK postage. It includes the karts.

* * *

The centenary of the Sheffield & Hallamshire MC&LCC arrives this year. It is now seeking photographs and memories for its Centenary book. If anyone can help, Simon Cork, Bretton, Back Lane, Hathersage S32 1 AR (01433 650 740) would be pleased to hear from them. I have seen a preview of the book, which will cover preand post-war Us, the High Peak and other trials, and Continental events. The Club was formed by the late Jack Haslam, who was an active motorcycle competitor.

* * *

I am glad to note that the Midland AC has enrolled a large number of new members in recent months, which will help with the finance required to ensure the future of Shelsley Walsh. To assist with this good cause the MAC is selling square yards of the famous course for 1125 each. Sir Stirling Moss already has his, and Motor Sport has bought two. The address to contact is the MAC office at Shelsley Walsh, Worcester (01886 812 211). The MAC’s monthly magazine has a feature describing happenings at the hill 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago.

* * *

To those many readers of Motor Sport who kindly sent me Christmas and New Year cards, my sincere thanks. It was very much appreciated.