Austins everywhere

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The most prolific car in vintage events is the original Austin 7, which says much for the good quality of Lord Austin’s £165 baby from its appearance in 1922. It was soon establishing a noteworthy record in racing and record-breaking by the Austin Company and other entrants.

Just before war broke out in 1939 I had thought up the 750MC, for A7s only, with the idea of taking in other cars of up to 850cc such as the Singer Juniors and Triumph Super Sevens to give our A7s a more competitive field, but this never happened. However, the first trial and other events were held before Hitler stopped play.

Holland Birkett found that modern Ford engines could be shoe-horned into an A7, so after the war fast specials of this kind enlivened the 750MC’s activities without lessening its interests in the ¾-litre cars for which it was formed (as emphasised by the number of A7s which assemble at the Beaulieu rally every year, etc).

Then the Pre-War A7 Club was started, also to cater for all aspects of the Longbridge 7s from 1922-39.

Today the A7 Clubs’ Association lists 61 organisations for owners of the immortal Seven, including the 750MC, the Pre-War A7 Club, the regional ones in Britain and Ireland, and those in America, Australia, Canada, Holland, Japan, New Zealand and even Sri Lanka. There is accommodation for those with every type of A7, including vans and the additions of Bantams and Rosengarts, its generosity extending to all vintage models and to the Austin Ten Drivers’ Club for the Seven’s younger brothers.

Prominent among these is the Pre-War A7 Club, so it is opportune to give the results of the its popular Bert Hadley 13th Memorial Racing Championship, which this year had 30 entries with 12 qualified for the championship, which was contested at various hillclimbs and circuit venues:

• Bert Hadley Memorial Cup (championship winner): Stewart Arklay (1938 Gould Special)
• Murray Jamieson Trophy (best in opposite class and runner-up): Terry Griffin (1931 Single-seater)
• Kay Petre Award (best lady driver): Julia Constantinos (1934 Single-seater)
• Newcomers Cup: Colin Danks (1935 Ulster Special)
• Brooklands Handicap Award: Carol Woods (1931 Ulster Special)
• ‘Nil Desperandum’ Award: John Skeavington (1931 Ulster Special)

The 2008 series will start in April with the Gurston Down Hill Climb.