The day we went to Brighton

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Keith Howard’s recent recall of Archie Butterworth’s 4WD AJB reminded me of a hectic weekend I had in 1949.

The AJB was entered for Brighton Speed Trials, and I was asked if I would occupy it on the tow down. We left Frimley late on the Friday, the AJB behind Archie’s open Bentley. He drove as if there was nothing behind it! At least we were using a bar, not a rope, between the cars.

After a long spell in which I never took my eyes off the Bentley’s rear lamp, we had a stop. “Do you want to get out?” I was asked. “If I do, I shall never get in again,” I replied. I was used to being towed, but usually behind a well-worn A7 Ruby, at the end of a short clothes-line. We got to our hotel around midnight, just as two waiters were escorting Freddie Dixon out by a back door!

Next day, Butterworth made FTD for the standing-start km, in 24.91sec, finishing at 133mph. For the return to Hampshire I got into the cockpit. But Mrs B said their friend would like the honour of being towed in the successful racing car. So I got into the back of the Bentley, and we set off as quickly as before. After a few miles the towee’s hat blew off, which I twice retrieved. “What’s the matter now?” asked the impetuous Archie.

We resumed, approached a sharp bend, and there was a rending sound. The AJB’s off-side front wheel had jumped over the tow bar and bent it. After it was straightened I was asked to do the remainder of the tow.

Quite a weekend!