Loton Park vintage
The hillclimb course in Loton Park near Shrewsbury has much going for it. It has six interesting corners, one approached downhill, and the two-part grass paddocks and somehow carefree atmosphere are redolent of pre-war fixtures some of us enjoyed. Not any surprise, therefore, that the VSCC goes there once a year and it did so on May 29, a warm sunny day, with a programme of 181 competitors and 10 reserves. To the club’s credit, but as expected, the event was run off very effectively.
As has been apparent this season, Bruce Spollon’s ERA R8C is in splendid form and it scored another FTD, in 62.85s a new record for the tortuous course. Spollon’s start was exemplary with no wheelspin after the first few feet. Mike Walker also made a clean start in his Cirrus aero-powered Parker-GN (now on pump fuel) to win his class in record time (63.63s), beaten only by Spollon, and ahead of Guy Smith’s Alvisenergised Frazer Nash (64.32s). Of the other ERAs, Donald Day’s R I 4B, which made FTD last year, was second in class to Spollon, almost contacting the bank when heating up rubber before the off. Ricketts had magneto problems in practice and went off with a cloud of oil smoke trailing behind Sally Marsh’s 1172-litre RIB, posting a class record of 65.23s, comfortably beating Dunn’s blown Riley Special (66.30s) and leaving Dave Caroline’s Morgan to a set fresh vintage class record (68.15s). The latter’s engine has a big forward facing carb and twin magnetos. Other records to fall included the vintage I I 00cc sports car time, Geraint Owen clo
cking 77.37s with his so successful JAP vee-twin Morris Special, and the 1500cc sports car record, which Howatt’s Riley engined Morgan 4/4 broke in 68.44s, with Densham’s 1930 Aston Martin lowering the vintage time to 70.95s. Not to be overshadowed, Guy Spollon reduced the three-litre class sports car record to 68.60s with his Riley, and Jon Giles took the FN/AC up in 71 .22s to a vintage record in that class. And still they fell . . Stewart’s 1922/28 Bentley Special took another record in the big sports car class, in which Ben Black made a notable best sports car time and general record in the 2.9 Alfa Romeo (64.92s), beating owner Rodney Felton into second place (66.65s). But Felton was to delight the crowds with four demos in Tom Wheatcroft’s VI 6 BRM that wonderful sound! (The ribbon tachometer reads to 12,000 rpm.)
It was records all the way at Loton, Keeling’s PB MG Special setting a new 1100cc racing class time (68.49s) and Lake’s Arnilcar-Riley, again going beautifully to shatter the previous vintage best, managing 71.63s. Hulbert’s s/c Alvis was another record-bnreaker, in the big racing car section (66.94s). Felton, out of the immaculate BRM, used his Ferrari to set the sports/racing record at 68.91s. The Edwardians also performed. Roger Collings’ 19-litre Mercedes-Maybach was quite the fastest (80.02s), after he had been forced to hold it in gear on his first ascent. If you missed it, the Hagley & DLCC has another Loton Park fixture on July 16/17. W B