The VSCC at Loton Park

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The general concensus on May 26, the day of the vintage Loton Park speed hill-climb, was what a pleasant venue this is — informal, picturesque, an interesting 1478 yard course, and the event run with VSCC efficiency. The rights belong to the Hagley & DMC, which runs its own meetings there several times in a season, for other than vintage cars. The place was in great heart for the annual onslaught by the older machinery…

The inimitable Mark Walker drove as he always does, fast but with judgement, to break not only his own record, by 0.69sec, but the general VSCC record held previously by a Cooper-Bristol, would you believe, by 2.92sec with the Parker-GN. Its 6.1-litre Cirrus aero-engine is now exposed for all to see, a mass of carburettors and curving exhaust pipes, and the former big fuel tank has been removed, making it, as Mark said, look like a Proper Shelsley Special — it is also a lot lighter, too. He drove it as well as ever, snaking more out of the Triangle that I remember him doing last year, to clock 62.68sec.

What a family of enthusiastic fast drivers of the older motor cars the Walker family is! Four of them in four cars this time, scoring FTD and two new records. Father Walker came down to the Triangle in the 1908 GP Panhard faster than I have seen a big Edwardian driven for a long time, if ever, its 12.8-litre engine surely at its safe rev limit; it slowed effectively, the power was put on in mid-turn, the o/s back wheel spun and it was away, to a record time of 80.36sec, shattering the former Th Schneider time by 3.86sec. Another very fast approach was made by Geraint Owen’s sports Morris-JAP, involving hard wheel-locking braking; he accelerated hard away but there was an ominous noise at Museum Corner. The veetwin engine had broken up, perhaps having decided that continuing to restrain a third flywheel was just too much. But a first ascent in 83.12sec was enough to give the Welsh tuning wizard second place in the vintage 1100cc class to Baxter’s overall class-conquering the s/c A7 (77.5sec).

Alone in his class, Wood’s Morgan 3-wheeler dutifully lifted its o/s front wheel on a 52.44sec climb but it was the Chevron Lasange which wanted to waltz, really elevating the o/s back wheel at the Triangle (80.50sec). I wish I had space to mention all the fast runs, some polished, some a trifle alarming; suffice it to report no accidents, if a few “offs”, such as Mrs Monro’s Lagonda Rapier going straight on at that tricky third of the six corners and Donald Parker spinning the V12 R-R Bentley at Museum. Those who made very good work of them include Baxter (s/c A7); Joseland was neat and he snicked the Frazer Nash’s dogs in slickly, Sophie Walker third best ‘Nash with the ex-Martyr FN, Hines 4 1/2 Bentley was steady and fast, Ben Collings, using the 8.1-litre Bentley, powered through on a splendid class-record run, Mrs J Walker was neat in the 1912 Alfonso Hispano, using slight engine blips to humour the gears, and Leigh did a fine run in the old GN “Spider”. The s/c 940cc Kayne MG sounded crisp but Japson’s Riley 9 was on too few cylinders.

The commentators waxed keen over Britcher’s standard-looking 1929 Lancia Lambda, with hood up, and Wiseman’s 1928 14/40 Delage as standard vintage tourers, but I see the former was listed as a hybrid so deserved to better the French car by 5.83sec. There were some surprises; Mowatt’s Riley/Morgan was beaten by Dick Smith’s 1929 Frazer Nash, which was 0.66s quicker, the AC/GN beat Hulbert’s Alvis by 5.39sec, and Black’s 2.9 Alfa Romeo was 0.02sec quicker than Bronson’s 2.7 Riley. The twin Harley-Davidson engined Hornet got going well after trouble in practice, with massive swerves out of the triangle Hare’s Newton was going nicely, too.

To recap. Mike Walker (Parker/GN), FTD and VSCC course record, next best, Stephen’s ERA R12B, Fastest Sportscar Black’s Alfa Romeo. The Class Winners Sports Cars: 1, I Baxter (A7), 77.30sec. 2, R Smith (Frazer Nash), 71.33sec. 3, B Spollon (Riley) 72.53sec, Vintage J Warden (Lea-Francis) 81.71sec. 4.W Black (Alfa Romeo) 66.21s, Vintage: B Collings (Bentley), 71,13sec, R. Edwardians: T Walker (1908) Panhard-Levassor). 80.36sec, R Runner-up: M Lemon (Vauxhall), 8769sec. Racing Cars 6, M Painter (MG Kayne), 73.88sec. Vintage: T John (Amilcar), 74.21sec. 7, A Stephens (ERA) 66.12sec. Vintage: D Leigh (GN), 73.94sec. (only runner). 8, J Giles (AC/GN), 66.35sec, R. 9/10, M Walker (Parker-GN), 62.68sec, Double R. 11, D Wood (Morgan), 82.44sec. (Only runner). 12, B Stops (1955 Cooper 500), 69.94sec. 13, 1950’s Sports Cars. J Ghosh (Jaguar C-Type), 70.90sec. NB Where no vintage time quoted, a pre-1931 car won the class outright. R = Class record. W B

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