THIS was on the day before the London Marathon, 8th May, and also had a full entry list, but of a more modest 60 teams, which ended up as 52 starters. The runners were mainly northern-based, and some of the cars had not been much seen in the VSCC events previously. Ivor Phillips’ Jowett 7/17 was more familiar, as were the smoke rings coming from the breather in the centre of its starting handle, but Muschamp’s Lambda was a pleasant surprise, as was Tim Hallam’s 1929 Acedes Coupé, which took every opportunity to boil in the sunny but cool Derbyshire heights. Brother Julian Hallam’s 1928 Frazer Nash invented a new clutch trick when the spigot bearing come out of its hole and made bad vibes, and the Beebee Austin 7 did the crankshaft trick later in the day. Brothers Harvey and Jeremy Hine came in 3-litre Bentleys, and the Lees brothers were also Bentley-mounted.
The VSCC’s navigation rallies are by no means the Tuf-Tuf variety — this one had set an average of 24 m.p.h. over very lumpy but scenic country and some 90 miles — all tube sorted out with the usual cartographical crossword puzzles. The RAC’s requirements on public relations meant that the event had been well advertised, and there was a lot of spectator interest (average age 13) in the villages. Clive Bowyer, who normally sets the Eastern Rally, navigated the Mather Bentley, but was mostly unable to decipher the devious clues of John Nutter and Antony Costigan, who invented the Buxton route — which must prove something about poachers and gamekeepers.
Garfitt’s BMW 319, Howard’s Bugatti T37, and Threlfall’s Lancia “Obscura” went on to compete in the Curborough sprint the next day, but Collings’ Speed 6 Bentley didn’t, after losing some whitemetal from a bearing.