Miscellany, June 1998

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The author of the biography of the writer Henry Williamson, Tarka And The last Romantic (ISBN 0-7509-1492-0), is his daughter-in-law, who with her husband is a member of the Alvis OC and owner of three TA14 Alvises. She wonders if the 1938 2-litre 15/98hp Aston Martin DYY 764, which Henry Williamson bought second hand, attracted to the car by his friendship with St John Horsfall who was preparing a similar car for the 1949 Belgian GP, is still about? Apart from that, Henry Williamson was a well-known Alvis enthusiast.

* * *

On June 28 the Welsh Borders Classic Car Festival at the 591-year old Oswestry School in Shropshire, where the engineer and racing driver.’ G Parry Thomas was a pupil, will have as a central exhibit the 27-litre Thomas special Sabs’ with which Thomas broke the LSR before it killed him at Pendine in 1927. The car’s restorer, Owen Wyn-Owen, will be present and proceeds will benefit the NSPCC and Oswestry’s Victoria Centre. Details: Colin Chapman on 01691 653 209.

* * *

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club has its usual very full fixture list for 1998 but one event stands out for those who like to see the older motorcycles in action the Banbury Run, the 50th this time, which takes place on June 21 and to which spectators are welcome if they park sensibly. The pre-1931 machines start from Towcester Race Course.

* * *

Among flourishing one-make Clubs, one respects that for Armstrong Siddeleys, not all that long ago seemingly the unwanted cars. It may amuse members to know that at Skegness sand races in 1923 a race between a 30hp Armstrong Siddeley, a 12.4 Austin, an Aston Martin, an Austin 20 and a 10.8hp Riley, all closed cars, resulted in a win for the smaller Austin with the Armstrong Siddeley second on handicap…

* * *

The newest recruit to Inter-Register activities, which provides a competitive annual championship for one-make clubs catering for perhaps somewhat less-sporting cars, is the Jowett CC, whose IR representative is David R Grounds (0121 355 1488). He owns a Jowett Long Two flat-twin which has been in his family for seven years and is his only car, used as regular transport, although his wife has a 1969 Rover P6 3500. The next IR event is to be a private-ground gymkhana, on July 12.

* * *

Following on from the Earl Howe story in this issue, his son, as Viscount Richard Curzon, also did a little racing, until asked by the family to give it up. While at Cambridge Curzon had an M-type MG Midget, then the D12 version, with which he competed in the Inter-Varsity speed trials. He then progressed to a s/c sports Alta before the parental stop put paid to racing; but rallies in an Alvis and speed trials with a 328 BMW were apparently allowed.

* * *

I was reminded of this when a reader told me that at Kedleston Hall near Derby there was a photograph hanging in the restaurant of a racing car, the caption to which Jill Banks, the archives researcher at the house, confirms is of The Hon Richard Curzon’s 1923/24 single-seater Sopwith-bodied Dorsey-Calthorpe Brooklands racing car. Was it, perhaps, the yellow Calthorpe with which Woolf Bamato, the Bentley driver, began his racing career at Brooklands, which lapped at 78.01mph in 1921?