Ten years after the last Measham Trophy Rally was run, the event has once again been established on the VSCC calendar.
The intervening years saw a series of night rallies in the south-west and scatter rallies in a variety of venues, but this year the event returned to within a few miles of its birthplace at Measham in Leicestershire. A full 1200 miles of route produced a full entry of 69, nearly all of whom set off from Beaumanor Hall in Old Woodhouse on the night of Saturday January 9. A few miles of A and B class roads took competitors into open country, although a short loop of minor road near the start, on which a route check was placed, caught several competitors out. From then on it was minor roads all the way to Grantham, many being so covered in mud and farm by-products that staying on the road became as much a problem as finding it. A certain 30/98 Vauxhall spent 25 minutes trying to extract itself from a muddy field where the road had turned more sharply than the car had!
Sadly some cars failed to get far around the course, Phil Champion’s Nash retiring with clutch trouble and Nick Lees’ enviable Riley Sprite with a seized starter motor. The light car class took a short-cut to miss a 20-mile loop, and this allowed it to keep ahead of the other two classes while remaining on schedule. However, by the time the last controls of the first half were reached the field was well mixed. One navigator’s map had blown away just past the 60 mile mark, and his route to the half-way halt was behind the tail lights of whoever seemed to know the way! Some eight miles before the halt a couple of fords had to be negotiated, one of which had only appeared after the excessive rain previous week. The other, although about 8in deep, was fairly wide, which caused competitors to approach it in a variety of ways, although none managed to persuade his navigator to set out on foot. Some drivers had a very long look before cautiously driving through whilst others took it in their stride water cascading everywhere. As the ford was on a bend it caught some competitors unawares and at least one braked too late and ended with both offside wheels in the water.
A local photographic duo were busy at this point and others around the course so provided competitors with a photographic record of their efforts— a usual occurrence at race meetings but a nice extra for a night rally. Several competitors blamed their e driving on being blinded by the flash from cameras . . .
The second half quickly provided entertainment and sorted out the careful navigators. A right turn off a main road required a choice from two routes either side of a wood, and those who took the wrong leg triangle entered the inevitable control the wrong direction. About 50% of the field made this error. At other controls many were being kept fit running after White’s Austin Seven, which seemed to to keep moving in top gear regardless driver’s selection of neutral.
Via the Vale of Belvoir, the cars eventually arrived back in the grounds of Beaumanor Hall
Results were computerised, and competitors who chose to wait for them were able to see a print-out of their performance at all 38 controls. Among the more remarkable performances was that of MG Dawson who won a second-class award in a 1924 Ghost which only had rear-wheel brakes and was almost as wide as much of the route.
A good time had been had by all, and if so many willing marshals support it again there might just be another Measham in Measham country next year. SGH
EL Bouts, who must be about the oldest surviving Brooklands 120 mph badge-holder, tells as that, after selling more than 3000 Alfa Romeos and £300,000-worth of spares over the years, EL Bouts Motors Ltd of Wolverhampton has severed its connection with the Italian Company and taken on a Citroen franchise. WB
Following our feature on Squire cars (Motor Sport, January 1988), Hugh Palmer writes to say he owns the second car built, X102 (the prototype now being owned by Tom Perkins in California).
This car was originally a VDP two-seater (UD 6784) but since the first owner, the Hon Sherman Stonor, wanted a lightweight body it was rebuilt after some eight months by Maythorn’s. The Duke of Grafton used it for competition work, and it formed the basis of the first “Skimpy Squire” when Adrian Squire copied it for a production model, is now owned by Mr Palmer’s brother. VDP body was used on the single-seater chassis when this was converted in to road-car (COA 420). It was scrapped in 1950, the only one of the seven real Squires not to survive.
The racing engine (No 1040) is now in Mr Perkins’ chassis. He says that of the surviving Squires three are in the United Kingdom and three in the United States. Two Zethrin Squires also still exist. WB