Having been very thoroughly rained on at Brooklands last year, for 1991 the VSCC returned to the spacious and conveniently laid-out Army camp near Andover for its February 2nd driving tests meeting. The entry stabilised at 70 pre-war cars, which seems to be the VSCC saturation number these days.
Frost and mist having given way to the VSCC’s usual good, sunny weather, all was set for the competitors to try the ten difficult tests, named after adjacent towns and places. So scattered were these tests that it was easier to concentrate on the cars rather than on how they performed, although out of the corner of an eye one noticed Mrs Hayes considerately refusing to rush her Alvis, even permitting it a reverse, in Test Four, which involved much to-and-fro ‘garaging’, whereas one heard David March abusing reverse gear selection in order not to lose a fraction of a second in the same frolic with his Brescia Bugatti. One also spotted that G Breckett’s 1930 Ulster Austin had its own covered waggon in which to go home, and the 1926 ‘top-hat’ A7 saloon conducted by P Stainton and then by Miss Poat had modern spotlights with which to combat a foggy journey. Garfitt and Moore were in their smart Frazer Nash-BMWs, the latter somewhat late due to a long hold-up on the Great British motorway system.
Incidentally, the competition numbers had been well, or coincidentally, allocated. Thus, Conway’s Type 44 Bugatti was No 44, and unfortunately retired with suspected little-end enlargement, and No 38 applied to A Lupton’s handsome Corsica bodied Lea-Francis which is a 1938 Motor Show car. The well known 1915 Hudson wasn’t entered but American Edwardianism was represented by David Roscoe’s smart 1913 5.2-litre Overland two-seater, recently imported from the USA and sporting Toledo Ohio gas head lamps, carriage-type spot-lamps and with a transverse sliding accelerator below its man-size clutch and brake-pedals — tricky it might seem, but David seemed very happy with his new toy.
The entries embraced three open Singer Nines, Peter Hull was driving appropriately a 12/50 Alvis, Wood his modified high-chassis Invicta, Roger Collings and Lees their Bentleys, but the only 30/98 was N Streeter’s nice 1922 fast tourer. There were half a dozen Frazer Nash drivers to show how it should be done, W Mahany’s 1100 HRG was a Godfrey-link along with Barry Clarke’s Austin 7/GN, and the Goose’s AJS was out again; spectators’ cars included a very smart Roesch Talbot. The results must tell the rest. — WB
VSCC Provisional Results:
1st class award: A Jones (A7); 2nd class awards: A Marsh (A7); A Ritchie (Riley); C Hamilton-Gould (Ford); 3rd class awards: T Rosoman (A7); T Threlfall (BSA); Touring award: A Bennet (A7); Saloon award: P Stanton (A7); Light car award: Miss A Marsh (A7)
1st class award: D March (Bugatti), P Gardener (MG); 2nd class awards: A Moore (FN-BMW); B Savile (Singer); R Wheatland (Singer); 3rd class awards: R Smith (MG); A Pugh (Frazer Nash)
1st class award: P Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer-Nash); 2nd class awards: M Garfitt (FN-BMW); T Tarring (Frazer-Nash); 3rd class awards: W Mahany (HRG); J Bevington (MG); C Pack (Riley)