Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noon-day sun. But on January 11/12th it was VSCC members out all night on the annual Measham navigation event, based in Hereford. The entry of 59, in classes for vintage sports-cars, PVT cars, and Edwardian and vintage light-cars, was 11 down on last year. At the start two of the Ulster A7 drivers were dealing with lighting problems and nine were reminded that if some vintage cars now sprout some very modern lamps for these night frolics, their dynamos do not always cope. The night was dry and clear but snow-blocked roads on the second part of the event had caused a few hasty alterations to the route.
At the third Control, manned by the VSCC Light Car Section with a barbeque to keep these officials alert, in a lay-by at Trumpet beside the A438, Knill-Jones was seen to have removed the off-side panel of his 12/50 Alvis’s screen for improved vision, but had to change over to a fresh battery, and squealing brakes heralded the approach of Sudjic’s Hotchkiss coupé, which had come from Scotland to take part. Three Bentleys had left the start together. Roger Collings navigated by Filsell, Holden’s 3-litre after adjustment of its cone clutch, and Harris’s 3-litre, but they were by now spaced out. Reg Nice had a very useful car, in the guise of an A7 Chummy with Nippy engine, four-speed gearbox, 5.6 25 axle, and 12-volt electrics, in contrast to Bird’s 20/25 Rolls-Royce motor-carriage, which looked as immaculate as if it were in a showroom. Bullett’s A7 Ulster had the usual 45-deg SU and a four-speed gearbox.
At the halfway pause, hosted by the RAF with a vast, clean hangar complete with workshop facilities, arrowed and marshalled by chaps from the Huddersfield & DMC, Freddie Giles had retired his Boulogne Frazer Nash with low oil pressure, Shirley’s International Aston Martin was only just joining in, Keith Hill was restoring illumination to his Crouch-Helix, but Collings’s Bentley roared in triumphantly. Ducker’s 12/60 Alvis had a lovely passenger in its dickey-seat, Lister’s Frazer Nash had Christmas tinsel decorating its bonnet, and one must commend Fynn for running his 1926 A7 Chummy with its normal scuttle-mounted lamps, matched by Jane Arnold-Forster’s A7 “top-hat” saloon with standard headlamps. Worse, Teague’s A7 Ulster had to rely on a single large spot-lamp to show him the way.
Due to snow, three sections of the proposed route had to be abandoned, a difficult situation for the officials at such brief notice. Apart from finding the Cantral by map reference, competitors were penalised for too early or too late arrival thereat, and even for approaching from the incorrect direction, making this a tough exercise. On the second stage Roger Collings suddenly found the Bentley without ignition, but skilful rewiring at the roadside had it quickly on its way.
On the whole there was little evidence of mechanical distress as the mad VSCC-men set off to see how the snow lay in the wilds around Paincastle, scene of an observed hill in the RAC Small Car Six-Day Trial 67 years ago. It may be mad, but it is still great fun! WB
Results: Measham Trophy: D Johnson/S Harvey (1928 12/40 Lea-Francis). PVT Award: C Tomlin/A Tomlin (1932 12/60 Alvis). Jeddere-Fisher Award: C Gordon/W Ackworth (1930 Riley 9). Novice’s Award: R Huggett/T Harvey (1930 16/50 Humber). Meritious Performance Award: Miss Arnold-Forster/B Clarke (1920 A7). Other First Class Awards: R Collings/D Filsell (1928 4 1/2-litre Bentley). Second Class Awards: A D Jones/A Jones (1927 30/98 Vauxhall), R Hurchings/P Selwyn-Smith (1937 328 BMW), J Potter/H Kettlewell (1930 Lea-Francis), K Hill/D Moseley (1923/29 Crouch-Helix), T Cork/P Cattell (1930 Riley 9), A Saunders/P Hoskins (1932 Sunbeam 20), G Tomlin/A Tomlin (1932 12/60 Alvis). Third Class Awards: T Jones/Considine (1925 30/98 Vauxhall), S Lister/I Williams (1932 TT Replica Frazer Nash), E Fynn/G Hyde-Fynn (1926 A7), M Parkin/R Parkin (1931 12/50 Alvis).