Mr Boddy’s comprehensive history of the Brooklands phenomenon contains a minimum of reference to winter sports at the site, but such activity would have been feasible on January 27, after a couple of inches of snow had fallen in the early morning. Although some of the traffic on the M25 had apparently been trying to drive through the central barrier, the turnout at the track seemed to be the usual maximum entry of 120 cars, though the Veteran and Edwardian group was a very late addition to the winter’s day, comprising Rodney Hickling’s fresh 1917 Dodge and Marcus Croome’s 1904 Wolseley. In the Touring Car class, Hugh Gibson’s 1924 Rhode was a rare treat, being the vital evolutionary link between the sporting ohc cars of the early 1920s and the rather stolid Meadowes-powered Hawks Cl the late 1920s which were anything but fliers. Gibson won a second-class award with his by a Policy of not knocking cones over. F Sloan’s 1925 2-litre Ansaldo was another example of a rare breed; that one became extinct in 1936, deprived of a Place in the sun by the shadow of FIAT’s mass-production of very similar, but cheaper, cars.
There were signs of a thaw at about lunchtime, but it failed to catch on, and the puddles were freezing over again by mid-afternoon. The cold affected a number of cars’ carburation: David Marsh’s 1925 Brescia Bugatti was running particularly indifferently, and Geraint Owen’s Morris-JAP had to be run at frequent intervals to ensure it would run at all. The noisy little car ran to a second-class award eventually. There was a similar problem with a 1950s Antarctic expedition which took some little grey Ferguson tractors to replace the more usual Husky dogs; to ensure morning availability, the Fergies had to be left running all night. Having no particular claims to thoroughbred pedigree, Pat Stocken’s 1924 Trojan ran perfectly all day, never failing to start at the first pull of that long lever by the driver’s right knee. Trevor Tarring’s was the only Frazer Nash (of five) to find its way into the awards list. Solid axles were clearly leading to terminal understeer on the sheets of ice, despite the wonders they were doing for traction.
Despite the chill, it was a most enjoyable day, thanks mostly to the flexible approach to weather problems of the VSCC’s competitions secretary, Neil Murray.
Other awards winners were: First Class: Robert Leigh (1928 Austin), Brian Savile (1927 Singer), Chris Hudson (1930 Austin), Roger Firmin (1936 HRG), and David Robinson (1931 Riley). Second Class: Mike Dawes (1929 Riley), Peter Spours (1934 MG), Trevor Tarring (1927 Frazer Nash), David Rolfe (1930 MG/Riley), and Andrew Craven (1934 Austin). T J T