W B Scott's happiest day

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A knock on my door, and there were the Jehovah Witnesses. Did I believe in God? I said I’d been baptised and confirmed…

It recalled a time when I had interviewed the all-round sportsman and racing driver W B ‘Bummer’ Scott. We’d started talking when – a knock on his door. He went to open it and in his stentorian voice I heard him yell, “There is no time to talk about God, we are discussing racing at Brooklands”.

Scott had a shed at the Track and had raced in an Amilcar Six, a 2-litre GP Bugatti (below), a ‘flat-iron’ Thomas Special, one of the famous 1½-litre GP Delage cars with which he won a 120mph badge, and in a 500-mile race shared an SSK Mercedes-Benz with his attractive wife, who after she remarried raced a Frazer Nash-BMW.

In 1930 Scott’s Delage and Malcolm Campbell’s sister car had the same handicap of 1min 26sec in the 25-mile Gold Star Handicap in August. Campbell led on the first lap but Scott overtook him on lap two and won, after two laps of 121.47mph, 0.9sec faster than Campbell’s best.

Scott told me that “once in top gear” he “never lifted his foot from the accelerator,” but he was disqualified for failing to keep below the red line at the Fork, which was there to give faster cars a clear passage.

“I had the depths of misery,” he said, until his protest that Birkin in the 130mph ‘blower’ Bentley single-seater was coming up behind him and would need space below the red line. Previously Birkin had been penalised for driving above the line but was reinstated, his excuse being that he was in an unfamiliar Bugatti and from habit took the fastest path. Birkin spoke in Scott’s favour at the Stewards Meeting, and he was reinstated. Scott told me he experienced the height of happiness, far greater than when, in 1924, he scored the winning try at Twickenham in the Inter-Varsity Rugby match.

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