A happy knack...

The VSCC has a happy knack of finding old motor cars fun, without going to extremes. Indeed, this is especially the case with its Light Car Section (which takes in Edwardian cars to provide them with outings of which they would otherwise be deprived). The Welsh weekend, which took place on March 28/29, has long upheld this ideal and was deemed better than ever this year, under the leadership of Richard Marsh and with hill sections arranged by Seymour Price.

Centred around the Abernant Lake Hotel in the sleepy ex-spa town of Llanwrtyd Wells, it provided the 58 entries with driving tests in the hotel grounds on the Saturday afternoon, the annual dinner and prize-giving that evening and a tough trial on the Sunday, which commenced in rain which eased up later. This part of the fun covered a restart on a stiff hill in scenic country and the usual observed sections. That in my own fields, from which the main trophy takes its name, involved driving up a short climb reduced to a quagmire by the tractors, round an aged tree, down over a rather startling grass hump and, for those who got that far, over another hump and up a straight, steep grass section. The markers for the latter commenced at number 10. Tyres were let down, to be re-inflated afterwards to legal pressures (with an electric pump in the case of the Gooses’ AJS). The only clean climb I saw was done by Simon Price, in an A7 Chummy. Odd comments, such as “Would you practice your bouncing?”, were to be heard. Some, like Barry Clarke and Jane Tomlinson in a shared A7 top-hat saloon, discussed the best route to take before attempting the section, to be rewarded when Barry got to 18, with Jane bouncing for him from the front seat (easier to exit from!). She scored 13, with Barry bouncing in the back. Not quite far enough to merit the Mansell-style wave which Price gave when his determined onslaught took him to the summit.

The Edwardians soon stopped on the initial section, but Jim Cartwright’s 1914 Metz 22, the occupants devoid of any weather protection, did slightly better than the Buicks, as did the Marion. Then another A7 Chummy proved that number 12 could be reached by such cars and Lea’s Chummy bettered this by one more marker, engine blipping, hood up. Rosoman’s 9/20 Humber rushed at it but stopped at 5, then Tebbett’s A7 fabic two-seater ascended to that point whereas Mike Bullett’s Chummy was stationary by marker 6. Sudjic, in the two stroke Aero, the sound of which someone likened to that made by a swarm of bees, scorning lowered tyre pressures, made it as far as number 7, which meant not rounding the tree. Neither did Elizabeth Fynn’s hooded Chummy (5), while lots of revs and pace rewarded artist Peacop’s 1930 Morris Minor tourer with no better than a trip to 7.

Suzanne Hirst found that her Fiat 501 was only able to make 6 before spin set in, but its battery coped well with several engine-stalls in reversing out. After John Goose in the AJS had reached 5 and got back to the start, Katy Goose leapt from its dickey-seat and scored 6, as did Chris Gordon and then Anna Gravatt in the same Chummy Austin domestic bliss sustained!

Paul Baker’s Fiat 501 was only able to get to marker 5, but the chief marshal himself wound up Carlisle’s push-rod ohv GN when he lost its prop at the start, after which he got a 7, as did Dr Gray’s GN . . after some all-night work on it by Keith Hill. Riddle later broke the back axle of his push-rod ohv GN, which Carlisle took home on his trailer while Edward drove Tony’s GN home. Friendly chaps, these ‘chain-gangers’.

Not too many casualties were reported, but we hear that Richard Threlfall’s A7 Chummy broke its back axle. Jane Arnold-Foster had no such trouble with organiser Richard Marsh’s similar car. It all ended at The Bell in Llanyre, where the locals were treated to the sight of many strange motor cars and the fine spectacle of Knight’s 1909 Riley 12/16 on its Volvo-towed trailer, accompanied by an apparently recently discovered spare back axle. The Llwyn-barried Trophy for 1992 was won deservedly by Martin Shaw’s 1930 Morris Minor.


Kate Hutchings Trophy: A Thorpe (A7). Beaded Edge Trophy: T Carlisle (GN). First Class Awards: P Moore (MG-M): M Shaw (Morris Minor); P Colledge (A7); B Clarke (A7): R Threlfall (A7); Lisa Bullett (A7). Second Class Awards: R Hutchings (A7); G Ravenscroft (Marlborough); Jane Tomlinson (A7); D Lea (A7); B Gray (GN); Amanda Lemon (A7); Di Threlfall (BSA). Third Class Awards: Anne Gravett (A7); Geroria Kyneston (7.5 Citroen); W Urry (Riley 9); P Diffey (Humber 9/20); P Livesey (A7); S Price (A7).