VSCC Welsh Weekend

This fixture of the Light Car & Edwardian Section of the VSCC has earned the reputation of being one of the most enjoyable of the many well-run events of this remarkable club. It took place this year on April 1/2, with an entry of 73, some cars being shared between two drivers. The Edwardians, dwarfing the little cars only in size, were admitted when there were fewer events available to them than is now the case, but are a welcome aspect of Welshing on this diverse weekend. This time they were represted by Peter Cattell’s twin-cylinder 1908 Riley, its broken crankshaft repaired, a Seabrook RMC, Fenton’s 1912 Buick 28, the President’s lively Singer Ten, Roscoe’s big Overland 69R, the Metz, and two more Buick tourers. Even veteranism, in the guise of Marcus Crooke’s wonderful 1904 6 hp Wolseley, which ticks over without protest, if need be, until its petrol runs out…

Of the vintage light cars, where else could you see such variety than in a VSCC LC & E happening? On the Saturday there were the driving tests at the Abernant Lake Hotel at Llanwrtyd Wells. It began to look as if it was to be a Battle of the A7s; and so it proved, Peter Gledhill (A7) winning the Llwynbarried Trophy. But the A7 drivers who outnumbered it did their best. Richard Threlfall tried hard, the Bereton Chummy likewise, clouting a marker, the Thorpe Chummy lost its prop momentarily but was restarted instantly, nor was Diffey sparing his mother’s immaculate Chummy which he had substituted for the Humber he had broken… Dr Sellers’ A7 was hoodless but some had umbrellas about their cars, like Tebbett’s Mulliner A7 which was neatly driven, slandering the Welsh weather, which produced sunshine all day.

There were a few calamities. Rosoman had the bolts shear in the 9/20 Humber’s propshaft, but got going again. Less fortunate was Tom McEwen’s GN Vitesse which discarded a valve seat after coming nearly 120 miles to compete. But GN prowess was upheld by the crackling of Bullett’s 1920 tourer and Trevor John’s Legere 1922. Somehow one hardly thinks of a GN as a cyclecar but these were represented by Whitehead’s “new” Tamplin, and a non-competing Warne was hiding in a van. Back to the light cars, after a tow-start the 1923 Deemster, on beaded-edge tyres, performed for Terry and George Brewster. The Gwynne 8s of Ian Walker, and the Woodburns made an effective trio and to add variety Rouse had his Singer Junior saloon and Hallam his Empiremodel AC, and both the Trojans were quiet, smart and going well, Piercy’s the ex-Carlisle Utility. Rosie Shapland was being sensibly sedate in her 10/23 Talbot.

On Sunday clear skies again, for the trial. The hills were a bit too dry and the VSCC had banned the steep Caefagu quarry climb that Seymour Price had provided previously, but he had produced a testing selection nevertheless, at Delyfan, rising into woodland off the A470.

Alex Marsh proved it was possible by cleaning it to “20” in his 1925 A7, followed by Diffey going well and Dr Sellers making “19” in his A7 Chummy. But Threlfall seemed to lack some “wellie” and stopped at “14” and before we left the Overland had ceased forward motion at “3”, the Edwardian Riley likewise. In my neck of the woods it was a nasty hump rather than gradient that took its toll, of the longer-wheelbase cars, such as the GNs, and Moore’s M-type MG with spare wheel on tail, a nice Buick tourer and, rather heavily, a Riley 9, but which the disc-wheeled, MG-like Morris Cowley tourer of Leslie Wheeler avoided by taking it at speed. Georgina Kynaston was not afraid to let her 1921 5CV Citroen’s engine rev hard, which produced a clean ascent, on beaded-edge tyres, too. Then, what better than lunch at “The Bell” in Llanyre and, for me, a ride home in Collings’s Mercedes-Maybach (see page 486), to conclude another excellent Light Car Weekend, organised this year by Tim Jones.