As the Editor of “Motor Sport” was unable, at the last moment, to attend, this report was written for him by J. Lowrey
Sunday, September 27th, was the occasion of the second war-time gathering of enthusiasts at the Rembrandt Rooms, Kensington.
Proceedings commenced around the hour of noon, as the enthusiasts began to arrive, and it was cheering to see that quite a few managed to travel by road. Basic rations presumably brought one sidecar outfit, two two-wheelers and a trio of tricars; the four cars present were apparently shared between the Press, the Trade and the Disabled.
The main interest in these functions really lies in the opportunity they offer for enthusiasts to meet and talk, and certainly there was no lack of talk on this occasion. In fact, the mural decorations loaned by the Motor, Autocar, Klemantaski, Eric Sidney and others, seemed to be almost overlooked, interesting though they were. There should really be some award for the person making the longest journey to attend these functions; I don’t know who would have claimed it, but quite large numbers of enthusiasts had journeyed (by rail) from such places as Derby, Bristol and Leicester.
The lunch, around which the occasion was built, is scarcely relevant to this journal; suffice it to say that it did not show signs of having been cut by Lord Woolton’s austerity campaign.
After the toast of “The King” had been honoured, the Chairman, Mr. Percy Bradley, called on Gordon Wilkins to propose a toast to “The Forces.”
After some initial diversions, in the course of which he endeavoured to instruct Mr. Pomeroy in the correct method of plotting b.m.e.p. against the time of high tide at Barking Creek, Gordon Wilkins settled down to his main theme, this being the importance of civilians planning a post-war world that heroes will be glad to live in. His description of the be-whiskered and be-tricycled Herbert Stancer bullying the Government into dropping all ideas of anti-cyclist legislation with the slogan “There are ten million others like me” caused great merriment, but there was general appreciation of his emphatic declaration that, if we are to enjoy any rights or privileges as motorists after the war, we must fight for them, now and in the future.
Replying on behalf of the Forces, and especially on behalf of those enthusiasts who are overseas, Major Alan Hess (dissociating himself from his more air-minded namesake) looked forward to brighter days ahead. Typical of the attitude of many Forces’ enthusiasts was his remark that, when things were at their worst during the Battle of France, the one thing that really worried him was whether he would ever get to Brooklands again.
Proposing the toast to “The Press,” and particularly to the absentee Editor of Motor Sport, Mr. Boddy, Peter Clark scattered bouquets almost as widely as he scattered his neatly-typed notes! The Autocar was, Strangely, unrepresented at the gathering, but tribute was paid to H.S. Linfield’s great war work on behalf of the Sport – a subject which was frankly rather outside his normal line of business. Tribute was also paid to The Light Car, and to The Motor, which appeared to be represented by the complete staff, save only the assistant office boy! In particular, the remarkable cooperation which had led to the Technical Editor of The Motor being permitted to contribute to Motor Sport was held up as a shining example of a spirit all too rare in the motoring world.
Since the Editor of Motor Sport had departed on some entirely fictitious business to a very distant place, the task of replying to this toast fell to Mr. F.J. (Vox) Findon of The Light Car. It would perhaps be tactless to repeat his tales of the goings on of Messrs. A.P. Bradley and A.C. Armstrong when they were editors of that journal, since their respective disclaimers were so violent as to suggest that these narratives were not altogether untrue.
Rising to propose a toast to the organisers, A.F. Rivers-Fletcher and S.H. Capon, Laurence Pomeroy fully lived up to his reputation as an orator. The fact that the only parts of his speech which I recall are quite unprintable is a reflection on me, not Pomeroy!
In a brief reply, Capon said that all the thanks the organisers wanted they already had, in the presence of about 150 enthusiasts at the meeting. He hoped future gatherings would be equally well supported.
“Top of the Bill,” Raymond Mays spoke next. He paid tribute to the helpfulness and absolute fairness of Percy Bradley, as Brooklands Clerk of the Course, and looked forward to meeting him again “on business” in the future. Finally, as Chairman. Mr. Bradley gave some interesting information concerning Brooklands, present and future, though he emphasised that he is no longer in any way associated with the Track authorities. He is convinced that, although the outer circuit is not serviceable at present, it will be restored after the war; also, recent road-building will make possible limitless variations on the still-intact Campbell Circuit. It was particularly interesting to hear that certain unspecified work had been done, rendering noise at the Track even more audible to the super-sensitive residents on St. George’s Hill, but that the Government had agreed to be responsible for the consequences!
So the luncheon came to an end and the audience departed into the ballroom air raid shelter for a very varied film display. A welcome diversion, even though Raymond Mays (in glorious technicolour) did burst into unpremeditated flames (on the screen), and the Champion film persisted in tying itself into a true Gordian knot. Perhaps the projector lacked i.f.s.?
All good things must come to an end, and with a series of informal tea parties the gathering gradually broke up. We look forward to another such meeting in the not too distant future, and, meanwhile, perhaps Capon will be able to hold some smaller gatherings to keep alive the 750 Club’s “first Sunday in the month, open to all” tradition.