The 1980 VMCC Saundetsfoot
WI IEN I remarked in September, in reporting the Shobdon Air Display( that I like to see one such event a year. it may have sounded as if one air-show was enough. What I meant was that this sail! seem to fit into a year tit. reporting on other motoring events. The same applies to Vintage MCC meetings. But I saw a bit of this year’s Saundersfoot Run, organised by the West South Wales Section of the VMCC. It was the 25th Anniversary of the Run, so a morning route, tinted, was added to the usual afternoon ride, in all a distance of 137 miles, although the older machines went direct from the Automobile Palace in Llandrindod Wells, when they had been accommodated overnight, to Llandovery, the usual starting-point. We went to spectate in the non-rust Reliant Kitten, as the nearest thing I had to a working three-wheeler, although in fact I regard it as my present-day (o.h.v.) Austin 7. Incidentally, Mini Metro or not. here is a British small-car that only sniffs at petrol, uses little oil for its light-alloy engine, and in our case has been notably dependable in more than 14,000 miles. The longer Saundersfoot route went to the Elan Valley via the back lanes and past the magnificent scenery of the artificial reservoirs thereat, where some of those now rare red trust) warning triangle-signs can still be seen at the bends, before
joining the Aberystwyth Mountain Road. Watching, in torrential rain, at the 1-in-8 hill up to this junction John C,odd arrived first on the 1925 ex-Handel Davies Pendine sprint long-stroke Sunbeam. He was followed by Jim Hyatt, who took the hairpin wide on his 1916 Model-11F Ilarley-Davidson. Peter Harding seemed tithe before time, and he opened aphis 1933 Model 9A Sunbeam, which is thought to be the famous “End-to-End” machine, effectively. Johnny Thomas then came lip on his 1931 three-speed open-frame Scott, changing down neatly, and the Bells, who had come all the way from Kings Lynn, ascendt.’d well on their 1935 Model-9 Sunbeam, untroubled by carrying No. 13.
The first sidecar outfit to appear was Chris Thomas’ 1929 CDS Triumph, Lovegrove changed down a gear on his 1949 BSA Bantam 1)1. Mason’s 1928 Model-D Arid, two up. was pulling well at low revs., and Newton made a fast approach on his 1928 WO c.c. Scott outfit, with his young passenger, who experienced his first Saundersfoot at the age of ten days! After this the rain made picture and note taking almost impossible. However, we saw Kelly’s 55100 Brough-Superior (reputed to have a Matchless engine) go steadily by, Powell’s 1939 Ariel Silver Streak take it neatly. mid Edwards’ 1953 BSA CI1G go up really quickly changing up before the summit, whereas Stcx:kwell’s 1945 NO Arid took it veer slowly. Owens’ 1930 Model-13 Ariel was pulling strongly, while Harvey’s 1929 CDS Triumph outfit sounded healthy in spite of its low up-hill pace.
Riders come to this Run from all over the country and there were three riders from Holland, the Buttons, respectively on a 1925 Model-18 Norton and a 1930 Rudge Special and Fritz on his 1938 VB Arid sidecar machine. The oldest machine entered was a 1911 single-gear Triumph and recently rebuilt machines included a 1926 Light Solo Sunbeam, a 1952 S8 Sunbeam, a 1954 B31 BSA and a 1954 Model-19 Norton that had been in a shed since 1968, in contrast to which Roach’s 1929 Model-8 Sunbeam is in daily use. There were 80 entries in all, and Felix and Rosina Burke have competed in every Saundersfoot Run, on the, 1950 Mk. 1 Triumph Thunderbird and 1937 Steib chair.
Down the road at Cwmystwyth we found Ken Fazakerley, the VMCC Membership Secretary, operating the check-point and we followed Derek Burns cruising at 401 m.p.h., two up, on his 1931 Model, Sunbeam into the typically Welsh town of Tregaron. From here riders took the once almost impassable route to Llandovery via Soar-y-Myndd, sadly, although very scenic, it is now a wide tarmac road, having been relaid in connection with the building of the new reservoir. Fortunately the Tregaron-Abergwesyn road has not yet been so treated and we hope it never will be, because it is a tourist attraction and a well-known rally route, it brought us down to first-gear at one point but a gentleman who had chanced getting his big caravan up the 1-in-4 hairpin had no trouble, his towing car being a Ford Cortina Good country this, after the summer rubber-necks have lefi it to the sheep and the buz-zards. — W.B.
V-E-V Miscellany:— The query relating to the “Watford” version of the Austin 12, has brought in a good deal of coriespondence, including a letter from a reader who has one of these saloons. a 1930 model, in a dismantled state. It also drew a comment from someone else about some cars he saw in a private collection in Letna, Czechoslovakia, which included a 540K Mercedes-Benz, a FWD Cord, and a circa-1930 Austin 12/4 said to have been an ambulance in Pragha. The same reader wonders what happened to the P3/8C Alfa Romeo once stored in Dacca; did it go to America? Someone in Wimbledon is anxious to discover anything that is known about the past history of a 1932 MG 13, Reg. No. HH-6711, which a Mr. Robson drove in the 1934 Experts Trial. The car was then painted white but was later sprayed dark blue or green and was run at Brooldands in the 1934 ICC Members Day meeting, by A. Gillett. It was apparently Mr. Gillett’s first appearance in a competition event but he seems likely to have been a relation (probably the eon) of T. Gillett of AC long-duration record-breaking fame. From then until the 1960s all records have been lost, although rumour tells of B Mr. Tongue racing the MG at Southport sands (unconfirmed), and it went to Scotland lathe 1950s. The present owner is rebuilding the car and has been trying to trace its history, especially what it did at Brooklands, but says letters to the Brooklands Society have gone unanswered. If we receive any comments they can be forwarded. An old crane, powered by what looks like a Lister stationary engine with two external flywheels and made in Ealing is derelict in Wales. The Rolls-Royce EC held an interesting talk in Brecon recently, by an old chauffeur, inviting the VSCC. This involved us in a run in the Editorial 12)20 Calthorpe at some 25 m.p.h. average and
about 20 m.p.g., in the course of which we returned home “over the mountain” via Upper Chapel, a journey which proved that this 1924 light-car will climb a 1-in-4 gradient and restart on I-in-6, two up. . . . The Brooklands Society resumed its winter film-shows last month, the first s.w being given inside the precincts of the old Motor Course, by courtesy of Bass Charrington & Company, whose demolition of the Aerodrome village has presumably been forgiven. Incidentally, it was once claimed that Percy Bradley, then Secret, of the JCC, later Clerk-of-the-Course at Brooklands, instituted these Club film-shows, sometime in the 1920s, when private-view theaues only held about 50 people. Is there a prior claim? The Brooklands Society Annual Dinner will be held in Woking again this year, on November 27th. A misprint in the book review of “Brooklands Bikes in the Twenties” rendered Worters’ name incorrectly; I intended the reference to be to J. S. Worters whom, as a reader recalls, used to be lutown by Robin Jackson as “Weary Willie. and the only person with the muster-touch where the overhead
camshaft Clutter-Lea was concerned. In Auckland, New Zealand, John Hearne, who owns a 1930 Brooklands model Riley Nine and the ex-awn-Scott 1923 Type 23 Bugatti, is rebuilding a circa-1907 60 h.p. Darracq, which is mechanically complete but has a seized gearbox. The car has a six-cylinder 7-litre L-head engine with D6 Simms-Bosch magneto and a cone clutch and four-speed gearbox. It came new to New Zealand and could be a 1905 car. The chassis number seems likely to be 69, that number being stamped on a front dumb-iton, and the engine number is thought to be 11779. The bore and stroke are 112 x 120 mm. and any data would be appreciated. — W.B.