One Day in September

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One Day in September

THE Tunbridge Wells Section of the 750 MC had the commendable ideal of re-running that Club’s first competitive event, the Committee Cup Trial of 1939, on September 9th, the organisation in the hands of Grahame Fullalove, who used his 1934 A7 saloon and even produced a booklet of the original regulations, reports of the pre-war event, and so on. The idea appealed to 27 entrants and on the day 23 tried as many of the original hills as possible. Eighteen were driving A7s of one sort or another, from Reg Nice’s Ulster to a number of Specials, and Leslie Bellamy, one of the early 750 MC members, took part driving a 1930 Model-A 3.3-litre Ford saloon. Those lacking vintage cars joined in with modern stators, and it was splendid to see such 750 “pioneers” as John Moon in a Triumph Acclaim and the organiser of the original event and the Club’s first Secretary, Bill Butler, in his Vauxhall Astra, while Norman Perreri came all the way from Norfolk in a Datsun Cherry, bringing many souvenirs with him. During the day Bill Butler was seen to pull from his pocket a silver cup, remarking “In all my years in the Club, this is the only thing I have ever wan” — his 3rd place award in that 1939 mud-plug, in which he drove an A7 Ruby

saloon. I remember that event well, competing with my slightly modified, four-speed A7 Chummy with singularly little success, after I had been made to put the “comp” tyres on its front wheels, as such aids to grip were not allowed on the driven wheels. The re-enactment commenced correctly, opposite Brands Hatch, at the Clearways Café which was opened specially, and lunch was when at the Vigo Inn at the top of Hognore, where the Club had tea at a later event in 1940. There were the same number of entries as in 1939, when 20 A7s were due to battle against a Ford 8, a Singer Le Mans coupe, a Fiat 500, an F-type MG Magna, an Austin 8 and a Morris 8 two-seater, together with the Rover Ten Special in which photographer F. J. Brymer won the 1939 Associates’ Award. This year all the old hills, except Beachy Lees, now virtually impassable, and Coldharbour where the original downhill brake test was held (I recall having great difficulty curbing the Chummy!) which could not be located, were used; that is, Carman’s Ash, Hognore, White Horse, South Street, Drane and Buckland’s Bank. And rather as Miss Spanner drove her A7 in the 1939 trial, so Mrs Woodland competed in 1984 with her 1937 A7 tourer. An excellent piece of nostalgia, worth repeating. —W.B

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