VSCC'S Seaside speed

Having the twisty sprint at Curborough and a straight speed-trial at Colerne, three years ago the VSCC decided to follow tradition and hold a seaside speedtrial. It went to Weston-Super-Mare, where sand-racing had been run over a mile course in 1913, followed by a 1/2-mile speed-trial over a combined road and Promenade course after the war. It wasn't until 40 years ago that two cars were permitted to race together, but safety dictates only one at a time over the present, slightly curving 1/2-kilometre course.

It was 40 years ago, too, that I survived a very fast tow in the Butterworth AJB behind a 41/2-litre Bentley, which threw a rod from its V8 Steyr engine but still made best unblown time as Archie Butterworth coasted to the finish. That was the year, too, when Motor's Editor arrived from Wales by paddle-steamer; times change and although I came from Wales in the Sierra XR 4x4 this year, it was via the Severn Bridge ...

This time (October 8) Mayman was less fortunate than Butterworth had been in 1949, for while R4D was being warmed-up, the Zoller supercharger broke internally and the black ERA was put back into its Citroen-towed trailer without a run. Bruce Spollon, who is the next VSCC President to be, had had trouble with his ERA in the IoM, so had brought only his Alfa Romeo. This left FTD wide open. It went justifiably to Rod Jolley in the Giron-Alvis, in 15.54 seconds.

D. Taylor's Aston Martin took Class 1 (20.05 sec.), Champion's Meadows Frazer Nash second and fastest vintage car. In Class 2, P. Jackson (328 BMW) beat Matthews' Delahaye with a run in 18.55 sec., with best vintage time by Goldsmith in the Collings' 41/2, Bentley. Mrs. Ricketts did well to vanquish Rides' Riley, her well-booted 11/2-litre Riley Special, clocking 18.72 sec., and McGrath must have been well pleased when his A7 was best vintage, quicker than the Riley-Amilcar and a FWD Alvis, in Class 3. Class 4 went to Felton's Monza Alfa Romeo, which was too much for the Bentley-Royce in spite of its tyre-smoking take-off. Time, 15,2 sec., best of the sports cars.

The racing cars in Class 5 were dominated by Bishop's low-hung A7 (19.65 sec.) and in Class 6, Sayers' well-known blown 11/2-litre Riley (16.67 sec.) was too much for Venables' blown Magna-based slab-tank MG. It was left to the lone 3-wheeler, Shotton's 1929 Morgan, to show the way to the glistening (as always!) 200 Mile Race Alvis. All were pre-1941 racing cars apart from the Djinn, so Classes 7 and 8 were combined, Jolley's Alvis making a fine job of FTD, from Lord Raglan's T51 Bugatti, Wills' 1924 2-litre GP Bugatti on be tyres was faster than Ghosh in the TT Vauxhall, of the sparse vintage entry. Finally, on this perfect October day, VSCC President Collings, who had opened the course with the Mayor and his lady in Dowell's smart 1922 24/60 hp Sunbeam landaulette, set an Edwardian time of 29.52 sec. in the Zust, beating the 32.47 sec. of a Model-T Ford Speedster. Of the few real specials, the Allt'cox nearly stopped but the exciting GN/Ariel was in better form and Brewster was in his single-scat A7 Chummy. WB