Seaside Vintage

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The VSCC added to its wide repertoire a speed-trial along a seaside promenade in 1987, over Weston-Super-Mare’s Marine Parade, as pioneered at the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, in 1901 and at Bexhill in 1902. Weston is a pleasant venue, even if the course is now only a half-kilometre long, and entries have risen from 91 to 130. VSCC FTD has been made by Jaye (Attenborough Special): 15.65s, A J Mayman (ERA R4D): 14.70s, Rod Jolley (Giron-Alvis): 15.54s, A J Mayman (Lotus 16): 14.33s and A J Mayman (ERA R4D): 14.34s. It was a relief, after a half-hour delay at the Severn Bridge’s one-lane system (propaganda for the new bridge?) to get to Weston, where the grass paddock and enormous car-park were both completely full of cars and trailers.

This time VSCC President Bruce Spollon drove ERA R8C to FTD in 14.70s, taking the Doc Taylor Award. Jaye in the 2-litre ex-Beadle Alta he shares with Baldock was next quickest (14.72s), and 18-year-old Ben Collings did a magnificent 15.53s in the family 8-litre Bentley, best vintage time, and faster than the LSR Sunbeam “Tiger” at a previous meeting. He changed up at “4000 and a bit” rpm and crossed the finish at 115mph. Miss Burrell set fastest time by a lady, 17.79s, in the 8-litre V12 Bentley-Royce, Burrell doing 16.15s in his other hybrid of this exciting ilk, aided by a supercharger. Miss Jo Moss, having run a big-end on her Invicta at Cadwell, was lent the Collings’ 4½-litre Bentley (19.68s), thus promoting young Ben Collings to the big one! Two other Altas ran, Redmond in the ex-Hugh Hunter 2-litre (17.64s) and Margulies with the ex-A J Cormack (another Brooklands driver still with us) car, who clocked 18.52s on his only run.

Of the sports-cars, Densham’s 1930 Aston Martin (19.50s) won both sections of Class 1, as did Jo Moss, in Class 2, Howatt’s hybrid Morgan (18.29s) took Class 3, with Beebee’s Lea-Francis scoring the vintage win (21.55s) and Class 4, for big ‘uns, was the preserve of Ben Collings, who was only 0.21s slower on his second run. He defeated the blown Burrell Bentley, the Avon-Bentley, Birrane’s Bentley, Goldsmith’s Bentley, Felton’s 2.9 Alfa Romeo, and the rest of this well-supported class.

Of the racing cars, Barry Foster’s well-known blown MG Midget led the 1100cc class (19.25s), while best vintage was Noble’s A7 (21.25s and only 0.01s slower on its next run!). Sayer’s blown Riley (16.34s) scored in Class 6, in which the vintage winner was Benfield’s 1924 Alvis (21.52s), opposed only by the quite sprightly Silver Hawk (23.88s). Spollon had the over-1500cc class tied up, where Hulbert’s blown Alvis took the vintage category, (18.84s) and of the ancients, Moore’s 1907 21-litre Metallugique-Maybach led with a good 20.74s run, Roger Collings’ 1903 Mercedes, also in touring guise, second (24.54s). The only postwar entry, Clement’s 1953 Cooper-Bristol, took 17.38s. The MG Midget Rivers Fletcher was to have driven broke its differential coming to the line, and Bronson’s supercharged Riley failed at first, recovering to clock 18.73s. On a demo run Henry Body’s 600cc Douglas motorcycle treated us to a 15.06s performance, going over the line at 110mph. Seven VSCC class-records for the course were broken. A good day, which those in the crowded stands seemed to enjoy.

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