WB Rumblings, November 2005

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The most meritorious performance in the VSCC Western Rally was made by Miss Susan Hill, navigated by Robin Harcourt-Smith, in the one and only 1923/29 Helix. The Martin Trophy and special navigators award was won by John Potter and Brian Hughes in a 1927 12-50 TG Alvis.

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Two Davids got mixed in the reference to Peter Binns’s cars: it is David Filsell who is his ace navigator. David Thirlby the GN/Frazer Nash expert who is currently writing the definitive history of the lnvicta cars.

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Having mentioned how in the days of the open road The Autocar got its staff to describe their favourite runs, including those of Sammy Davis, the sports editor, I have been asked which the latter, as a racing driver, favoured; he opted for London, out by the Old Kent Road, via Eltham, Farningham and Wrotham, which reminded him of horse-folk deriding the very early cars he drove along it to Whitstable — “history in every village”.

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There is news that a recreation of one of the 1906 GP Darracqs is up and running impressively in New Zealand. It has an original 12.7-litre engine, said to have come from Wagner’s car. Three Darracqs started in the 1906 GP the other drivers Hemery and Hanriot, but all retired with engine failures. The car might come to Europe next year if the 1906 French Grand Prix is to be commemorated along with Szisz winning for Renault, just as Alonso is doing in today’s F1 contests.

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The Targa Rusticana Rally, which began as a tough, mainly Welsh event run by the Oxford University Motor Club in 1954, has survived, this year’s 31st event having an entry of 80 pre-1974 classic and historic cars. The only breaks have been due to the Suez crisis and in respect for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. The 2005 programme contains 10 praiseworthy items from Motoring News and six from Autosport. One has to respect a club which scorns PR and sponsorship. There were and are various classes but tradition listed the three top finishers, who in 1954 drove MG TD, Austin A30 and Citroën cars. This year the top finishers were: first, Roy Gillingham/Matt Fowle, Lotus Elite: second, Ian Crammond/Nigel Raeburn, Mercedes 280SL: third. Rob Dance/Graham Dance, Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT.