While the Assistant Editor was having himself a speed-orgy over the August Bank Holiday at the Bentley DC Silverstone races and the VSCC Cadwell Park Meeting, I looked at transport happenings nearer home. On the Saturday the VMCC had a run for those members who had camped in Membership Secretary Ken Fazakerley’s fields. After the Calthorpe had pulled itself up to St. Harmon’s in third gear, we watched the start. Flagged off by Rhayader’s Deputy Mayor, Mrs Weeks led away in her 1933 Morris Minor saloon, followed by the oldest motorcycle taking part, Alderson’s 1921 chain-drive SD Triumph, with gas headlamps, and a belt-rim rear brake as legacy from the earlier model that was belt-driven. Harris had a 1927 350 cc Humber, Baker and Brown each had two twin-cylinder, shaftdrive Sunbeams, and the entry ranged from Rose’s 150 cc James, which despite its small size carried a pillion passenger, to Rhys-Roberts’ 1,140 cc solo EX Royal-Enfield to Cordy’s 998 cc Vincent with twin front brakes and frontal fairing.
Mrs Salisbury, last year’s winner, drove her very smart 1934 Morgan 3-wheeler with lady navigator and her daughter, in smart leathers, rode a 1936 Velocette two-stroke with outside flywheel, Broadbridge was on a 1929 Scott, Isaac had another Velocette two-stroke but of 1931 vintage, and Johnnie Thomas’ son produced a 1929 Triumph sidecar outfit proudly displaying its make on its front number-plate. Cronin rode his 1937 600 cc Ariel outfit in crash-hat and shirt sleeves. displaying a “Duckham’s” sticker on the sidecar, Weeks was on his racing 1938 Cotton with 250 cc hairpin-valve-springs Rudge engine, and last to go was Tovey’s 1949 BSA, with faired screen and pillion passenger. The outward route took in the Staylittle hill and went over the BwIch y Cle Dam, to a lunch stop at Pisgah, near Devil’s Bridge, and the riders returned via the scenic Elan Valley route. There thas a barbecue that night, before a convoy-run to the Bishops Castle Traction Engine RaIIy on the Sunday.
This must be one of the best-organised Shows of its kind. The County of Salop Steam Engine Society not only had all 41 of the engines entered into the Show Ring, according to the knowledgeable commentator, but the variety was remarkable — vintage and post-vintage cars, ditto motorcycles, and commercial-vehicles (to a total of nearly 150), old bicycles with the riders in period costume, farm tractors, some 50 stationary engines, of which by far the largest was the 1907 Crossley gas-engine, but with 14 different makes represented, farm-machinery, a 71/4″ gauge steam railway, model traction-engines, and horses, all showing off their paces to the music of showground organs. The big fields at Bishop’s Castle easily accommodate all this, and the vast number of visitors’ cars, and as the traction-engines and steam-waggons paraded in the hot sunshine, announced by the traditional playing of Elgar’s “Pomp & Circumstance”, watched by the orderly onlookers, one felt that riots and other troubles were far away and that there is not much wrong with this little Country. . . .
Austins predominated among the vintage cars, including two early 12/4 Clifton tourers, and a Seven Mulliner saloon. There was one each of Rolls-Royce (Murcott’s 1925 PI two-seater) and Bentley (Jones’ 1930 41/2-litre, converted from a saloon), and the rarest car exhibit was Relph’s 1925 Cluley tourer, with distinctive “witch’s hat” hub caps. Seven Messerschmitt three-wheelers were on show and I noticed an early Bond and a T-60 Berkeley three-wheeler. The commercial vehicles ran from a Dodge hearse up to the 1941 D6 Caterpillar Crawler controlled by no less than seven levers. An Atkinson eight-wheeler and trailer, Costin’s 1950 ex-Regent Oil Co Thames tanker, with outside Pyrene fire-extinguisher and Horton’s 1936 Diamond-T were among those vehicles that could have come straight out of their makers’ factories, and a saddle-ridden Raleigh 3-wheeler with fabric taxi(?) body was decidely unusual. The VMCC had put on an immense display of the older motorcycles. The organisers are to be congratulated on the layout of the Show and for roping-off or fencing-off the more delicate exhibits. A memorable typically-British occasion, not to be missed. — WB.