VSCC Madresfield

For a relaxing day when pre-war cars tackle, not too seriously, a series of driving tests, Madresfield would be hard to beat, and in this year’s September sunshine it was an ideal venue for social meetings and study of the older automotive form. It all commenced with a slow run into an accelerative sprint, in which no-one actually stopped in the pedestrian bit (slipping the clutch or braking not permitted), although a Lambda nearly did and Mitchell’s Rolls-Royce 20 woodie was probably the slowest of ’em all, although the Harcourt-Smiths’ 12/50 Alvis knew how to hang about to order — Mrs. H-S elected to stop at the wrong time after accelerating, but perhaps she felt it would be imprudent, as the Secretary’s wife, to do too well. This time two 30/98s had two 3-litre Bentleys to contend with, Pack’s four-seater and Harper’s nicely styled two-seater. David Marsh and his son shared the Brescia Bugatti, Shaw’s Marendaz Special was there, he electing to run round it twice in the test in which the pressure in a front tyre had to be checked, Boyd’s Light-15 FWD Citroën was in Concours d’Elegance pristine condition, and Franklin had the sunroof open on his 1929 10/25 Rover. Erskine’Erskine 50 saloon rather galloped in the slow run bit, but Mrs. Brester’s A7 Nippy was very good here, as were the 12/50 Alvises of Harcourt-Smith and Jane Arnold-Forster. Tebbett had the windscreen flat on his Riley Gamecock — perhaps he thought the drag of its mudflaps to be a bit unfair and was compensating for them. Sharpe’s very smart TT Replica Frazer Nash behaved well, Hennequin’s nice 1922 11hp Riley whined to itself, Ron Barker had time to rise in his seat in the monumental Renault 45 and Bullett, clad in shorts, got the 1920 GN to reign-in well.  Britnell’s 1931 Sunbeam 20 motor-carriage was notably brisk, Ferguson’s 1928 Amilcar went slowly when told to do so, and Mike Garfitt sensibly adjusted the engine tick-over to suit the test In hand, his Frazer Nash-BMW having returned from beating modern BMWs at a BMW Club event. Collings’ Mercedes and Harrison’s Renault represented the pre-1914 section and Walker in the GN Special had no trouble with chains, at all events in the first test, and Conway, Jnr was in charge of the Type 44 Bugatti, Bell in the blue Aston Martin Ulster, and of the many A7s, Miss Grey’s has clearly not given up smoking! — W.B.