Vintage Madresfield

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On September 6, Rosemary Adams and her team again put on driving tests on behalf of the VSCC’s Midlands Section on the historic drive of the Madresfield Estate, off the Upton-on-Severn/Powick Road. It is a wonderfully relaxed event, enabling spectators to look out for ‘new’ cars and watch the antics of the drivers as they pit themselves against five tests.

A notable new entry this year was TP Brewster’s 1923 Anzani-engined Deemster light car, rather low-geared he said, although that may be an advantage in DTs. In the slow/accelerate test, David Marsh made no mistake this time; never has a Brescia Bugatti been so pedestrian, nor picked up so well. Hall’s Frazer Nash Super Sports also accelerated well, and very impressive was the fast lady in her loud lnvicta, Miss Moss’s S-type proving to be highly capable. Then there were two Marendaz Specials to watch, and the entertainment of seeing Anabel Jones’s GE Cup Model A7 have an even better fit of the hops than last year, although surely it is not run on beer?

Paul Tebbett slid a bit on braking his Mulliner A7, but the wet forecast for the day had by then begun. Bullett had his ohv GN going nicely, and it was good to see Mrs Shapland out again in her 10/23 Talbot, which showed quick response to her throttle-foot. Luscott-Evans thrust forward a vital lever to encourage his Trojan, although I thought the ignition on these cars was adequately advanced if the starting-Sever was left alone. Lemon in his 30/98 made no mistakes in the first frolic, nor did the similarly-equipped Julian Ghosh.

Marsh’s Ulster A7 was jerky here, maybe because it apparently had a standard engine. The driver of another GE Cup Model wore a funny hat, as horseman do to prevent injury to the cranium in a fall, a Riley Gamecock was skittish under anchors in the rain and the small boy checking that clutches were not slipped in the slow-running test had to run beside Cartwright’s Riley Ulster Imp. My companion admired the styling of Gathercole’s Riley Imp and Miss Lemon’s Chummy A7 leapt up and down with impatience in that go-slow, during which Mrs Brewster’s Nippy was truly unhurried, Kingham’s Derby-Bentley apt to gallop (well… its name!).

It was left to young Ben Collings to give a demonstration of true speed-trial stuff in the eight-litre Bentley, after Dowle’s DerbyBentley, with blower and twin SUs between its front dumb-irons, had made a bid for unofficial FTD. The eye was caught by a very sporting Crossley with external hand-brake and a 14/45 Talbot with an exhaust fish-tail. Roger Collings’s 1903 Mercedes behaved itself discreetly, only in as much at it was wearing mudguards and its back-entrance body. The usual “beauty show” was abandoned due to lack of entries. W B