Madresfield Vintage

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Sun, a big crowd (it’s a “freebie”, as they say) and 86 entries divided into four classes made these driving-tests by the Midland Committee of the VSCC as enjoyable as ever, on September 5. The long straight tarmac road in the peaceful and historic estate, where once speed-trials took place, was adapted to five tests, including one with a “Le Mans” start, but with engines running. Five 30/98s, including Sir James Briscoe’s “new” 1923 car, took on three Bentleys, and Ben Collings in the vintage 4 1/2-litre Bentley beat his father in one test, by dint of heavy, smoke-promoting braking.

Incidentally, it wasn’t only the more skittish of the A7s (18 entered) which amused the onlookers with flea-like hops in the slow-running test. The Deemster of TP Brewster was present again and ran at near-zero mph in the appropriate part of this Test 2 and other individual cars included an OM Superba, Brenner-Smith’s Marendaz Special, two 1100cc HRGs, a rorty Lea-Francis, a lone M-type MG, and Neil Murray’s brave effort with a 1905 De Dion with mother-in-law’s seat up behind. In the Edwardian class Lemon had his 1913 E-type 30/98 and Tebbett his lofty 1914 P22 Charron (Madresfield is inviting for such cars).

In the slow-run Miss Lemon’s 30/98, just not snatching its transmission, showed that vintage sports cars need not be fierce. Bereton’s A7 Chummy at first refused to start, then ran away, like a startled horse, a lhd model-T Ford tourer (there had been a T-Register rally in Wales that week-end) “lost its prop” momentarily in reverse, Miss Parker’s two-seater A7 Swallow got rather hot, and the President brought some rather graunchy dogs in his FN-GN. One A7 Ulster wore small back wheels, no doubt the beter to accelerate, Baker’s 1927 R-R 20 was the epitome of the silent motor car, and the drivers themselves judged who should have the Montagu Trophy for the best-liked entry — Lemon’s 1913 30/98. W B

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