miscellany, October 1997

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Top Mark

There is no need to emphasise, to those who have seen Mark Walker in action, his exceptional skill, neatness and judgement. He was at the top of his form at VSCC Prescott, making outright FTD with the 6.1-litre Parker-GN (41.40sec). Freddie Giles in the GN Special clocked 43.86sec, which even Bruce Spollon could not equal in ERA R8C (41.61sec), and Ben Collings wiped up his class in the 8.1-litre Bentley in a record 45.01sec. S Williamson’s great 1908 12-litre GP Itala won the Edwardian class on handicap but the fastest here, in the aeropower division, was the 10-litre Hall-Scott Th Schneider, in a commendable 50.36sec. Lord Raglan took the Peter Hampton Bugatti tankard in his T51, in 46.17sec.

While delighted in the success of’ the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Coys Silverstone events, we should not look with disdain at those small meetings of older vehicles, put on by village councils and similar bodies. There was one of these in a field about 20 miles from us the other Sunday, to which I was glad to let friends take my two A7s and where the parade ranged from these to two E-type Jaguars, commercial vehicles, tractors, and stationary engines. We must be very diligent in trying to prevent these happy events and more especially the fun of driving to and from them, being in any way curtailed by the bureaucrats in Brussels. I am not altogether convinced that even the might of Mercedes-Benz, in protecting the freedom of its m museum vehicles to use the public roads, could influence the German and other governments in this respect, unless we and the FBWVC all pull together to protect our right especially as it is in Germany where some restriction on the use of old cars are already evident?

Vintage Shelsley Walsh

The annual onslaught of pre-war cars up historic Shelsley Walsh hill took place in July, the venue much as it was in 1905 except for Recticel energy absorbing barriers at Kennel bend and the lower Esses. The only accident befell Patrick Blakeney Edwards who rolled the GH Martyr at the top Esses, without serious personal harm. Bruce Spollon made FTD in 35.33 with ERA R8C and Mark Walker set a new vintage record only 0.02sec of a second slower in the 6.2-litre Parker-GN. Anther class record was established by Julian Bronson in the Riley Blue Streak Special, in 37.34sec, and Dick Smith’s Frazer Nash Super Sports another, in 39.16sec in the 1500cc vintage category. The famous 1923 GN Spider, which exudes Shelsley tradition, was a fine sight as David Leigh got it up in an under-40sec ascent, using methanol and not Davenport’s one-time methylated spirits brew.