VSCC Prescott

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Whenever the VSCC takes over the BOC’s Prescott hill for the day, it provides one of the highlights of the vintage year. On August 2, an entry of 228 was proof enough.

Practice was held in slippery conditions on Saturday, and there were some casualties. One Bentley driver was released after brief medical attention, and Mrs Gordon was taken to hospital with minor injuries after losing her ‘Grannie’ (998cc JAP-A7).

There were 20 Edwardians present, including Ben Collings (Veteran Mercedes 60) and a Peerless which required a replacement axle-shaft before it could run. Continuing statistically, there were 60 vintage sports car entries, 82 1931-39 sports cars, 31 vintage racing cars, 33 1931-39 racing cars and two post-historic racing cars. They managed to fit in two runs apiece in six hours, starting at 11.00, which reflected well on the marshals, many of whom were from the BMRMC.

During the lunch break, president Bruce Spollon and Lord Raglan, who had driven from Wales in his Type 51 Bugatti, introduced Sonia Rolt, who unveiled a plaque commemorating her husband Tom, brothers Eric and BrigadierGeneral Giles and Cecil Clutton, without whom Prescott could never have evolved as a hilIclimb course (the first BOC meeting took place on April 10 1938).

On this occasion, Anthony Mayman, a huge Zoller blowing at 27-28 lb/sq in between his legs, set FM (41.63s) in ERA R4D. Quickest vintage car was Freddie Giles’ two-litre GN (43.55s), best naturally aspirated sports car Roger Collings’ 8.1-litre Bentley (46.61s) and the Sam Clutton Award for the most rapid Edwardian went to 12.8 litres of 1908 GP Panhard (54.76s), which proved creditably consistent… In this latter class, young Ben Collings was thought to have beaten his father’s best time in the Mercedes (56.07s).

The Peter Hampton Tankard for best Bugatti was won by Cardy’s covetable GP car (46.70s).

Class One was filled with many Ulster A7s and two replica GE Brooklands models, victory going to Bukin’s low-hung Ulster Special (52.61s) while best vintage time was set by Newell’s modified 1929 Ulster (55.83s). In Class Two, Dunn’s Riley Special, its small lamps perhaps a sports concession, beat a large field quite comfortably with a good 46.25s run. Knapp’s 1930 Frazer Nash took the vintage section (50.68s). In Class Three, Guy Spollon tied up the honours with his 2.5-litre Riley Special (47.27s), and J Giles’ AC/FN (48.50s) was best vintage. Bronson’s blown Riley took the big sports car class (47.27s), another to achieve consistent runs; the aforemention Roger Collings topped the vintage contingent. Goldsmith earned a trip in the ambulance but was soon released for a second run in his Bentley, and the blown Avon-Bentley was second to Bronson (46.07s). The well-supported class for 1100cc racing cars was won by Campbell’s Austin-Fiat in 47.98s (best vintage Bishop’s A7, 48.37s). In the 1500cc division, Ricketts’ ERA R1B led with a 43.27s climb, and Harper’s Morgan upheld vintage and cyclecar honours (46.85s). Mayman and Giles shared the Class Eight categories, ahead of Spollon’s ERA R8C and the Caesar Special (45.07s). The over 3000cc racing car class went to Guy Smith’s Frazer Nash-Alvis (42.71s), the only challenger being Burrell’s eight-litre Bentley-Royce (47.53s), its bonnet packed with machinery and the blower giving some 10 lb/sq in boost. Here, of four vintage ‘giants’, the Lovell-Elkhart (47.99s) vanquished Biggins’ Vauxhall Special (49.66s).

Starting methods by the very quick varied. Mayman, with his lightning gear selection, was very smooth, just like R4D’s engine note; Ure (R9B) was careful; Stephens (R12C) was jerky; Moore’s GP Bugatti was well-controlled; Walker’s Caesar was excellent; Freeman’s Aston suffered mild back axle judder; Day leapt away with tail-sliding acceleration in R11B. W B