Vintage Prescott

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On July 28 that looked-forward-to VSCC hill climb meeting took place, sponsored by Brooks, using the 880-yard short course. Prescott is a ‘slower” hill than that at Shelsley Walsh but it has many testing bends and if it is somewhat less steeped in history, being 33 years younger, it possess a pleasant “picnic/ social” atmosphere uplifted on this occasion by bicycle races and a jazz-band.

Two outstanding happenings were the presentation to Mike Quartermaine of a trophy to commemorate all those years during which he has been a competitor at many venues, Brooklands included, in his 1924 30-98 Vauxhall (fastest vintage sports car in 1946, in 60.78sec: 1996 time, 56.02sec) and the first appearance of Geraint Owen’s aero-engined 6 1-litre Riley Special, road equipped with starter, running as a sportscar the firing-up party for which had been held a few days beforehand (47.66sec). I have a fond memory of 77-year-old Quartermaine — after racing the 30-98 at Silverstone he said “I will now revert to road-equipment”, raised the windscreen, and drove home…

This year’s VSCC meeting commemorated the Club’s first post-war one there although it had been to Prescott by grace of the Bugatti OC since 1938 The 1908 GP Rata was also there in 1938 and in 1948 it took Clutton up in 60.47sec: this time Simon Williamson got the old warrior up in 57.22sec. There were rather a lot of nonstarters but with an entry of some 250 this hardly mattered, and a very large spectator attendance matched a fine day’s sport. Of the sports cars the 1100cc class was won by Reg Nice’s s/c Ulster A7 (50.76sec) from Bulkin’s 803cc Austin (51.01 sec) The quickest in the 1 1/2-litre class was S Smith’s 1929 Frazer Nash (45.89sec), beating Wakerley’s Rapier (47.80sec), a vintage highlight, as Smith led overall and erased his own 1993 vintage record. Bruce Spollon’s 2.4 Riley took the up-to 3-litre class (47.40sec), followed by Painter’s s/c lib-litre Maserati (47.51sec), best vintage lime by Cautley’s 2.3 Bugatti (47.51sec). and the over-3 litres class was won by Bronson’s s/c 2.7 Riley (44.18sec), below his last year’s record, and Ben Collings did well to net second and best vintage, in the 1930 8.1-litre Bentley (45.56sec).

Next, the Edwardian class, with Roger Collings leading in the impressive 19-litre aero-Mercedes (51.11sec), ahead of Baker’s 10-litre Schneider (52.12sec) which traditionally won on handicap. The sportscar classes were extremely well supported.

The small racing-car class was a win for Dr Gray in the Hardy Special (44.06sec), run close by Fitzmaunce’s remarkable s/c A7 which took the vintage section (45.85sec), breaking Salome’s record. Again, a superb entry Best pre-war car was Ricketts in the 1 1/2-litre class with ERA R1B in a time 42.80sec, 0.73sec outside his 1993 record. Here Dunn’s s/c Riley was second (43.34sec) and the vintage victor was the GN Spider, Leigh coaxing it up in 47.65sec, with a rare Rally next, in 48.29sec. Jon Giles upheld AC/GN honour by taking the up-to-3-litre racing car class (45.45sec) from the ERA/Riley (45.77sec), the vintage best having been done by the AC/GN as overall winner. It was left to Mark Walker in the class for the big racing cars to not only set FTD but to break his 1995 record with the 6-litre Cirrus-aero-powered Parker-GN (41.79sec), a rousing climb that vanquished Guy Smith’s general record by 0.04sec, Mark even beat Boswell’s time (43.33sec) in the 11-litre Bequet-Delage and the only post-vintage runner, Angela Hucke’s exciting 4.9 4WD Type 53 Bugatti needed 55.62sec. The Parker-GN was too much for Gilbert’s Cooper-Bristol by 2,74sec, one of only two contesting the post-war racing-car class.

Best Edwardian, as the Mercedes-Maybach and Schneider decently stood down as having aero-engines, was Lemon’s Vauxhall (56.13sec), taking the Sam Clutton Award and the Peter Hampton Award went to Ian Dutton’s T35 (46.13sec). The fastest girl was Mrs Sophie Walker in the 1929 sports Frazer Nash (49.59sec) with consistent ascents, from Mrs Tomlinson in the sports 2.7 Alvis (50.33sec).

In spite of being busy building his aeropowered Special “Mr Drake”, Dr Owen had been able to repair his Morris-JAP “Jemima” after its Loton Park blow-up, Miss Peacop, in the 1100cc sports-car class, clocking 55.50sec in it. An interesting hybrid 1926 sports Donnet-Zedel recorded 66.01sec after a very slow first ascent.

The 1920 Calthorpe did 73.18sec, that Delage, both standard cars, 63.20sec, but the handicap winners in these classes were Hunt’s Riley (53.42sec) and bone’s standard s/c 1750 Alfa Romeo (49.36sec). W B

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