The other 24 hour classic
Brooklands throbs once again to the noise of its biggest weekend of motor sport
A heartening sight at Brooklands in June – a packed grandstand, although the occupants had a view spectators didn’t get pre-war as the seats were right across the Finishing Straight looking up the Test Hill. It was the Double-12 meeting, where among sputtering veterans and ire-breathing aero-monsters a lone Silk Cut Jaguar reminded us there was another 24-hour event going on that weekend, at Le Mans.
A co-operation between the Museum and the VSCC, the D12 mixes speed trials on the Mercedes-Benz World track with concours d’elegance and driving tests on the Members Banking, and the age range is wide open, which meant Corvettes and Humberettes among the Vickers jets. Reminding us of 50 years of the Cobra there was a class for the Anglo-US classic; the one which broke a half-shaft over the top of the Test Hill had only to be pushed yards to what was the Members Tearooms, as it’s now the AC factory.
Tim Jarrett topped the driving concours results in a highly appropriate Frazer Nash TT Rep which raced here pre-war, while if it weren’t for Mac Hulbert, Morgans would have whitewashed the speed trials.
David Pryke’s Riley-engined 4/4 bested the sports car class, Gary Caroline was fastest vintagent and Sue Darbyshire fastest vintalady, both in Super Aeros, a model honed on the Track. But Raymond Mays was clearly looking down to urge Hulbert on in ERA R4D, as he put almost 4sec between himself and Pryke.
On the Hill it’s more about commitment than speed – he who hesitates is last. Once again the Sinclair C5 club came, but seeing the crash helmet and proper handlebars on the one that tackled the hill I wasn’t surprised when it bolted up the daunting slope. Not the running gear Sir Clive installed, I think.
Among the club displays I fancied a Giugiaro 1750 Alfa prototype I’d never seen before, while Club Lotus brought the menacing black Lotus transporter. Roger Collings was out in his ‘new’ 60hp Mercedes, the supercar of the Edwardian era, while by the paddock pumps, where it must often have stopped in the past to satisfy its appetites, stood the Birkin single-seater Bentley – its last outing before its amazing £5m sale at Goodwood. Let’s hope it will be at next year’s Double-12 too, though the auctioneers are keeping tight-lipped about who has bought it.