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If you are a fol­lower of mo­tor­sport from the days when men were men and when what went on in the cock­pit was vis­i­ble from the spec­ta­tor bank, there is re­ally only one event which gives you two full days of pre-1961 rac­ing ac­tion; the Roy­croft Tro­phy. 2014 was the fourth time the Waitem­ata Branch of the VCC have run their pre­mier rac­ing event and again, Hamp­ton Downs was the venue for this cel­e­bra­tion of rac­ing for proper cars. With fields of pre- and post-war sports and rac­ing cars, For­mula Ju­nior, sa­loons and a demon­stra­tion of clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cles, there re­ally was some­thing for ev­ery­one. There would even have been a Du­rant, but in­stead I swapped driv­ing du­ties for of­fi­ci­at­ing ones. It’s eas­ier on the car if not the nerves!

The Roy­croft fam­ily have do­nated one of Ron’s tro­phies and given the name of the event but for the ma­jor­ity of the rac­ing, the only re­ward was a choco­late fish. To keep with the Roy­croft con­nec­tion, Terry Roy­croft was again com­pet­ing in the car his fa­ther made fa­mous, the type 35A Bu­gatti, now back in Bug-Jag con­fig­u­ra­tion, the Bu­gatti en­gine and gear­box have been re­moved for safe­keep­ing, re­placed with Jaguar units so it is now run­ning as our older read­ers will re­call it when it was cam­paigned by Ron.

The event saw two very sig­nif­i­cant New Zealand cars run­ning; Richard An­der­son had brought the newly re­stored RA-Van­guard Spe­cial out for some ex­er­cise and the rear-en­gined Hec Green mas­ter­piece looked very Auto-Union-ish in its sil­ver liv­ery with wire wheels. Also present was the North­land Spe­cial, which be­gan life in 1950 as the Jack­son Spe­cial and holds a spe­cial place in lo­cal mo­tor sport­ing his­tory as the win­ner of the first New Zealand Grand Prix driven by John McMil­lan, held at Ohakea in 1950.

To keep a pe­riod feel to the pits, mod­ern cars were shep­herded into a leper colony all of their own, well out of sight and lo­cal car clubs were in­vited to bring their old cars and were parked up in the pad­dock area. The Auck­land branch of the VCC had their vet­eran Re­nault Chara­banc there on the Sun­day and gave rides in the lunch break. I would imag­ine the blue be­he­moth now holds the out­right record for the slow­est lap of the track, as­sum­ing some­one had an hour-glass there to time it! Spec­ta­tors with pre1970 cars also had the op­por­tu­nity to do a lap be­hind a safety car and the queue on the dummy-grid seemed to go on for­ever; this seemed a rather pop­u­lar pas­time!

If you needed to take a break from the on-track ac­tion, hide from the sun or were look­ing for food and drink, the cafe­te­ria had a jazz band play­ing out­side, South­wards Mu­seum had brought its Alfa-Romeo 6C1750 Za­gato along to be dis­played while in­side were books, tin signs and plenty of other dis­trac­tions on sale. Garth Thomas had dis­played his par­tially com­pleted wooden framed JAP en­gined re­cre­ation of the Jap­pic, a rather cu­ri­ous cy­cle­car which raced and held sev­eral records at Brook­lands. It looks to be a rather fright­en­ing con­trap­tion to drive but I have al­ready vol­un­teered my ser­vices as re­serve works driver! With this parked along­side the ex-Yeo­man Credit Moss/ Brab­ham Cooper Cli­max, the evo­lu­tion of the rac­ing car was right there for all to see.

The rac­ing on Satur­day came to a pre­ma­ture fin­ish due to the tragic ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing the Cooper For­mula Ju­nior of Len May but Sun­day morn­ing saw the event con­tinue, al­though as a mark of re­spect for their friend and col­league, the For­mula Ju­nior con­tin­gent de­cided to with­draw. De­spite this, the event was a great suc­cess and I can only hope that the Waitem­ata VCC team de­cides to con­tinue with this unique cel­e­bra­tion of the older rac­ing car. There cer­tainly is place for it on the mo­tor­sport cal­en­dar.

Oliver Mid­g­ley’s Ford Model A Spe­cial showed the ef­fec­tive­ness of a bit of Amer­i­can grunt by win­ning the Waitem­ata Tro­phy race

Grant Clear­wa­ter’s Ze­phyr suc­cumbed to head gas­ket fail­ure be­fore the end of the meet­ing

Ro­man Schiff’s blown Ri­ley was one of the best look­ing pre-war cars on the grid

Ian Wil­liam’s Austin Seven Spe­cial didn’t quite look this good by the end of the weekend

Not your nor­mal pit scene. Steve Alder­s­ley’s su­per­charged Austin Seven is pushed out ready for ac­tion, while Anne Thomp­son’s 14.25 litre Dar­racq sits along­side Olivia McNair’s lit­tle De­lage

Terry Roy­croft pre­par­ing for ac­tion in the Bu­gatti-Jaguar

The RA-Van­guard lives and breathes again

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