Test­ing times at Brook­lands Mu­seum

Pre-war ve­hi­cles – and their brave own­ers – are put through their paces

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Out & About - David Simis­ter

The birth­place of Bri­tish motorsport buzzed to the sound of Austin Sev­ens and three-wheeled Mor­gans dur­ing this lively sea­son-starter for the Vin­tage Sports Car Club.

While not the first event the club has held this year – that hon­our goes to the Measham Rally – it’s the first of eight driv­ing test events the club is hold­ing across the coun­try this year, giv­ing own­ers of pre-war cars the chance to pit them­selves and their ve­hi­cles against a se­ries of tricky mo­tor­ing chal­lenges.

The tough as­sign­ments laid on around the Brook­lands Mu­seum site in­cluded mak­ing it up the gru­elling Test Hill and then stop­ping at a pre­cise point at its sum­mit, and ne­go­ti­at­ing a tricky slalom course laid out on the Mem­bers’ Bank­ing.

En­trants were eclec­tic, rang­ing from Jim Dal­ton’s 1926 Fiat 509 to Ed­mund Burgess’ 1924 Bu­gatti T13 Bres­cia, with Austin Sev­ens, Ri­ley spe­cials and M-type MGs mak­ing up the ma­jor­ity of the en­tries.

VSCC spokesman James Taylor says that while change­able con­di­tions on the day kept spec­ta­tor num­bers down there was a very healthy num­ber of cars com­pet­ing in the tests. ‘Brook­lands is the birth­place of Bri­tish motorsport, so it lends it­self per­fectly to this sort of event’, he says.

‘For many of our mem­bers it’s their first chance to get their cars out, blow the cob­webs away and have some fun, which is why it’s al­ways very well sup­ported by driv­ers, not just from the sur­round­ing re­gion, but from right across the coun­try.’

This year’s com­peti­tors in­cluded Michael Brown, who’d brought his 1930 Ri­ley Nine along from nearby Croy­don to take part in the tests.

He says: ‘It’s great fun – you get to do lots of handbrake turns and slid­ing around! It’s a chance to hoon about in old cars and be a bit silly, and do the sort of thing you wouldn’t be able to do on the road. It’s mess­ing around with old cars – that’s what makes it so en­joy­able!’

’Brook­lands lends it­self per­fectly to this sort of event’

The cen­tre­piece of this year’s Driv­ing Tests was a dis­play of pre-1940 cars in Brook­lands’ pad­dock, in­clud­ing many be­long­ing to spec­ta­tors not tak­ing part in the chal­lenges.

Not all the cars com­pleted the chal­lenges laid out for them. Nick Bell’s 1928 Amil­car C4 was one of the en­trants that needed a few help­ing hands to make it up the Test Hill.

Dou­glas Monro’s 1929 Ri­ley Nine (lead­ing) suc­cess­fully tack­les the bank­ing tests.

Alex Pilk­ing­ton eas­ily man­aged the Test Hill in this 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750.

For­tu­nately no rev­ers­ing was re­quired for Gary Caro­line’s 1932 Mor­gan Su­per­sports.

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