Testing times at Brooklands Museum
Pre-war vehicles – and their brave owners – are put through their paces
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.