Syston Park Speed Trials
Pre-1939 cars and motorcycles tackle the hillclimb in an authentic and enthusiastic re-creation of one of the UK’s early motorsport spectaculars
’The aim of the present day event is to recapture the spirit of the original’
The annual Syston Park Speed Trials, near Grantham, will come as a great shock to anyone who thinks that Lincolnshire is devoid of steep hills, as Pre-War vehicles take on the surviving hillclimb section of an historic motor race course.
Last year saw the public revival of the event, where motorsport events had taken place between 1906 and 1939, following a successful private launch party in September 2015.
The aim of the present day event is to recapture the spirit of the original, with a classic caravan for the commentary box, original trophies and some of the cars that took part in earlier eras at Syston Park. Many of the participants and visitors wear period costume and there are a few retro stalls and locally sourced refreshments, including ice creams sold from a bike – and there’s not a high-vis vest to be seen!
New for the 2017 event was a car park reserved for classics opposite the pre-war paddock, which attracted a wide variety of vehicles from the 1930s onwards.
Participating Syston originals included the unusual 1937 1100cc Fry Freikaiserwagen, the first British mid-engine racing car that ran at the Syston Inter-Varsity meeting in March 1938.
Among the cars on display was the rare 1939 V8 Raymond Mays Special Sports Tourer that also took a run up the hill. Mays’ father, TW Mays, won the 12hp class in a Humber at the inaugural 1906 hillclimb, accompanied by seven-year-old Raymond, and RM would later try out his prototype ERA R1A on the Park’s course in 1934, as well as taking part in the Speed Trials there himself.
hillclimb in style. Coupé tackles its afternoon A 1933 972cc Singer Sports 1934 Nigel Stennett-Cox drove his superb Ford V8 40 Dagenham Belle from Norfolk. No 46 Cream Cracker, a 1935 940cc PB, was a MG works team trial car, and is seen here returning downhill from its afternoon run.
Visitors to this year’s Barn-Find display at the Practical Classics Restoration Show at the NEC will recall Mark Fishpool of Peterborough’s 1935 Lanchester Woodie – now a runner!
Carol Corliss drove Stewart Wilkie’s 1939 Raymond Mays Special Sports Tourer from Thurlby, Lincolnshire, for display at the event but was persuaded to give it a run up the hill.
Among the cars that had appeared at Syston Park in period was this stunning 1925 Bugatti with twin rear wheels, driven by T Lee, seen here being flagged away for its afternoon run.