The meeting has really become something special. Blessed in recent years with great weather the crowds really do turn out and this year was no exception. It's not always been the case though. I vividly remember attempting to race a Riley special on a windswept Silverstone whilst snow lay on the track side at the approach to Copse. It just happened to be the meeting I chose to introduce my then girlfriend to the glamorous world of motor racing - trying to pass myself off as some kind of apprentice Grand Prix driver. After six hours of holding on to a Styrofoam cup as her only source of heat she saw through the facade. Miraculously she agreed to become my wife but she scarcely comes motor racing anymore!
This meeting was a pleasant contrast. We crested the the bridge over the circuit and the car parks were packed. One can't help but be impressed by the new 'Wing' complex by its sheer size if nothing else. It's in sharp contrast to the racing the VSCC was celebrating today.
There was a beautifully presented Dunsmore, a car I'm not particularly familiar with. Now with three children, a mortgage etc, etc I'm constantly on the look out for a car that offers the vintage experience, is relatively family friendly and doesn't need rebuilding every 100 miles. The purists would baulk at the Dunsmore but its Alfa Monza looks certainly caught my eye.
Having a ten year old in tow is a good excuse to visit the model retailers. Within minutes of arriving £16 was dispatched and we were owners of two ERAs - the collection grows!!
We always head to the BRDC stand to view the races (unbelievably for years they used to keep this stand closed, policed in case somebody might creep in!) and it was packed. The first highlight was to witness Twyman take his Alfa to victory in the race for pre war racing cars and specials. The Alfa looked and sounded fantastic. Where they find these cars I don't know but with minimalist body work at the rear it really evoked the adventures of Nuvolari in the Targa Florio or Mille Miglia in the late twenties.
It was chased home by a very quick Alvis special. I can't get enough of these Alvis specials as I was fortunate enough to race one a few years ago. I'm guessing this was a 4.3 (increasingly rare) and probably blown.
|Walker's race winning Lotus 16 (photo courtesy of gdphotographics)|
Not far from the front was Will Nuthall in a Cooper Bristol. Son of race preparer Ian Nuthall, he is still relatively new to historic racing but so quick. I'm big enough to admit I'm envious of his talents and in awe at the speed and commitment he threw the Cooper into the corners. I was told he suffered a misfire under acceleration, if it wasn't for that he would have been dicing with the leaders.
Historic motor racing goes through trends and at the moment in my opinion the current one is for sports cars. Once the support racers for the Grand Prix cars now it's the race everybody talks about and looking at the market place the prices for sports cars reflect this. Watching Julian Majzub trying to tame the horse power of his Sadler is essentially the appeal of historic racing - constantly sideways, correcting, drifting it's a lesson in car control.
He never lost his head as he was chased by a Cooper Monaco, arguably the polar opposite in design to the Sadler. When he took the flag the lady next to me shot from her seat in delight, I think she was Julian's companion and it was the first time she'd seen him race.
We returned to our car through the paddock marveling at the transporters as much as the cars ( I thought we were in a double dip recession?) and stopped for a welcome coffee and snack at the HGPCA truck. It was the end of another successful VSCC Spring Start meet but the beginning of another fascinating historic race season.