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Genuine Pre-war Brooklands Sports-Cars top the bill at this year’s Double Twelve

18 June 2015

The 2015 Double Twelve Motorsport Festival proved another fantastic celebration of motoring at Brooklands Museum this past weekend with Annabel Jones’s Frazer Nash Boulogne Vitesse named this year’s Overall Champion.

Co-hosted by Brooklands and the VSCC, the weekend combined Speed Trials on Saturday; Driving Tests on Sunday; and Concours judging plus action on Test Hill on both days, alongside stunning car displays and a site packed with music and entertainment for all on both the Museum site and neighbouring Mercedes-Benz World circuit.

Download the Results from all three competitive elements of the weekend, as well as the Overall Double Twelve Awards and standings (CLICK HERE).

Going from strength-to-strength each season, Saturday’s Speed Trials was another great success, exhibiting a wonderful array of over 100 Pre-war Racing and Sports-Cars that regularly support the VSCC Speed events, as well as a most welcome Post-war Invitee to the Paddock in Marc Hanson’s pretty 1952 MG YB Saloon. The Morning Signing-On and Scrutineering processes were carried out efficiently as ever by our team of volunteers, allowing attention to quickly turn to the track action.

The MBWorld circuit is fast-becoming a favourite challenge for Competitors whilst the addition of the ‘Speed Trap’ at the end of the long start straight added extra intrigue to proceedings. A strong cross-wind throughout the morning kept the drivers on their toes, although thankfully the day remained dry and warm, the sun arriving by the afternoon Competitive Runs.

Before Practice, the particularly ‘tacky’ surface was highlighted in the Drivers’ Briefing – the circuit is used all year for Corporate Driving Experiences in modern machinery – and was put to the test by Yushan Ng’s Frazer Nash Super Sports as he displayed some fine ‘two wheel’ driving on his first ever attempt at the track. He was not to be deterred, however, and having safely rescued that attempt, he went on to secure 1st Vintage in Class, setting a new Vintage Record in the process.

There were several other notable performances elsewhere too, with experienced Historic Racer, Patrick Blakeney-Edwards displaying his prowess behind the wheel, topping the Sports-Car standings in his Frazer Nash with a new Class Record on his Brooklands debut, ahead of Club President, Tim Kneller’s Riley TT Sprite, himself only 4/100ths ahead of an in-form Jo Blakeney-Edwards’s ‘Nash and Annabel Jones, a Handicap Award winner. Tim Jarrett also re-wrote the record books piloting Alistair Pugh’s exquisite Frazer-Nash/BMW – last year’s Double Twelve winner – whilst Hugh Mackintosh continues his fine first season with his Hudson Super Six with another Edwardian Class victory. There were also expected Class wins amongst the Sports-Cars for regular challengers David Furnell, David Pryke, John Earle Marsh and Dudley Sterry, the latter setting yet another new Class Record on the day in his HRG.

The small capacity Racing Cars Class is ever the domain of Austin-based machinery and so it proved once more with Gary Bishop’s Swallow Special example just besting Gary Clare’s JAP-powered Shelsley Special ‘Grannie’, with Stephanie Wilton a Handicap Award winner, sharing the Kaye Petre Replica with sister, Francesca.

There was little surprise that the challengers for the ‘Fastest Time of Day’ crown were to be found amongst the more potent Racers with several familiar names from the VSCC ranks in the running. Following exhaust problems on his first Practice Run, Terry Crabb soon got to grips with ERA R12C and lay down the gauntlet with a stunning first Timed Run after lunch. Only the Alta of Ian Baxter and Julian Grimwade’s Frazer Nash could follow the Dorset man under the 42 secs barrier on the day; a severe transmission issue for Grimwade on his final Practice Run put paid to his challenge, although he gamely lined up to set a Competitive Time, starting in 2nd gear to still set the third fastest time of the day.

Crabb’s first Timed Run of 41.26 sec put him ½ second ahead of the Alta and with neither improving on their final attempts, this was enough to award the ERA the FTD victory. Continuing to show form in the AC/GN ‘Cognac’ Special, Tony Lees took the Pre-1931 Vintage spoils, ahead of Sue Darbyshire, once again in the Top Placed Lady Driver in her Morgan Super Aero.

Several participants of the Sprint joined a strong contingent of Pre-war Cars for Sunday’s Driving Tests alongside a host of Post-war Saloons and Sports-Cars as befits the annual Double Twelve Festival. As Clerk of the Course for the annual VSCC New Driving Tests, Kevin Lee and his experienced team ensured an enjoyable day of motorsport, with five different challenges located around the famous Brooklands Museum site, including the Members’ Banking, Finishing Straight and, of course, Test Hill.

With its modern day performance, Patrick Hadley’s Morgan +8 was a not unexpected overall winner, just ahead of the similar 1973 model of Alan Foster whilst Double Twelve regular, Steven Taylor topped a highly competitive Post-war Saloon Class in his Rover 3.5 Litre Coupe with Julian Barker’s Triumph Spitfire and Peter Baverstock’s MGB Roadster also enjoying Sports-Car success.

Competition was equally fierce amongst the Pre-war line-up, with Colin Reynolds following up a strong Speed Trials Debut with a Driving Test Class victory in his historic MG M Type and Alex Pilkington producing similar in the longer wheelbase Sports-Cars, getting the better of Neil Thorp’s Hudson Spikins Special in her Alfa Romeo 6C 1750. 2013 Double Twelve Champion, David Bracey made a strong start to his campaign in the Aston Martin Mk II to trail Simon Bowyer’s Lea-Francis P Type in the Pre-war Touring Class.

Alongside both events, Nic Waller and his experienced Judging Team were busy inspecting entrants in the prestigious Concours d’Elegance element of the weekend, from the Renault Alpine to original Pre-war Cars of the 1920s and 30s, boasting actual Brooklands Competition history and other stunning examples of both Pre- and Post-war Tourers, Sports-Cars and even Racing machinery.

Each car was awarded marks on a range of familiar Concours criteria, including both originality and condition of bodywork, interior, engine and chassis whilst a more unique ‘Sprite of Brooklands’ score was also applied, taking into account patina, Brooklands and general historical interest and overall character, all in keeping with the ethos of the Double Twelve Festival. Again one of the top performers in the 1962 Jaguar E-Type, Neil Manley and family were named the Best Dressed Crew of the Weekend with all adorned in 1960s styling.

Again there was little surprise to see a number of the high scorers of the Concours appear at the top of the standing of the overall Double Twelve Competition, with participants’ scores from two of the three elements combined to give an overall Double Twelve score.

Twelve of the weekend’s top scorers were then assembled before the Museum’s famous Edwardian Clubhouse for the presentation of the Double Twelve awards. Amongst them were representatives from all three of the weekend’s competitions, including two Pre-war Racers in the Frazer Nash Norris Special of Julian Grimwade and Paul Baker’s Richard Bolster Special, both able to boast period Brooklands Racing history. David Bracey’s Aston Martin Mk II and Colin Reynolds’s MG M Type were familiar sights alongside the Manley Jaguar and Bryan Smart’s Morris Mini Cooper, whilst Andrew Atherton joined the ranks in his well turned-out Austin 1800S.

There was time for one final consultation amongst the Judging Committee before Annabel Jones’s 1926/29 Frazer Nash Boulogne Vitesse was chosen as Overall Champion, following top score in the Concours and a strong performance in the Speed Trials. Second Place Alex Pilkington also took the Ladies’ Award after a successful weekend of Speed Trials and Driving Tests in her Alfa Romeo whilst Mark Garfitt found himself back on the ‘podium’ once more in his Frazer Nash/BMW.

Save the date now for next year’s Double Twelve Motorsport Festival, which will take place on 18/19 June 2016.