Replica Scoreboard Unveiled
Brooklands Reunion 2017
Sunny weather and a spectacular gathering of first class vehicles and machinery formed a fitting backdrop to this special 110th anniversary Reunion meeting on Sunday 13th August. The main focus of the day was the official unveiling of an exact working replica of the giant 12m tall Scoreboard which dominated the pre-war Paddock skyline and features in hundreds of period photographs and film.
The timetable had been adjusted to accommodate the ceremony which meant the action started almost as soon as the gates opened with Test Hill ascents . At 11.45am spectators gathered in the Outer Paddock gazing up at the bright white structure as the officials mounted the stairs. At 12noon Sir Gerald Acher, Chairman of Brooklands Museum Trust, began proceedings from the platform of the Scoreboard, followed by Nick Duckworth from Aston Martin and Museum Director and CEO, Allan Winn. With the original Scoreboard having been demolished after the Second World War and no plans available, Brooklands Museum’s staff and contractors had to re-create its design and operating mechanism through painstaking research, including viewing hundreds of photographs and hours of period racing film.
The entire cost of building the new Scoreboard has been met by the Brooklands Trust Members – through individual donations and fundraising activities – and a welcome donation from Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd in tribute to the Aston Martins and Lagondas which saw great success at Brooklands in the 1920s and ‘30s. Two chequered flags covered the top section and these were lowered as soon as the bell mounted on the side had been rung. Underneath the flags were name boards that echoed the final results of the 1935 BRDC 500 Miles Race with the names of Cobb, von der Becke, Howe, Hamilton and De Belleroche chalked up. As the applause died down, the Napier-Railton was started up as a tribute to it winning the BRDC event with Cobb as the driver and it blasted its way to the top of the Finishing Straight and back again.
The Paddock boasted some of the earlier and rarer vehicles including a 1911 Sunbeam, a Vauxhall, Trojan and the largest-engined car present in the form of Robin Beech’s Rolls Royce Phantom II Handlye Special, fitted with a 1939 Merin III engine. Other stand out cars included Lorne Jacobs’ Napier Bluebird, the Stanley Mann Racing Marker Bentley and a very striking 1937 Peugeot 402. The Motoring Village featured a more eclectic mix of classics including MGBs, a Jaguar 4.2C, Aston Martin DB4 Superleggera, Ferrari F355 Berlinetta and a Singer Vogue in a ‘strawberries and cream’ colour scheme.
A visit to the Campbell Car Park revealed gleaming bonnets and white wall tyres galore courtesy of some pristine Lagondas and Bentleys, a Buick, a metallic green and black Citroen Traction Avant, Morris Cowley, MG Y-Type and a Rover 12.
At lunchtime, a cavalcade took the winding circuit at Mercedes-Benz World before making their way back to the Museum site in readiness for the Race Starts on the Finishing Straight at 3pm. There was another reunion at the event in the form of Brooklands motorcycle racer Bert Denly's grandson, Paul Denly, who rode a Norton TT Model 18 in the Race Starts. The Norton was one of the Nigel Spring team's machines that won the Senior class of the Brooklands Grand Prix in October 1927, ridden by the greatest TT rider of his period, Alec Bennett. Immediately after the Grand Prix the following year the Norton was taken to Montlhéry where Bert Denly, Nigel Spring and Pat Driscoll rode it for 24 hours to take a world record at 68mph which stood for six years. The Norton is now on display at the Museum where it keeps company with LPD1 which was also one of the Spring team's machines that was ridden by Bert Denly and was the first 500cc motorcycle to achieve more than a hundred miles in an hour. Paul's father Rod Denly was also present on the day and was overwhelmed to see his son riding his father's Norton on the Brooklands Track.
In all 2,271 people attended the event in this, the Track’s 110th anniversary year and those that really wanted to stand out in the crowd and mark the occasion, purchased a limited edition 2017 Reunion lapel badge. There are a few remaining badges available to order from the Museum website.
More photos of the event can be viewed online here.