The Vintage Sports-Car Club New Year Driving Tests

01 February 2016

A crisp but wintry late Sunday in January didn’t deter around 60 competitors for the annual New Year Driving Tests at Brooklands on the 31st January.

This event is very inclusive, attracting all ages and abilities to the Vintage scene and this year, it welcomed three teenagers eager to take part. The youngest was 18-year old Madeline Rose and she and 19-year old Angus Frost had class victories, both in Austin 7 Saloons. Overall winner on the day was George Diffey in his 1930 Austin 7, setting the fastest time on twelve of the day’s fourteen tests, and he is only aged 22.

As usual, Austin 7s featured heavily in the entry list, their lightness and manoeuvrability being ideally suited to the tests. Two Trojans were in competition, Fraser Sloan’s example having come from Zimbabwe whilst a good sprinkling of MGs, Rileys and Frazer Nashs represented the traditional British sports-car. Alex Pilkington’s 6C 1750 Alfa Romeo provided the glamour, with her Zagato-bodied chassis being a fine example of one of the period’s most exotic cars. The Alfa took a class win in the Standard Sports-Car class. The most unusual vehicle competing was Michael Sharpe’s Mitchel Board Racer; a long, narrow single-seater with the exhaust manifold lying above the engine cover.

As expected, the VSCC entry is made up of Brooklands period cars and these were supplemented by a fine display of visiting pre-War cars in the Paddock. In front of the Clubhouse a Manchester-made Crossley sat alongside a world-weary Ford V8 with ’Woody’ station-wagon bodywork and a rare Lancia Aprilla looked modern compared to the various vintage Bentleys and Alvis examples.