ERA R4D was the undoubted ‘star of the show’ of the annual VSCC Hill Climb at Shelsley Walsh.
Photo: Geoff Robinson
ERA R4D steals the show at another Vintage Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb
Two of the most celebrated names in Pre-war motorsport joined forces this past weekend as the Midland Automobile Club played host to the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s annual ‘Vintage and Post-Vintage Thoroughbred Meeting’ at the historic Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb on Sunday 3 July.
Forming the fifth round of the inaugural MSA-registered VSCC Speed Championship this season, the event attracted another capacity entry of over 120 Edwardian, Vintage and PVT Racing and Sports-Cars on a stunning Summer’s day at the historic Worcestershire venue – the oldest motor sport venue in continuous use in the world.
The eclectic entry included the usual array of revered Pre-war marques, including Alvis, Austin, Bentley, Bugatti, ERA, Frazer Nash, Lagonda, Lea-Francis, MG, Morgan, Riley and more with a host of the famed Shelsley ‘Specials’ amongst the line-up, including the ex-Basil Davenport GN Spider II and fellow GN-based ‘insect’ GNat.
On the weekend of the launch of the car’s autobiography, written by Club Member and previous custodian Mac Hulbert, ERA R4D was always destined to be the star of the show, and thus it proved as Nick Topliss claimed Fastest Time of Day for current owner Brian Fidler.
Although unable to challenge Mac’s own Class Record in the revered voiturette, Topliss put on an impressive display in the ex-Raymond Mays charge, showing growing consistency in his first season competing the car with Timed Runs of 34.01 and 34.02 seconds, four tenths quicker than second placed man, Martin Spencer in the aforementioned Spider machine – winner at Shelsley last year in the rain.
Three significant Vintage records did fall on the day, however; Jon Giles’s long-standing Sports-Car Class 10 marker of 40.53 secs in the Frazer Nash Beetle was surpassed by current Frazer Nash Competition Secretary, Ian Bingham in the ‘Nash Maurice Geoghegan Special (40.03 secs) whilst his famous father, Freddie’s Racing Car Class 15 record of 36.53 secs set in 1993 was appropriately broken by Tony Lees in Freddie’s own AC/GN ‘Cognac’ Special (36.45 secs).
It was a family affair in Class 16 too, where Tom Walker broke brother, Mark’s 19-year old record of 35.36 seconds in the Parker GN Special, as he set a Class leading mark of 34.89 secs to continue his stellar 2016 campaign in the Hispano-engined Amilcar Special.
Other Class Winners on the day included Duncan Potter’s MG Montlhery Midget, Peter Tierney’s Lea Francis Hyper S and the Morgan/Riley Special of Dr David Pryke amongst the Sports-Cars, whilst Geoff Smith’s Sturtevant-engined Piccard-Pictet topped the Edwardian standings, with Hugh Mackintosh leading the automobile-engined ranks in the 1917 Hudson Super Six.
Anthony Garner’s Lagonda Rapier and the Riley Falcon Special of perennial challenger, Rob Cobden were amongst the other Racing Cars Class Winners.
The next two rounds of the 2016 VSCC Speed Championship will take place at the Club’s celebrated Prescott Speed Hill Climb weekend on 5 - 7 August, including Friday’s ‘Long Course’ event, followed by the traditional two-day competition on the ‘Short Course’, first utilised by the VSCC in 1938.
The Club’s next event is the Shuttleworth & Nuffield Trophies Race Meeting, taking place at Cadwell Park on Sunday 24 July, marking the 40 years since the Club’s first event at the Lincolnshire venue on 29 August 1976.
EDITED IN WALES