The Autumn Sprint from the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) was their final speed event of the year. Usually held at the Goodwood circuit, this year it moved to Rockingham in Northamptonshire, for the first time. Rockingham was the first purpose built racing circuit in the UK since Brooklands in 1907 and features a banked outer oval circuit, but the VSCC used the National circuit in the middle of the venue.
With sixteen different classes and almost one hundred Vintage and Pre-war vehicles, there was plenty of variety to keep everyone entertained. The circuit suffered with very strong gale force winds as the remains of a tropical hurricane were sweeping the country, but the expected rain never materialised. As the weather forecast was not good, the organisers pressed on with the meeting in the morning and managed to fit in both practice runs and the first timed run of the day before the lunch break. During the lunch interval, the club presented their annual end of season awards to competitors in front of invited guests and media in one of the suites in the grandstand overlooking the circuit. After lunch, the second timed runs took place and there was plenty of time left for drivers to have a third ‘unofficial run round the track, which many took advantage of the opportunity.
The overall awards proved to be a bit of a GN fest with fastest time of the day (FTD) going to Tony Lees in the 1925 AC/GN Cognac in 73.43 seconds. Fastest Vintage award went to Tom Waterfield in the 1922/29 GN Special with a time of 78.06 seconds and completing the GN walkover, was Hughie Walker in the 1922/08 GN Thunderbug who took the Fastest Young Driver award with a time of 79.78 seconds.
There were lots of class winners, giving all drivers the chance of winning an award by competing against similar performance vehicles. The Standard and Modified Sports Cars up to 750cc unsupercharged class was won by Joe Tisdall driving a 1930 Austin 7 Ulster. Handicap class winner was Stephen Jones in a 1934 Austin 7 Ulster Sports.
Class 2 was for Standard and Modified Sports Cars 751-1100cc unsupercharged and up to 750cc supercharged. Class winner was Simon Edwards driving a Morgan Aero Supersport. Handicap class winner was Hamish McNinch in a 1935 MG PA 25TR.
Class 3 for Standard and Modified Sports Cars 1101-1500cc unsupercharged and up to 1100cc supercharged was won by another Morgan, this time the Super Aero of Iain Stewart. He beat a raft of Frazer Nash in the class, with Simon Blakeney-Edwards handicap class winner in his 1929 Frazer Nash Super Sports.
Classes 4,5 and 6 were all merged for Standard and Modified Sports Cars from 1501cc to 3000 cc unsupercharged and up to 2000 cc Supercharged. Alistair Pugh was 1st in class in his beautiful 1939 Frazer Nash/BMW 328. Anthony Norton was handicap class winner in his 1932 Alvis 12/50 TJ.
Class 7 was for the popular Edwardian automobile engined cars and saw William Twelvetrees 1st in class and Roger Twelvetrees Handicap class winner in their shared 1910/11 Wolseley 16/20.
Class 8 for Special Sports Cars up to 1100cc unsupercharged and up to 750cc supercharged saw Kevin Morton win the class in his 1931 Riley 9 Special. Handicap class winner was Mrs Claire Furnell-Williams driving the 1930 Austin 7 The Toy.
Riley also took class 9 for Special Sports Cars 1101-1500 cc unsupercharged and up to 1100cc supercharged. Michael James in a Riley 12/4 TT Sprite Rep was fastest in class while keeping it in the Riley family, handicap class winner was Peter Hopkinson in a Riley Special.
Special Sports Cars 1501 to 3000 cc unsupercharged and up to 2250cc supercharged Class 10 was won by Paul Weston in a 1933 Frazer Nash TT Replica. Mrs Jane Corner was handicap class winner in her 1933/37 Talbot 65 Special.
The final class winner in the Special Sports Cars class for over 3000cc unsupercharged and over 2250cc supercharged, was won by Richard Iliffe in a 1934 Riley Elf. Steve Allen was the final handicap class winner in his Bentley 4 1/4 Litre SPL.
By Simon & Janet Wright