Story and photos by Simon Wright
Silverstone in February can only be the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) Pomeroy Trophy season opener, held by the club for over 50 years. The idea to find the best all round GT car for the road was originally suggested in 1947 by John Rowley, but because of the petrol rationing, the event didn’t take off until 1952. The only requirements are that the vehicle must be road legal and have a minimum capacity of 2 litres or 1485cc if supercharged or turbocharged.
To make this a fair competition, and not just for the fastest car, the VSCC decided to use Laurence Pomeroy’s formula which was originally used to calculate the efficiency of Grand Prix engines. The formula uses the engine capacity, the wheel base of the vehicle and its age. The formula then generates the number of laps that the car should complete during the 40 minute time trial held on the Silverstone National circuit. Additional tests held during the morning included a slalom through cones, a braking test and an acceleration test. Penalty points are given for failures in these tests and also if the vehicle has insufficient space to carry two large suitcases and must have a functional hood. At least one car this year had a hood, but no windows, and also appeared to have no windscreen fitted as well.
The entry was as varied as ever. It is the only event on the VSCC Calendar that allows vehicles of any age to compete. The earliest car on the list was a 1920 Vauxhall D Type of Dr Steven Pryke whilst the newest cars were only built in 2008. The interesting cars included a trio of 1930’s Alfa Romeos competing against 15 Frazer Nash models from 1927 through to 1954, a stunning sounding 1972 Lamborghini Muira SV, a 1990 Volvo 740 SE estate and a Ford Galaxy people carrier.
This year the Frazer Nash strangle hold on the event for the last five years was finally broken by Dudley Sterry claiming victory in his 1937/9 HRG 2 STR sports. Adrian Goding in his 1963 Ford Cortina finished 2nd overall and won his class, whilst the best Frazer Nash only managing 3rd place overall, with the winner from the previous three years, Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in his 1953 Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica also winning his class. He would have finished runner up, but lost 10 points for running without a hood.
Phil Stainton won the Densham trophy in his 1936 Frazer Nash TT Replica for the first pre-war car to finish, taking 4th place overall. Other class winners included Josh Sadler in his 1971 Porsche 911, Martin Overington in his 1927 Bugatti T35B, Andrew Hall in his 1951 Frazer Nash Mille Miglia, and Dr Steven Pryke took the Pomeroy Edwardian Trophy for his spirited drive in the 1920 Vauxhall D Type.
The morning tests took place in cold but fair conditions, the sun even came out for a while. One or two people seemed to forget to weave through the cones on the first test, including the beautiful, bright yellow, Ferrari 575 GTO Special of Will Tomkins. Tom had already been in the wars with a dented and smashed rear near side wing before he had even taken to the track. Jonathan Cobb took maximum points from the first test in this 1928 Frazer Nash Ford. The second test was to check Brake performance. Top marks here went to Dr Steven Pryke in his 1920 Vauxhall D Type, Michael Webb in his 1978 Morris Minor, Michael Smith in his 1978 MG Midget, Martin Overington in his 1927 Bugatti T35B and Patrick Blakeney-Edwards in his 1953 Frazer Nash Le Mans replica. The final two tests were run together, the first being a 250 metre acceleration test from a standing start, followed by a flying 250 metre test. Jonathan Cobb again took top marks on the acceleration test and on the fly 250 metre test.
The afternoon high speed trials were run in three groups, round the national circuit layout at Silverstone. The first group started in dry conditions and Jonathan Cobb drove a spirited performance in his 1928 Frazer Nash Ford, throwing the car round Luffield complex with controlled aggression. At one point he got into a scrap with Patrick Blakeney-Edwards Frazer Nash Le Mans replica. As the speed trial neared the end of its 40 minutes it began to rain. Dr Steven Pryke had already run wide on to the mud coming out of Brooklands a few laps earlier, and in the rain, he completely lost control in Luffield and spun out. His narrow front wheels were sticking in the mud on the infield. As he tried to reverse out of the mud, he was getting tremendous axle tramp on the rear wheels. He did manage to free himself after a few seconds, and continued to the end of the test.
The second group started on a wet track, and the rain became progressively worse. Star drives here really went to Dougal Cawley in his 2002 Ford Galaxy MPV and Julian Slade in his 1990 Volvo 740 GLE Estate who outdrove many of their fellow competitors in the very wet conditions. They threw these unlikely racers round the streaming wet track with great abandon. Another star performer in this group was Martin Overington in his gorgeous 1928 Bugatti T35B. Even though he had an open cockpit and really narrow tyres, he drove past people through the Luffield, Woodcote corner complex. Another welcome sight in this group was Charlie Moore making his debut in the ex-Gerry Marshall Vauxhall Magnum. Brian Moore managed to spin his 1986 Vauxhall Nova twice in the heavy rain, first at Brooklands, and then in Luffield.
By the time the third group took to the track, the rain had almost stopped. However, the track was still very wet and it caught out a couple of cars, causing two red flag stoppages in the first few laps. One of the Morgans managed to damage the rear corner in the first part, and then one of the Ford Mustangs’ lost it’ down the club straight and got his car stuck in the mud, requiring a safety vehicle to remove it. Jon Payne put in a very polished performance on a very wet track in his 1965 Ford Mustang along with Robert Barrie in his 2008 Renault Clio.
VSCC Pomeroy Trophy Provisional Results
Dudley Sterry, HRG 2 STR Sports, 433.1 points, The Pomeroy Trophy 1st Class
Adrian Goding, Ford Cortina, 424.8 points, 1st Class
Patrick Blakeney-Edwards, Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica, 415.2 points, 1st Class
Phil Stanton, Frazer Nash TT Replica, 412.3 points, The Densham Trophy 1st Class
Josh Sadler, Porsche 911, 405.4 points, 1st Class
Martin Overington, Bugatti T35B, 403.8 points 1st Class
Andrew Hall, Frazer Nash Mille Miglia, 402.7 points, 1st Class
Stephen Curtis, Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica, 399.6 points, 2nd Class
Nicholas Pellett, Talbot 105 Team Car, 398.5 points, 2nd Class
Martin Hunt, Frazer Nash Targa Florio, 395.5 points, 2nd Class
Ivan Dutton, Porsche 911 RS, 392 points, 2nd Class
William Nuthall, Renault Clio, 389.8 points, 2nd Class
Richard Pilkington, Alfa Romeo 1750 GS Zagato, 385.6 points, 2nd Class
John Polson, Talbot AV 105, 384.5 points, 2nd Class
Alex Pilkington, Alfa Romeo 1750 GS Zagato, 383.7 points, 2nd Class
Roger Buxton, Alfa Romeo 6C Zagato Spyder, 382.4 points, 2nd Class
Alex Peacop, Frazer Nash Super Sports, 380.4 points, 2nd Class
Alex Ames, BMW 2002, 379.9 points, 2nd Class
Anthony Lucas, Porsche 911 RS, 378.5 points, 3rd Class
Johnathan Cobb, Frazer Nash Ford, 378.4 points, 3rd Class
Rebecca Barrie, Porsche 911, 376.3 points, 3rd Class
Daniel Geoghegan, Alvia 12/50 SD, 373.2 points, 3rd Class
Charles Joice, Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupe, 372.8 points, 3rd Class
Jon Payne, Ford Mustang, 371.2 points, 3rd Class
Gregan Thruston, Mitsubishi FTO, 364 points, 3rd Class
James Hunt, BMW 2002, 362.9 points, 3rd Class
Steven Pryke, Vauxhall D Type, 282.1 points, The Pomeroy Edwardian Trophy
2010 VSCC Pomeroy Trophy Photo Gallery (click for larger image and description)
[Source: Simon Wright]