Sun, Rain and Power Cuts – Tribulations at Shelsley Walsh July 4-5 2015

Crossing bend Shelsley July 2015It’s gone awfully quiet. No cars, no commentary, just a little hum of conversation from the spectators and the distant rattle of a generator powering the beer cooler up in the member’s tent… What’s going on? The time clock tells us the last car crossed the line in 19.65 seconds… a mere three seconds faster than the outright record. Not bad for an MG Midget. Especially having only been clocked at 3mph through the speed trap where the record holder was somewhere in the 130mph range.

Something isn’t right. Silence reigns. Finally an orange overalled marshall climbs up onto the bank opposite the spectator area and cupping his hands to his mouth megaphone-style bellowes “Members of the public. Can I have your attention please?” It turns out the power has failed right across the whole site. There will be a delay and this, as Captain Oates said to Scott in the Antarctic,  “Maybe some time”.

bikesIt was and the meeting ran a good hour late as a result but at least it concluded, albeit without any commentary or reliable times on the visible clocks, which gave a surreal , almost sleepy feeling to the afternoon. It all ended with runs for the very large entry of motorcycles and some hair raising hard riding.

Sparks streamed from toe caps and foot rests, dust was raised as super-moto bikes at crazy lean angles just avoided the outer hedges and banks. It was stirring stuff. The variety was wonderful, thumping singles, growling V Twins, buzzing two strokes and howling Triumph triples plus a couple of sidecar combinations and a Morgan three wheeler with passenger!

Bike Shelsley 2015Morgan Shelsley July 2015

Earlier in the day the talk had all been about the huge Fiat -Isotta parked up near the ancient barn and very nearly as big. It’s monsterous aero engine driving the rear wheels through two huge chains which the driver and passengers seat hung out the back! Wieldy it isn’t but what a sight ! Mr Toad from WIND IN THE WILLOWS would have loved it.

Isotta Shelsley July 2015 bIsotta Shelsley July 2015

Among the oddities were a lot of serious hillclimb cars old and new. Gary Thomas’ Force PC (below left) with 1400cc motorcycle engine was fastest . The very modern chassis hanging onto the road like it was glued and the engine buzzing away furiously.  Meanwhile James Baxter was setting pre-war records with his ex Bob Gerard ERA R4D (below right) which outpaced the more famous ex Raymond Mays, former hill record holding R4D. The latter had a problem before it’s second run and spent most of the afternoon and all of the daylight hours thereafter being fixed. I walked past it several times in the paddock and there were legs and feet sticking out from under it, components scattered on the ground all around it and a lot of oily hands attending to it’s needs. It worked as the car was back in action for the following day.

ERA 4RA startline Shelsley July 2015Force Shelsley July 2015


This was saturday, the first part of a double-header meeting that saw the usual mix of ancient and modern, two, three, four and event 6 wheelers on Saturday and exclusively pre-war machinery on the sunday. Which was when the rain arrived …in buckets…several times! That’s when the delays really bit into the schedule and after all the effort of getting there and practicing, everyone was reduced to just a single timed run in the afternoon in order to fit in with the noise curfew.

Such a shame. But that’s British Summer Time for you. If you don’t like the weather just hang around for half an hour and it’ll change! Between the storms it was very hot and sunny . You could not win.

Behind my stall in the paddock the famous AC/GN ‘Cognac Special’ sat in it’s shed leering at my poor old Peugeot estate like Terry-Thomas in an Ealing comedy (below left).

As things warmed up around lunchtime a large chain driven Edwardian monster trundled it’s smoky way past. It looked sort of Daimler-sh to me but I’d be happy if someone can confirm what it actually is – answers on an email please to …

Cognac special Shelsley July 2015Daimler Shelsley July 2015

ERA R4D Hulbert Shelsley July 2015Scott Lyncar Dolomite Shelsley July 2015

Pilbeam Tim Davies Shelsley July 2015ERA R4A Baxter Shelsley July 2015





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