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ANNUAL CLUB RALLY AND CONCOURS, TOWCESTER RACECOURSE
Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 June 2003

This year's annual Club rally again took place at Towcester Racecourse, near Northampton, over the weekend of 21-22 June. The event tends to attract a large number of cars and members from both the UK and abroad - especially the Netherlands and Australia.

On the Friday evening there was a preview in the Bonhams' marquee of those motorcars and automobilia that were due for auction on Saturday afternoon - quite a mixed selection of models including an ex-Peter Sellers' Bentley S1 Continental (with 'honeymoon express' fins)! The warm evening sunshine allowed visitors the chance to admire each other's cars before the rally commenced.

Saturday is noted as having an 'informal garden party atmosphere' for members to park with friends and wander amongst the cars that are not marshalled into 'classes'. However, the change of entrance to the site across a very dusty and shabby rough road was not greeted kindly by members whose cars were covered in a layer of dust as soon as they arrived! It is hoped that this will change again for next year's rally. The hot, sunny weather seemed to keep visitor numbers down on previous years, but it did allow convertibles to have their hoods down and for a steady sale of ice cream from the various vendors on site. The vast array of trade stands also tempted us with their cars for sale, automobilia and other associated goods or services - it proved a challenge to pass by without spending any money! The temptation was also difficult during the car auction in the afternoon where many of the items seemed to sell for less than the suggested price, although a simple scratch of the head at the wrong moment could possibly cost you £20,000!

Sunday saw early morning mist and drizzle, but this very quickly was burnt away and as the sun shone it seemed even stronger as the temperature rose. Many sun burnt faces, arms and legs were treated to more heat and I think that the Club shop must have sold several caps and umbrellas to keep off the sun's rays - and also the rain showers that interrupted the day on a couple of occasions! The various marquees became full as members sheltered from the downpours whilst spectacular lightning danced across the horizon - thankfully not passing directly over the rally site. This did not even prevent the concours prize giving from proceeding, although the lack of adequate planning or marshalling allowed several cars that were departing from the rally to be included in the parade that for some reason was held on the same exit road!

A key (quite literally) lesson to learn when attending a rally far away from home is to carry a spare car key with you, as Simon Buck found out! Soon after arriving and parking in line he locked the car door of his Corniche - at which point the key broke into two pieces in his hand and the stress level rose considerably at the consequences! With none of the trade stands providing any key cutting services Simon politely asked for the assistance of P & A Wood who immediately attended the car to establish what they could do to help. After several checks of the mechanics of the car and phone calls to an off duty engineer they were able to allow the car to be started without the key and drive the short distance to the Whittlebury Hall Hotel. They took the broken key and chassis details and incredibly delivered a newly cut key the following morning by some of their staff that were returning to the racecourse to collect some of the cars on their stand. Such service and assistance is beyond what one normally expects and our thanks go to them in our 'hour of need'.

Congratulations are due this year to a number of Section members who won awards at the prize giving on the Sunday afternoon, namely Peter Collingwood - lst in Class 15 and Elegance with his 1980 Shadow II; Darren Collins - lst in Class 18 in his 1999 Arnage, and Chess and Karen Ferrier - winner of the Harry Watson trophy for the Silver Ghost that had travelled the most mileage in the previous twelve months, in their 1924 Ghost - well done to all of them.

Andrew Honour - Section Committee Member


Towcester Rally   Towcester Rally
RR Silver Ghost   RR Silver Shadow II   Bentley Arnage
Chess Ferrier's 1924 RR Sliver Ghost, Peter Collingwood's 1980 RR Silver Shadow II and Darren Collins' 1999 Bentley Arnage.
Photos: Andrew Honour