Riley Motor Club – National Rally 2018 Report
What a wonderful event this turned out to be, held at the Bowden Hall Hotel in Upton St Leonards over the weekend of 7th to 9th September. There was great camaraderie amongst the members present and a lovely display of Rileys from Pre War to the BMC series. Of course the 2.6 was the featured car this year and we had a lovely display of 6 of these, one coming all the way from Spain driven by Jose Solozabel and Isabella Ossowska.
On arrival on the Friday afternoon we were greeted in the Lakeside Function Suite by Malcolm and Norah Pritchard where every entrant was given a goody bag as well as registering and collecting room keys. Jill Wilson was also helping there and taking the opportunity to sell draw tickets for the Saturday evening draw.
Inevitably there was a lot of chatter amongst old and new friends and Bob Hodgkins assisted by Rachel Fellows set up a good display of Club spares for sale. Also Jan Pipes and Pat Smith took the opportunity to set up the Club regalia display.
There were a good number of people attending the AGM which started at 6.00pm but we were very sorry to learn that our Chairman Mike Stanton was not at all well and eventually had to have at least two visits to the local hospital for an infection. Therefore Gilbert Grace ably stepped in to chair the AGM and luckily Mike had prepared some notes for the meeting which Gilbert was able to read out and so Mike was there in spirit if not in person. Gilbert was joined on the Top Table by Rob McGoun and our President Victor Riley.
The AGM itself was progressed very well with thanks being given from Mike to all the Management Committee and especially to Victor Riley for his energy and being a great driving force for all things Riley. It was noted that Dave Rowlands had stepped down this year and Mike hoped that Chris Neal would pick up the Pathfinder baton. There were no “matters arising” and it was noted that Rob McGoun had taken over the accounts from Nick Walton. The Club had just about broken even financially over the year and the biggest advantage was that Nick had successfully negotiated some insurance reductions which helped offset some big increases in the production of “The Record”.
At the election of Directors it was the turn of Victor Riley to stand down but he was unanimously re-elected to the position again.
After the AGM members were free to chat and take much deserved libation at the bar and many had reserved tables in the restaurant for dinner.
The following morning, Saturday, a drivers briefing was held in the Lakeside Suite where Mike Overfield-Collins who was acting as MC for the weekend gave an outline of the planned days activities. A great deal of thanks were due to Andrew Brain for preparing the tulip route guides for both Saturdays and Sundays scenic runs, and to the joint effort Malcolm Pritchard had done in preparing the visit venues.
Following the driver briefing and explanation of the Tulip route guide, 26 members ventured out on a 20 mile run, with treasure hunt, into the wonderful Cotswold countryside to The Bugatti Trust situated at the Prescott Hillclimb venue. The Bugatti Trust aims are “ For the advancement of education through the study of the works of Ettore Bugatti”.
A presentation was given by curator Angela Hocke, about the Bugatti family, who explained that Carlo was a gifted artist of international renown, and his son Ettore was famed for his engineering of railway trains, machine tools, engines and racing cars, and the younger son Rembrandt who was a gifted sculptor. Comments were made by the ladies saying they thought that they would be bored, but they were enthralled.
Charles Trevelyan, ably assisted by his son Piers, gave a tour of the exhibits, and quoting one member “his animated explanations of the fine engineering left me drooling and wanting to spend the rest of the day there”.
Lunch was taken in the infamous Prescott Hill Clubhouse with views over the Cotswold countryside and one could imagine the sight and sounds of vintage racing cars hammering past up the hill as fast as they could go. Sadly the hill was not opened for driving up this day as it is a private drive for the houses up the hill and is only open on the special pre-approved competition days.
The afternoon saw 14 members visiting the National Trust Snowshill Manor, near Broadway. A passion for collecting, started at the age of seven, led Charles Wade, a trained architect and artist, to create his extraordinary home at Snowshill Manor. He had a great sense of fun and theatre and wanted the Manor to be a theatrical, dark and mysterious place encouraging visitors to explore and peer into hidden corners. This was a fascinating visit because the Manor itself had been entirely dedicated by Charles Wade to housing his collection over three floors while he had developed the barn to the side of the manor as his living accommodation. The exhibits range from very ornate gold leaf embossed tea cabinets, metal armour, musical instruments, and numerous Victorian household items, to a large collection of Boneshaker bicycles in the attic rooms. Phil Chinery was hardly recognisable when he put on one of the armour helmets that was on display for people to try on. To anybody who has not visited Snowshill, it has to be a “must visit” place and even more interesting as it is situated in a wonderfully picturesque Cotswold Village (and has a good pub into the bargain)
When everybody returned on the Saturday afternoon the opportunity was taken for the 2.6’s to have a collective photo shoot in front of the hotel.
Saturday evening saw members sitting down to a lovely Gala Dinner in the Lakeside Suite where a varied menu had been pre-chosen, and we have to say that a great deal of thanks has to be given to Malcolm Pritchard and the hotel’s Rachel Perry for being able at short notice to accommodate at least 4 or 5 additional meals for people who had not pre-booked. This is not encouraged because it meant that tables had to be re-laid and additional food found but they managed it nonetheless. The meal was thoroughly enjoyed and again Mike Overfield-Collins acted as MC for the event, this time dressed in a dinner suit and bow tie. There were very favourable comments received afterwards that an MC had not been used at RMC dinners previously and that this had been a really good addition to the event. Thanks are also due to Gill Chinery who was taking photos during the weekend catching people unawares on several occasions, and many of these photos were projected onto a screen during the Gala Dinner.
Victor Riley made a superb after dinner speech, enthralling us with the story that Riley may well have been the inventors of the sport “Paintballing” because a group of Riley 9 owners in 1930 had dreamed up the sport of using the cars as mobile canons firing lime wash at each other over one of the roads in the Cotswold Hills. The cars had apparently been taken to the Riley works to have the limewash canons fitted on the roofs, without Victor Riley Senior knowing anything about it, and then set out in 2 teams to see how many hits each could get on the other team. When the Police eventually believed some complaints reported to them and cycled up to the “competition site” they found all the competitors having a picnic as if nothing had taken place !!! Victor therefore left us all wondering if this was genuinely the start of paintballing as a sport.
At the end of the meal Victor presented the names of the winners of the Allen Draper Trophy, won by Dave Rowlands, and the Arnold Farrar Trophy won by Malcolm Pritchard. Then at the very end Jill Wilson did the draw for the raffle for a wonderful array of really good prizes donated for the event. There were many smiley faces at the prizes they had won and a little bit of post raffle bartering for prizes people wanted to win.
There was another driver briefing on the Sunday morning and then the day saw a number of cars following another scenic tulip route to the Toddington Railway station. A total of 36 members visited the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway and Classic Car day at Toddington, a true touch of nostalgia.
18 Rileys dating from Pre-war through to the 1960’s formed part of a 350 vehicle classic car show, with two steam engines in the form of 2807 a 2-8-0 and 7903 Foremark Hall, in use on the railway going north to Broadway or south to Cheltenham. A 2-for-1 all day rail ticket had been arranged for members by the club.
In their day the 2-8-0’s formed the backbone of the Welsh coalfield rail network although could be seen throughout the GWR network.
Foremark Hall (named after the great house in Derbyshire) was withdrawn from B.R. in 1964 and was the first steam locomotive to haul the boat train from Plymouth to Paddington in less than 4 hours in 1951.
Providing a break from the nostalgia for some was the adjacent Flag and Whistle café which was extremely popular serving a range of drinks and food, and a garden centre for those wishing to follow a more horticultural interest.
Members then made their way back to the Bowden Hall Hotel where Sheila Poupard organised a line up of all the attending cars for a photo shoot on the grass in front of the hotel. Lining the cars facing downhill on the grass worked well because it made for some wonderful photos where all the cars could be seen against the lovely backdrop of the hotel façade, and as if somebody was smiling on us, there was brilliant sunshine while the photoshoot was held, whilst it had been cloudy before, and was afterwards.
On completion of the photo shoot, all members then returned to the Lakeside Suite where the results of the member voted concours d’elegance were presented. It was pleasing to see a great number of members present and especially to see Mike Stanton who was feeling a bit better to join us for a short while.
Victor Riley presented the cups and awards as they were announced, and ably helped by Rob Abbot who had put a lot of effort behind the scenes taking over the duties following the sad passing of Tony Hipperson.
The winners as announced were as follows:-
Best Other BMC – Malcolm Pritchard – Elf
Runner Up – Jose Solozabel – 2.6
Best BMC 1.5 – Chris Mercer
Runner Up – Patrick Wood
Best RM 1½ – John Atkinson
Runner Up – Richard Gauld
Best RM 2½ – Steve Kinch
Runner Up – Bob Stear
Best Pre-War – Norman Hamer
Runner Up – David Body
Best in Show – Norman Hamer – Pre-war Special
Runner Up – Malcolm Pritchard – Elf
Furthest travelled – Jose Solozabel (no surprises here)
Treasure Hunt – Phil and Gill Chinery
The Early Bird Draw of £25 of spares from RMC Spares, or Blue Diamond, was won by Gilbert Grace.
The event was then finally wound up with Jill Wilson doing an excellent job of the second raffle, and a final vote of thanks for all the efforts put into the organisation of the event by Malcolm and Norah Pritchard and their team, and everybody was wished a safe journey home.
Written by Mike Overfield-Collins (assisted by Malcolm Pritchard)