Past events page

Motorsport at the Palace - Sunday 29th May 2011

As the wind grew stronger more iron was hammered into ground in a desperate attempt to hold the gazebo down. Meanwhile down in the paddock of the Crystal Palace Sprint meeting on the Sunday of the Whit Bank Holiday all was calm, sheltered from the wind by the dip of the ground and the massive trees. An eclectic mix of cars as you could wish for ranging from the truly mundane (Nissan Micra) through to a couple of lovely Wolseley Hornets from the 1930s one of which was apparantly driven to Grand Prix success by Stirling Moss. Exotic indeed ! Also a Lancia Stratos 037 of the type driven to success by the likes of Walter Rahl and Sandro Munari if my memory serves me well. Not to be outdone there were a few Alfas of note too. Our esteemed Chairman James Wheeler brought along his very nice Zagato SZ and there were examples of a quick 75, a nice Guilia and a Sud Sprint.

These were campaigned round the sprint course with varying degrees of bravado and skill and were welcome alternatives to the large numbers of Mk1 Escorts and ubiquitous Minis.

The sprint course itself is run on parts of the old Crystal Palace Circuit which was a real challenge before it was terminated in the 1970's on noise grounds. It was also getting to be a pretty dangerous circuit but it produced some fantastic racing on two and four wheels. Have a look on YouTube.

Anyway back to main event of the day which was the Kent and East Sussex Section's Alfa display. We had my old Duetto, Fred Baker's white GTV, Jason Bennett's Yellow GTV, Doug Field's nice Red 2600 and Mark Rayss's red series 4 Spider. As I said earlier we had dressed our stand spectacularly with the sections old gazebo held down with multiple road pins and my rapidly dwindling supply of cable ties. We had a couple of Alfa banners and flags but were reluctant to add more in case this brought about lift off. We were surrounded by some very nice cars and stands but were blessed to be bang next door to the Forest Hill Classic Club who graced their stand with a Wolsley 1500, a very rusty Ford Consul among other rather dull but worthy exhibits. In comparison our stand looked like it had been transplanted from the Earls Court Motor Show and lo and behold we were bestowed by the organisers with the Best Car Club Stand in the show. Boy were we excited when we realised this would mean we would have to wait until the end of the show to receive our award and we wouldn't be able to sneak away early to see our recordings of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Anyway we had to present ourselves and the cars on the start line where the Sevenoaks Car Club, who do a fantastic job of organising the event, presented us with a very nice glass trophy to be shared by the five of us over the next year. So we eventually slunk off home with our winnings but if you've not been to this meeting before it is well worth the visit and would reward the Sevenoaks Car Ciubs efforts which is done in aid of various charities.

Doug Hodson



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