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"Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963"

Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963

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The Standard Motor Club at the West of England Steam Rally



The West of England Steam Rally.



"If you had all  paid up, you could  have had dinner with me!"


Our first visit to this Rally was two years ago when it rained for most of the weekend, the site became a quagmire, and there was mud everywhere. For those of you who don’t know Cornwall their mud has special adhesive qualities making it almost impossible to remove from cars, especially tyres. So we said we would never go again.


(It rained so much last year, Dennis, that it was cancelled! - webmaster )


Earlier this year Brian Murrish suggested we might like to go again this year as the weather could not be that bad again and it would be a really good show. We were still reluctant but said if Brian could find us a B&B within 10 minutes drive of the Show site, (the previous year we had been 30 miles away) and suggest places to visit we would go.


We decided to go for a week and left home on the Friday before the Show, which was not one of our better ideas. We always use the A38 as far as Exeter which is normally quiet, but not this time with the towns jammed with traffic and the open roads full of tractors and trailers. We planned to pick up the old A30 outside Exeter as an alternative to the modern dual-carriageway but all direction signs disappeared in the centre of town and we ended up on the dual-carriageway anyway.


We finally arrived at the B&B at Wheal Rose about 6pm and checked in, then went outside to park the car for the evening, turned on the ignition and pressed the starter button. Nothing happened! Just then Brian ‘phoned to see if everything was ok and he then came over to see if he could help. We checked all the fuses, electrical connections etc., but to no avail. Next Brian checked over the starter motor will I kept operating the starter button, nothing happened until Brian pressed the end of the solenoid and hey presto the motor turned. So we were able to continue starting the car. On returning home we found that the very fine wire connecting the starter button terminal inside the solenoid was broken, but we were able solder in a short connecting wire to bridge the gap.

Saturday morning dawned to some Cornish "liquid sunshine" but it did not last long and we set off for the Rally field were we were met by Brian and Chris Bowden. Chris and Linda had travelled up on Friday night and their car was already on the Club stand with the post-war 8 belonging to John Gessey and we were later joined by Peter Hallam with his 1930 Ensign. Dorothy Murrish is also a big Austin 7 fan and her car was on their stand next to ours. For Saturday evening Brian had arranged a meal for us all in his local pub were we were joined by Tony and Ann Skilton also of the Austin 7 club.

Sunday was a much better day with the field having dried out overnight and driving around much easier. The rally is organised by the local Steam Engine Society and there must have been in excess of 30 engines and steam propelled vehicles on site. While sitting in my deckchair drinking tea and eating biscuits I saw a steam engine pass with a registration number I recognised and with the name "BERKSWELL" on the side of the boiler. Berkswell is a village in Warwickshire near where I grew up and this engine had been on a local farm and the last time I saw it was in the early 1940’s.

Went off to find the owner and tell him what I knew of the engine’s early history and in return he offered me a ride on the engine round the show ring allowing me to both steer and operate the regulator. The highlight of my day!

Chris and Linda had to return home on Sunday evening; well someone has to keep the country going! So on Monday morning we drove round to Brian and Dorothy’s for coffee prior to our tour of Cornwall. Were we were joined by Tony and Ann in their Austin 7 van. We set off in glorious sunshine with the Flying 12 the meat in an Austin 7 sandwich for our first stop at Carn Brea monument. It was a stiff climb to the top but the view was well worth it being able to see both Cornish coasts. We then made our way through typical Cornish lanes to the South coast at Marazion and then along the coast road to Penzance with magnificent views of St Michael’s Mount.

We then turned back in land for lunch at country pub followed by a drive across to Land’s End airport and then up the North coast to St.Ives where we had a excellent cream tea in the old station master’s house. We then set off for Hayle where we said goodbye to Tony and Ann and Brian and Dorothy guided us back to our B&B.

Tuesday we visited the Eden Project which we thoroughly enjoyed although there is a lot of walking involved and the tropical biome "ain’t arf ot" Wednesday was spent visiting more local attractions the narrow gauge Lappa Valley Railway being particularly interesting.

Thursday morning we set off for home following the same route as before but with much less traffic having covered 785 miles with only the starter motor problem.

Once again many thanks to Brian and Dorothy for organising our visit so well and to Chris & Linda and Tony & Ann for their company.

Report by Dennis and Sheila Brown

Photos by Brian Murrish

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