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53rd International Rally - Horwood House

Saturday's Events:

Ian Leggett's Phase II Vanguard at the Leighton Buzzard Railway

Saturday, as usual, was the day for using the Standards on the road.

Horwood House served us a splendid buffet breakfast and pretty soon everyone was outside fettling the cars. The first part of the run was less than 15 miles but there was a penalty for being late at the end point, there was a train waiting for us, so anyone who was late would miss it!. No one did however, everyone was there in good time.

The Leighton Buzzard Railway is not usually open on Saturdays, but the Club had arranged it's own charter train. This consisted of a first-world war engine and 5 carriages to carry 100 passengers. 4 of the party were lucky enough to ride on the footplate, one at a time, two outwards and the other 2 return. The previous evening we had drawn straws for this privilege to be "engine driver" though everyone had been warned that the winners would need to wear suitable clothing and shoes. 

above: Guy and Suzie Singleton's V3 Kenilworth

one of our guest drivers, John Pollard on the footplate

Unusually for this summer, the sun was shining as the train ride took place - and the photos proved that everyone was enjoying themselves. Those not partaking of the ride soon found a cup of coffee in "Dobbers" Café. Afterwars a tour was arranged of the Engine Sheds/

The next part of the ride was the most scenic, with lots of opportunities for stops to admire the views or to take in lunch. The run climbed up Dunstable Downs with a stop at the Gateway centre to see the view over the Vale of Aylesbury, then on past Whipsnade Zoo followed by the steep incline of the Chiltern Hills. Some of the party stopped at the appropriately named "Traveller's Rest" before arriving at Pitstone Rural Museum.

Again, opening at our special request this collection of farm buildings contained a wealth of interesting exhibits manned by an enthusiastic grouo of willing volunteers, everyone willing to explain the history of their exhibit.

Everyone visitor found their own favourite exhibit, some liked the sawbed slicing up  huge tree-trunks into planks, others the stationary engines, but almost everyone was astonished by the reconstruction of the Lancaster Bomber flightdeck. I found several members in the pilot's seat (not all at once!) making suitable "flying" or gun noises whilst playing with the controls! Without doubt this was the highlight of the tour - or maybe it was the teas and coffees provided by the volunteers during the tour

a rare Standard Sportsman

You might be able to make out Robert Browett on the Lancaster's flight deck

The last part of the roadrun took us over the Grand Union Canal then on past Mentmore Towers. Some of our party bumped into Dave Lee Travis who was out walking his dog............ you can read more about this encounter in the August edition of the Standard Car Review. By 4pm the cars started arriving back at Horwood House and started lining up on the drive in position for the static Rally on Sunday.

By 7.30pm the participants were all in the bar associated with our dining room, the Cooke Suite. Lots of noisy chatter about the success of the day's events. Then a silver service dinner followed by coffee. The table quizz this year proved to be an excellent icebreaker and all ten diners sitting at the winning table received a prize for achieving the most correct answers.

Then a few prizes - Lynda was presented with the Chairman's Cup for her work this year, in particular her part in organising this event. This was followed by the formal speech by our guest, Chris Cunnington. Chris is current chairman of the Federation of Historic British Car Clubs and gave us his opinions and the Federation's views on current issues, namely removal of formal MoTs for pre-60 cars and the effects of Ethanol on the petrol we use in our Standards. There was much discussion and debate about both items, continued in the bar which cointinued later into the night.

A busy but highly successful day.

Some of the cars at Pitstone

Below: Club Chairman, Paul Newsome, left, with Chris Cunnington, guest, right,  present the Chairman's Cup to Lynda Homer

Phil Homer

July 2012