The Current Brooklands 12/12 event is somewhat different to the original 12/12 of the 1930s, which basically was the English answer to the Le Mans 24 hour race. However to keep the local residents happy it was run in two 12 hour sessions, with the cars being held in a “park ferme” overnight.
The current 12/12 is made up of three events, the Sprint on the Mercedes Benz test track on the Saturday, and the Driving Tests around the museum site on the Sunday, with the third event being the Concours, which takes place on both days.
The winner of the overall event is the person who does best in their two chosen events out of the three. Originally, when this event started five years ago, the idea was to have 12 classes with 12 cars in each, but this has now been changed with different classes for each event.
This year I had entered our Jarvis-bodied M-type for the Driving Tests and the Concours, having hung up my racing overalls at the end of last year. The M-type is a nippy little car suitable for tight tests. However about five miles from home, the ammeter went to full charge, and smoke started coming out from behind the ammeter. I quickly pulled into the next layby and turned everything off. There was obviously a dead short somewhere, so I needed a tow home.
Unfortunately due to the early start, I had forgotten to collect the essential mobile phone. I managed to get a passing motorist to stop and lend me his phone to ring Rosemary up, who duly turned up with the tow rope. We then proceeded to take it to my tame 84-year old electrician, who was only about two miles away. We left the MG in his drive with an explanatory note, as he wasn’t at home.
Once we got home, I decided to get our ND out to take instead of the M-type. This has just had its blower overhauled and hadn’t been out on the road after it was refitted. Unfortunately the car refused to start, so I ended up taking our RV8 up to deliver the goods required for our SE Centre stand, being organised by John Davies. I then came straight home and managed to get the ND going ready for the driving tests on Sunday. Result at last!
Sunday arrived a bit wet, but soon cleared. We had to get the car scrutineered on the Finishing Straight before we were allowed to sign on. This involved checking the battery was secure and that we had a second return throttle spring. I had arranged for Martyn Phillis (our previous SE Centre webmaster) to act as my passenger, as required by the regulations, and he and I duly signed in and collected the relevant wrist bands. There were different colours for drivers and passengers, which were sometimes checked by the marshals. Another SE Centre member, Mark Hanson, was entered in his ex-Dick Jacobs Y-type, and collared Martyn to act as his passenger too. We thought that this would work, as he was likely to be running in a much later class. As well as Mark Hanson, the SE Centre was represented by Colin Reynolds (our current webmaster) in his replica 12/12 M-type.
The first test was on the Finishing Straight, which involved going into garages made out of straw bales. Whilst waiting, we saw Chris Edmondson frantically hunting for a passenger for his swept-wing J2. Eventually Martyn Phillis helped him out, and we proceeded round the next five tests in tandem. Fortunately we had finished our six morning tests before Mark Hanson was called up for his tests. The tests were quite easy, but needed to be correctly remembered, otherwise a wrong test produced maximum penalties.
As well as the competitors, there were quite a few car club displays, but none as impressive as our own SE Centre stand, which boasted 19 cars at one stage, including a very original MG6R4. This was ably organised by John Davies and Jon Glover, and created quite a lot of interest, and hopefully we will have some new members as a result.
During the lunch break, I was approached by a chap who had been told to have a word with me about the pre-war MG scene. He turned out to be Paul Denley, whose grandfather was the well-known Bert Denley. Bert was a record breaker on motorbike and also cars. One of his highlights was taking over EX127, after George Eyston found he was too big to fit in the car, and breaking many class records at Montlhery in 1931. He also helped George when he went record breaking in the Speed of the Wind, as well as helping out Leo Villa preparing Malcolm Campbell’s record breaker.
I then roped Paul in as my passenger, to free up Martyn Phillis, and so Paul had a ride on the track where his grandfather had raced all those years ago in the 1930s. Unfortunately, I got so involved in talking to Paul that on the second afternoon test, I had mental fade and did a wrong test, which immediately put me out of contention. However Paul and his family who were watching us certainly had a good day.
Although I had missed out on the Saturday Concours, I managed to get the substitute ND judged on Sunday, but as I hadn’t had time to clean it up, we didn’t do well.
The results came through and Colin Reynolds won his class and came 5th overall out of the sixty two 12/12 competitors. Mark Hanson came a good 35th, whilst I was well down the list. It was a good event, although it is not a patch on the earlier days, when our C-type won its class in 2011, and was presented with a lovely pewter trophy by Prince Michael of Kent. A day I will long cherish.
The following year I lent our ND to Peter Ross and Chris Nowlan. They ended up also winning their class as did Colin Reynolds, and getting a slightly muted pewter trophy. The subsequent years, the class winners, got a lump of the concrete banking – a truly awful trophy!
John Davies on the S.E. Centre stand
Once again the South East Centre was invited to display fourteen cars per day. The Brooklands marshalls supplied us with further cars on each day which meant on Sunday we had a total of nineteen MGs. These included a MG Metro 6R4 and the unique MGA ‘hawk’ imported from America and featured in Piers Hubbard’s latest book titled ‘Call it MGA’.
Both days saw a brisk trade on the stand for clothing, umbrellas and books.
I am pleased to say we handed out a number of membership packs to potential new members and information regarding our forthcoming events.
Piers was selling signed copies of his new book which nicely completed our 60th birthday celebration for the MGA.
Our cars attracted a lot of interest from the general public as well as other car clubs.
Many thanks to all the members who gave up their time to display their cars and help manage the stand.
Thanks also to Jon Glover for his efforts on both days and for the supply of the brilliant birthday banners.
If you would like to join us next year keep up to date for details from the Newsletter, Website and of course our 2016 Calendar published at the end of the year.