Coast to Coast 2014

What a difference a day makes! Wall to wall sunshine from start to finish on this now well established event, brought out the sun cream for those with soft tops, and quarter lights open for those in tin tops.

Starting again from the Art Deco Midland Hotel Morecambe, on the Lancashire Riviera, with distant views over the bay towards the Lake District hills, nearly seventy cars lined up for the ‘off’ on a super route eastwards, via all sorts of interesting features, including the two ‘Thankful Villages’ of Nether Kellet and Arkholme, thankful, because in the first world war, all the young men of those villages who enlisted returned home safely, no doubt a rare occurrence in those terrible times. Arkholme is a doubly thankful village, as all their young men returned from the second world war as well. It does make one reflect, and we do have a lot to be thankful to those young men for.

The Fat Lamb at Ravenstonedale again provided a pit stop, and route control, and a rare sight was all the ladies queuing for the loo!! There was only one, (see photo) whereas the boys had plenty to go at!! But standing room only! Thereafter village after village had decorated for the Tour de France which had passed through the area a week earlier, before taking to the high ground, still in the tyre tracks of the ‘Tour’ boys, it was hard work in a car, it must be difficult on a bike. However, even the Police in Leyburn had entered into the spirit of the French Invasion, with Tour shirts and bunting decorating the ‘Cop Shop’

Lunch at Akebar Park gave drivers and passengers the opportunity to get fed, and have a natter with old chums before the afternoon session. Less hilly than the morning, but taking in many new roads as the cars made their way to Scarborough, eventually reaching the ‘Coast’ at Sandsend, where the North Sea provided it’s Sea Fret bank of cloud, but it was offshore and didn’t get in the way. Passing through a busy Whitby to Scripps Garage at Goathland for another check point, after which it was a short drive to Dalby Forest, for a sedate meander through the trees, unlike the rally days of the past, where cars screamed through on unsurfaced roads

The final control and finish was at East Ayton Lodge Hotel where the Lady Mayor of Scarborough, Councillor Mrs. Pat Marsberg together with Mayoress Mrs. Hilary Groves welcomed all finishers and presented each with a finishers certificate and medal. Ladies Who Loo Award winners were, the Mayors award: Anthony Lund and Margaret Polley with an Austin A110, a car owned by Anthony for forty two years. The Presidents award went to Leslie and Jane Ellis, in their Morgan +8.

The event was sponsored by Bowker BMW and Mini, and club member Tony Wood, of Blue Butts Chequered Flag Classic and Specialist Cars, who also completed the event. As ever the unsung heroes of all motoring events are the marshals, and route organisers, without whom nothing would take place, our grateful thanks go to them.

Manchester to Blackpool Classic Car Run 2014

Starting from the recently refurbished Worsley Hall Hotel, and blessed with glorious weather, participants ‘signed on’ before they could start the run, with many enjoying bacon sarnies and cups of tea or coffee in the pleasant grounds that surround the hotel.

With the first car off at 9.00am the other sixty odd entrants followed at minute intervals, with a huge variety of interesting motor cars on display

With road books in ‘tulip’style and accompanying route information booklet entrants wound their way through suburbia and out into open countryside passing through Turton, Hoddlesden, Pickup Bank, to the Dog Inn at Belthorn where Paul Ratcliffe and John Hartley were on hand to sign the route cards.

Onwards again via Oswaldtwistle, Clayton-Le-Moors, Altham and into the foothills of Pendle passing through, Sabden Fold, Newchurch in Pendle, Barley, Downham, Worston, and then over Pendle Hill through Sabden and into Whalley, then into Hurst Green and past the impressive Stonyhurst College to the lunch halt at Grimsargh Village Hall.

The afternoon route started on the road to the coast, passing through a maze of lanes before reaching the control at Bowker BMW on Preston Docks, where Paul Hiles and Moya Leighton stamped the route cards. Nearly eleven miles later Glyn and Benedict Hughes with Francis Swarbrick were waiting in Wrea Green to sign the route card, and deliver the news that the route thereafter had been interrupted by serious road works, blocking the road, so entrants just had to use their loaf and follow the brown signs to Stanley Park, where cars were parked in the Italian Gardens, and cream teas enjoyed.

The Mayor of Blackpool, Councillor Valerie Haynes presented awards to the following, Malcolm Bailey 1934 MG Magnette, David Manock 1975 Jensen Interceptor, Chris Cadman 1985 HMC V8. The Ken Hadley Memorial Trophy went to Michael Hanson 1926 Rolls Royce, The Judges Choice to Michael Mansell 1971 E-Type Jaguar, and the Blackpool Corporation Trophy and Mayor’s Choice to David Grimsditch in his delightful Austin Seven.

Thanks as ever got to the organisers, marshals, and of course the clubs sponsors and partners particularly, Bowker BMW, Hagerty Classic Car Insurance, Manchester and Blackpool Councils, Blackpool Tourism Board, the local Police authorities, the MSA, and the owners and hosts of the various controls, and of course you the entrants!

2014 Fellsman Classic Tour

Held in glorious summer like weather, thirty crews lined up for this tough navigational event, yet again the start was from the ever popular Mitton Hall, with bacon butties and strong coffee before the start to get the brains in gear. Following the tried and tested formula, the route books were handed to the participants ten minutes before their allocated start time, with the first car away at 9.31am in a determined effort to defeat John Hartley’s cunning route.

However, by the end of the day it transpired that only two crews managed to complete the run cleanly, with 19 via boards in the morning and 21 in the afternoon, and in time for both sessions, and they were Geoffrey Neumark and William Shaw in a Jaguar E Type and John Lythaby and Shon Gosling in a Toyota Celica, congratulations to you, so for the rest of you it’s back to the drawing board and roll on next year!!

The route was very scenic, for those who had time to look, and basically, after leaving Mitton Hall proceeded via Hurst Green, Goosnargh, and a series of twisting lanes towards Lancaster and Kendal,via the Kent estuary, for the lunch halt at Heaves Hall near Levens. The afternoon took the entrants up to Killington Lake, and then down through the Dales passing through Dent, Ingleton, Clapham, Bentham, Newton and Cowark, finally making it’s way back to Mitton Hall, for the usual de-briefing and inquest into ‘Where we went Wrong’

Many marshalls were out on the day, and a grateful thanks to them, without whom events such as this could not run.

Click here to see how everyone did.

112th Annual Dinner, Dance and Awards – 2014

Held at the recently refurbished and ever popular Mitton Hall, nearly one hundred members and guests were welcomed at the entrance with a glass of bubbly to set the taste buds on edge for a gourmet meal of Cesear Salad, Roast Rump of Lamb with Thyme Jus and steamed vegetables, and Pear and Almond Frangipan for sweet, with coffee and chocolates to finish.

Chris Lee was again the MC for the evening and introduced all the good and the great to the also rans, followed by the godly, (as opposed to demon) duo of the Reverend Barry Whitehead, and daughter Eve who gave the Grace.

Following the meal the awards were presented by Simon Hope of H & H Auctions, and long time friend of the club, the recipients were:- Speed Championship 4th Phil Perks, 3rd Barry Whitehead, 2nd John Moxham, 1st Eve Whitehead.

Simon Hope was presented with the Wood Trophy, by Mike Wood, for his exploits in the Peking to Paris Rally.

The Attwater Trophy went to Alwyn and Margaret Davies, and in the R.W. Clarke Memorial Trophy for the Classic Challenge the results were as follows, Navigators award, Margaret Breakell, Drivers award Frank Sharples, Organisers award Mike Raven and the overall winner of the RW Clarke Memorial Trophy was Geoffrey Breakell

The clubs top, and much coveted award, the Peter Collins Trophy, was presented by President Martin Wylie to Mike Smith, for his outstanding record in many spheres of motor sport. Who then delivered a very gracious acceptance speech.

Past President Carolyn Taylor, performing her last duty in high office, awarded the Presidents Cup to Michele and Tim Atty fortheir work on the membership and website

Following the formalities Harvey cracked the disco into life, and whilst some danced the night away others sought out the quiet room for a chat with old chums.

A very well organised evening, with the proceeds of the raffle being donated to the help Woody fund.

Centenary Celebrations of the Waddington Fell Open Hill Climb

On the 3rd May this year the Vauxhall 30-98 Register, the LAC and The Preston and District Vintage Car Club joined forces to celebrate the centenary of the Lancashire Automobile Club’s Waddington Fell Open Hill Climb with thirty five Vauxhall 30-98’s taking part in this historic re-enactment.

Exactly 100 years ago the event was won by Joseph Higginson of Stockport, driving the all new prototype Vauxhall 30-98.

A full report will follow here and there will be a full article in All Torque, the LAC members’ magazine. Lookout for further coverage in the press including Lancashire Life and Classic Car Weekly. Click here for an early preview of some of the great photographs taken on the day, more to follow.

Also see our history article in the timeline.

On the 3rd May this year the Vauxhall 30-98 Register, the LAC and The Preston and District Vintage Car Club joined forces to celebrate the centenary of the Lancashire Automobile Club’s Waddington Fell Open Hill Climb with thirty five Vauxhall 30-98’s taking part in this historic re-enactment.

Exactly 100 years ago the event was won by Joseph Higginson of Stockport, driving the all new prototype Vauxhall 30-98.

A full report will follow here and there will be a full article in All Torque, the LAC members’ magazine. Lookout for further coverage in the press including Lancashire Life and Classic Car Weekly. Click here for an early preview of some of the great photographs taken on the day, more to follow.

Also see our history article in the timeline.


Jaguars at BAE Warton

Forty Jaguars on a national tour from Coventry to Blackpool organised by Jaguar Heritage to celebrate ninety years since the formation of the company, initially as Swallow, were given a tour of Warton to see the manufacture of the Euro Fighter. To gain access to this top secret establishment, all entrants had to obtain security passes, and cameras and mobile phones were strictly off limits .Photo shoots were by official photographers, and a top quality lunch was provided by the hosts, prior to a guided tour of the production line, Paul Barron, the chief test pilot, then gave a fly past and display overhead , before disappearing into the clouds. A number of club members brought their cars along, and were included in the photographs next to the plane.

Ethanol in Fuel

I have been asked several times about the amount of ethanol being added to petrol to satisfy the ‘green lobby’ and EU regulations. As with all these things the answer is it’s not straightforward. Petrol companies are permitted to add up to 5% ethanol without declaring it. I believe most major suppliers are currently pretty close to this figure. It is worth noting that there is some pressure for the EU (and that would include us) to go up to 10% without companies having to declare it.

It is claimed that even at 10% the amount is unlikely to cause damage to a ‘standard car’. From reading articles I would suggest that classics are not ‘standard cars’ in this respect – more later.

It is possible for far larger amounts of ethanol to be added provided this is declared by the retailer at the point of sale. Some garages are currently selling E85 petrol and as the name suggests this has 85% ethanol and this should only be used in cars where the manufacturer states in can be used.

Several overseas markets have sales of 100% ethanol but their cars are specifically modified and adapted for this use. Such countries include Brazil and South Africa.

So what can happen if fuel containing ethanol is used in older classic cars? There are many reports of different problems but the most likely ones fall into three groups:

Loosening of pre existing contaminants in petrol tanks and fuel systems. Here the ethanol almost acts as a stripper loosening deposits including rust from any surface it comes into prolonged contact with. This material can then block filters and carburetor jets.

Chemical reactions with existing rubbers, resins, plastics and sealants etc. The effects on resins glass fibre fuel tanks can be of great concern but ‘O’ rings can turn to a sort of mush and plastic fuel lines can either leak or turn brittle depending on chemical composition. Fuel tanks with rubber liners are at risk and this is one for the racing fraternity to be concerned about. Having said that there are some classics with tank liners which may also be at risk.

The final issue is, I believe, of importance not only to classic car owners but to all users of this stuff. Ethanol is hydroscopic (like some brake fluids). That means it attracts and retains water. This can come from any source including water vapour in the air. The greater the moisture content in the ethanol the less likely it is to burn. If saturated it simply will not burn. That means if a car is not used for long periods the amount of moisture in the fuel may increase to a point where the engine simple will not start. In this case the fuel system will need draining and fresh fuel added to rectify the problem. Not an issue if the vehicle is used regularly but may become one where a car is laid up for several months over winter say.

Short answer is that it is highly likely the fuel he purchased contained some ethanol probably less than 5% but still enough to potentially cause issues.

Chris Lee
Vice President & Competition Secretary
Lancashire Automobile Club (Est 1902

Lancashire Automobile Club – Navigator’s Handbook

The Lancashire Automobile Club is one of the oldest motor clubs in the world and has a long history of organising events both on the highway and track. Amongst the current events are a number of road events, known as Touring Assemblies.

Some of these events, such as the St Georges Day Rally, Great Manchester to Blackpool Car Run and the Coast to Coast Classic Car Run, require simple navigation techniques but others such as the Fellsman involve more advanced navigational knowledge.

To assist entrants and to promote these events the club has prepared a Navigator’s Handbook which explores the various techniques and gives useful pointers and tips to entrants new and old. With 19 pages and 28 sections the Handbook covers many types of navigation from Tulips to Herringbones as well as in car organisation and control etiquette.

Compiled by the Club’s Competition Secretary, Chris Lee, the Handbook draws on over 40 years experience of preparing route books, competing in events and driving course cars. The book has been checked over by rallying legend Mike Wood and will be a boon to anyone taking part in navigational road events.

So if you want to know about Tulips and Herringbones or the difference between Clock Face and Clock Hand directions download the Navigator’s Handbook.

Chris Lee
Vice President & Competition Secretary
Lancashire Automobile Club (Est 1902)