Sad News – John Atkinson

Many of our regular entrants and marshals will remember John Atkinson and his red Daimler on our events. Tony Wood has just let us know of the sad news of the passing of John. I think most of you will either know, or remember John and Lynne, they were very active members and participated in many of our road events in their distinctive red Daimler SP250.

Final Week to Book your LAC Annual Bash at Mitton Hall, Whalley. Friday 25th February

“Final Week to Book your LAC Annual Bash at Mitton Hall, Whalley.
 
Complimentary glass of fizz on arrival, 3 course Dinner, a few Trophies and Dancing.
£45 per ticket. Contact Carolyn at mail@autotuneuk.com”
Friday 25th February sees our annual Dinner Dance and Presentation at the Mitton Hall Hotel, Whalley, BB& 9PQ. 7.00pm for 7.30pm. Lancashire Automobile Club members, entrants and guests are most welcome to this event which kicks off our season of motorasport in 2022.
As well as an excellent meal there will be a disco and dancing together with a chance to meet friends old and new before our season starts with the St Georges Day Run on the 24th April.
Tickets are £45.00 and can be obtained from Carolyn Taylor tel 01254 385413 or email cbt1969home@yahoo.com,
See you there.

On Her Majesty`s Nuclear Service – What a fantastic evening.

Motorsport Supper Evenings have been a part of the LAC social scene for many years, but this year the Club deviated to bring a very interesting talk to members and guests.

Social Events` Secretary, Carolyn Taylor invited an old friend  to come down from Argyll and Bute, to talk about his highly successful book, On Her Majesty`s Nuclear Service (title with approval from the Admiralty) and discuss the Cold War and the part played by the submariners.    Commodore Eric Thompson MBE. RN. Rtd. played a video, discussed operations, conditions and had some amusing stories.  The thing that seemed to “stick” with most people was that only three people on the boat knew their location at any time, and they could be away anywhere, including under the Arctic for up to 2 months.    A large box of the books was on display, and every single copy was personally signed and sold as the audience left.

The event was a total sell-out, ticket sales had to be stopped, to make the environment safe for the visitors.    The Golf Club served up their wonderful pie and peas supper.     Eric was given a payment for expenses for coming down to Lancashire, but handed it back, and asked for it to be given to “Blood Bikers”, one of our favoured charities, as he had not heard of them, and thought it a brilliant, volunteer charity.    He graciously accepted a very nice framed “Classified” ticket copy with thanks from the LAC, and a bottle of homebrew in the form of a rather special single malt whisky, when thanked by Martin Wylie for a fascinating and most interesting evening, which we were privileged to have enjoyed.

Annual Christmas Get Together

Our annual pre Christmas get togther and meal. Enjoy a pleasant meal in good company at the Brown Cow in Chatburn near Clitheroe BB7 4AW on the evening of the 9th Decamber.

The ideal way to start the Christmas festivities.

For full details and tickes please contact Eileen Dyson eileen.dyson@btinternet.com or ring 01282 771488

Four Hills and a Sprint Jaguar Drivers Club Speed Championship

Many of you may know that Anthony and Carolyn Taylor actively support the Jaguar Drivers Club speed champion, 4 Hills and a sprint, as well as Anthony competing at the championship rounds. The championship came to a close in October with the last Event of the year at Ty Croes Circuit on Anglesey.
A very mixed entry, and Anthony took his McLaren this time instead of the Aristocat to give it a final run of the year.
The picture is to demonstrate – as long as you are a member of the Jaguar Drivers Club you can enter any car in this “fun” championship.

Mike Wood’s memories of John Wadsworth

Many of you will have known John Wadsworth who sadly passed away recently (he was one of the longest standing members of the Lancashire Automobile Club).
Mike Wood was both a friend and fellow competitor with John and he has kindly put a few words together to give us some more deails on John’s exceptional life.
John Wadsworth
1937 – 2021
I had known John since I left school and most of us from Burnley lived in the same area, but to be accurate I was more aware of his father Edgar. I had been at school in the Isle of Man from the mid 1940’s and by the time I left in 1950 the seeds of Motor Sport had been sown because of the Manx TT. I badly wanted to race around the TT course like Geoff Duke on a Norton, obviously this was never to be.
Every January the Monte Carlo Rally took place and whilst the event was happening, the great Raymond Baxter reported its progress on the radio every night, no television in those days. Several times he would mention the name Edgar Wadsworth and I was thrilled to hear his name mentioned, John and I had yet to meet. Without doubt Edgar became my mentor.
As we lived in the same part of Burnley, John and I soon met along with others who had been away at boarding schools, including John Waddington. I am sure that I got to meet my hero Edgar at some point, later I got to know him very well.
Luckily for me I started navigating for John Waddington and we had quite a lot of success together, but around 1957 he packed it all in to look after the family textile business. I am sure that John Wadsworth would have started doing small club rallies around that period also; after all he did have the right DNA. In 1962 John asked me if I would navigate for him on the RAC Rally in his Mini Cooper, this was the year that RAC Rally started to use forest stages. We knew that we did not stand much chance of success, but it would give us a chance to see what those forest stages looked like. We did finish, not too badly I think, but definitely no awards. John continued rallying, but now his regular navigator and another Burnley resident was Alan Cooke. John did the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally with another local man, racing driver Geoff Breakell, they qualified as finishers, but were not highly placed.
Now we come to the year 1964, this has to be John’s best Motor Sport year ever. He and Alan entered the French Alpine Rally as private owners in John’s Mini Cooper 1275 S. For those who do not remember this was one of rallying’s hardest events and it was always every crews dream to win a Alpine Cup for a clean sheet, John and Alan did exactly that, an achievement seldom gained by a non works crew. Next, he entered and competed on the Tour de France Automobile, again a private entry and won his class. Now came the big one, the Spa-Sofia-Liege Rally (Marathon de la Route). A lot has been written about John and I on this event, so I will try and condense it a little.
BMC were entering five works cars for this rally, they were three Big Healey’s and two MGB’s. About three weeks before the rally I got a telephone call from Team Manager Stuart Turner saying that he was going to enter a works Mini and wanted John and I to crew it, in the same breath he said, a Mini has never finished this event and I do not expect this entry to be the exception Subsequently their main focus would be on the Healey’s and the MGB’s and therefore the service crews would not carry any Mini spares, they would have tyres for us and fuel, but that would be all.
The Liege, as it was fondly known, was 3,500 miles in length, incurring four nights and days motoring with only a one hour stop in Sofia. The roads in Yugoslavia as it was then known and Bulgaria were mostly unsurfaced and in parts extremely rough and this combined with the high average speeds imposed in both those countries made it almost impossibly challenging, particularly for a small car like a Mini. As I said previously much has now been documented about this 1964 event, but at the end of it all John and I got the Mini to the finish, the only Mini ever to accomplish this. Just for the record, only two Works BMC cars finished, Rauno Aaltonen and Tony Ambrose won the event in their Healey and we were the only other BMC finisher in next to last place, 20th out of 21. This was the last time the Liege would be run as a road event and our achievement was soon forgotten. However, over the years and what John and I achieved has risen to the top of the pond and it has now become a part of motor sport history. I must say at this point that about 75% of what we did was down to John, he did almost all of the driving because of the high speeds required, so in my opinion, but for him I would be not writing this now.
Time then moved on, John joined another friend and the two of them created a new and very successful local Financial Advisor business, Hartley Spencer. At some point in later on in years we were contacted by another ex-BMC Team Manager, Peter Browning and asked if we would help him run a Classic Touring event called the Prix des Alpes. We were both very happy to be involved in this and enjoyed many years running controls etc for Peter.
John however had not given up, he wanted more. Now into his 70’s and along with lifelong friend John Waddingtton, also in his 70’s they shared a Ford KA in various BTRDA and British Car Trials. At the same time he was competing with his two MX5’s in sprints, hill-climbs and autosolos, often doing two events in a weekend from his home base in Harrogate which he shared with his partner Nina. In 2017 aged 80, John competed on 51 events; he was Class1 MSA British CarTrials Champion and was 3rd overall in the prestigious BTRDA Allrouders Championship.
What a Motor Sport career. He was an excellent and safe driver, but most of all he was a good friend. I will sadly miss him.
Mike Wood
John (on the left) with Mike, on the Liege

Coast to Coast Classic Car Run 10th July 2021

Last Saturday saw our 28th Coast to Coast Classic Car Run. Starting as normal from the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, who made us most welcome, we made our way via the Lune and Wray valley’s to the Helwith Bridge Inn who couldn’t have been more accomodating.
After a refreshment stop we went via Malham and Stumps Cross Cavern to our lunch halt at The Inn at South Stainley. The Inn is under new ownership but the arrangements worked out well.
The next leg took us via Boroughbridge to Bylands Abbey and Rosedale Abbey to Scripps Garage in Goathland. In this section we came across a rather serious accident where a group of cyclists had suffered injuries. We wunderstand that one of the leading cyclists struck a pothole causing him to fall off. He was them hit by many of the following riders. When the Course Car arrived the accident had just occured and there was cyclists still climbing out of ditches and hedges. Several entrants stopped to assist and give first aid. One casualty appeard to be pretty badly hurt and went to hospital in an ambulance. Another appered to have broken ribs and others various cuts and bruises. POt holes are a menace to us but normaly we suffer suspension and wheel damage for cyclists the results can be far worse.
The event finished at Dunsley Hall just north of Whitby where we parked on the lawn for the cars to be judges by our President, Mike Raven, for the Presidents Award. He narrowed the entry down to three cars a Morris Minor, a Ford Capri and the eventual winner a Lancia Fulvia. In addition Frances Harrison presnted an award in memory of her husband Richard who marshaled on every Coast to Coast up to his passing last year. The Club gave FRances a special award for her services to the event.
Following that those who stayed at the hotel had a woderful evening.
A most enjoyable day all round.

Manchester to Blackpool – photos

Lancashire Autombile Club – Manchester to Blackpool Classic Car Run. Sunday 13th June.
After a break last year the Lancashire Automobile Club continued with it’s annual Manchester to Blackpool Classic Car Run, now in it’s 59th year.
Obviously things had to be organised a little differently this year but as an ‘organised sporting activity’ the event was allowed to proceed with strict compliance to current regulations and guidance.
Without the assistance of Blackpool Council the event could not have taken place so the Club was delighted that the Mayor, Councillor Amy Cross, took the time to welcome the entrants to Blackpool. This year the traditional Concours element on Stanley Park was dispensed with so the entrants enjoyed a simple run from Manchester to Blackpool via a circuitous route taking in Belmont and a coffee halt at Heskin Hall.
The route then went to Bowker at Preston Dock before entering the Fylde and going through Wrea Green on it’s way to Lytham then all the way up the front to finish on Princess Parade next to the Metropole.
To say Blackpool was busy is an understatment and the drive along the Promenade proved a challenge to 50 year old cooling systems but no incidents were reported amongst the 61 entries ranging from a 1913 Sunbeam 12/16 4 seater sports tourer through to a much newer Porsche Boxster.
Here are a few pictures from the run.

St Georges Day H&H Auctions Awards

Those of you who were out on our St Georges Day Run may not have noticed a representative of H&H Auctions out and about on the event. It was Adam Sykes armed with is trusty camera. His intention was to choose his favourite car on the day. But in the end he was so impressed with the entry he selected three cars. So we asked him to rank them – not an easy task but we now have his decision.

 

In third place we have  Richard Woods fantastic Mercedes SL600.

 

 

 

 

Moving back in time we have the 1951 Jaguar XK120 of Callum Hewitt.

 

 

 

 

 

But the car which Adam finally settled on as his favourite was Jim Clarke’s 1953 Mercedes 300S  

Many thanks Adam hope you enjoyed your day.

St George’s Day Run – Photos

Just a few pictures from a most enjoyable day. Startingand Finishing at Blackburn Northern Sports taking in some of the Ribble Valley, Pendle Hill, Downham, Trawden to a coffee stop at Colne. Then on to Hebden Bridge before returning via the Grane Road and Pleasington.

Great cars and great company.

Many thanks to Mike Wood, Eileen Dyson and Alan Shawfor the shots.