This Sunday (July 13) sees Brooklands commemorating the 75th anniversary of its last race meeting with an event aimed at attracting the Goodwood Revival crowd as well as Museum regulars. Period feel is to be expected and period dress is preferred as the world’s oldest motor racing circuit marks its place in history.
The final meeting at Brooklands was actually held on the August Bank Holiday of 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War – but given that the summer is a particularly crowded time in the vintage transport calendar, it was deemed necessary to bring the commemoration forward a touch.
The aim of the Reunion is to conjure up the atmosphere of Club meetings in the 1930s for both members and visitors. The site will be filled with visiting cars, motorcycles and bicycles that raced at the world’s first purpose-built track from 1907-1939. Other pre-War vehicles will also be parked up in their own enclosures, just as spectators’ vehicles would have been on race days.
There will be Test Hill demonstrations, with sessions for cars, motorcycles and cycles. Over on the Finishing Straight, the pre-War racing cars will form up in ‘grids’, which will be sent off up the Finishing Straight towards the Members’ Banking.
For many visitors, the awesome power and thunderous bravery inspired by Brooklands in period will be the highlight. Look forward to demonstrations from the star of the Brooklands Museum, the mighty 24-litre Napier-Railton with which John Cobb set the all-time Outer Circuit record of 143.44mph in 1935. The big Napier-Railton will be joined for a special guest appearance by the 350hp Sunbeam – itself a former record-holder at Brooklands, clocking 123.30 mph in 1922 before being made famous by Sir Malcolm Campbell as his Blue Bird record breaker.
At lunchtime there will also be a cavalcade on the Mercedes-Benz World track. The timetable for the day is as follows:
10.00 Museum open to the public
10.30 Race Grids briefing (Education Centre)
11.00 Race Grids on the Finishing Straight behind the Wellington Hangar
12.00 Cavalcade briefing (Education Centre)
13.00 Cavalcade at Mercedes-Benz World
14.15 Aero engine runs
14.30 Test Hill briefing (Education Centre)
15.15 Test Hill
16.00 Napier/Sunbeam demonstration
17.00 Museum closers
The S&G will, of course, be there to cover the action – and hopes that this is the start of big things to come for a long-overdue event…