At the weekend, Wiscombe Park turned the clock back to the 1920s and 30s when competitors from all over the country descended on the hill for a weekend of motorsport against the clock with their vintage race cars, reports Nigel Cole.
On Saturday, the 500 Owners Association and its members competed in the very wet conditions, but the brave drivers still competed as best as the conditions would allow them to. There were a lot of “sideways” moments!
The 500 Owners Association was founded in 1946 by motor racing enthusiasts who turned to 500cc motor bike engines as a more affordable option to the larger capacity engines. By 1950, they had received so much support, that it became known as Formula 3. Over the years, drivers who went on to become world famous started in 500’s including Stirling Moss, Ken Tyrell, Peter Collins and Bernie Ecclestone.
The 500 Owners Association were joined by the National Hill Climb Association members on their bikes and side cars.
On Sunday, it was the turn of the Vintage Sports-Car Club as hosts. The club was founded in 1934 and caters specifically for pre-was cars. It is one of the largest motoring clubs in the world and is highly regarded.
The oldest car competing on Sunday was the 1903 Mercedes of Roger Collings powered by a massive 9 Litre engine.
Most of the cars competing were built in the 20’s and 30’s with models from Austin, Riley, MG, and Frazer Nash being the most popular. There were also a number of “specials” - the result of the creativity and ingenuity of men in their sheds using whatever was available to build a car. Sometimes, the only engine choice was something that was used to power an aeroplane! These cars are incredible and totally unique. Their owners happy to still drive them in anger.
One example of a “special” is the1928 Shelsley Special Grannie driven expertly and flamboyantly by Charlie Martin. Powered by a JAP motorcycle engine, it demands a very special driving style. Charlie took the Class 13 Class win, and his time was the 9th quickest of the meeting. A car definitely not for the feint hearted!

Exmouth Journal: Barbara Lerigo - Riley Special 1496cc (1932.1935)Barbara Lerigo - Riley Special 1496cc (1932.1935) (Image: Nigel Cole)

Exmouth Journal: Charlie Martin - Grannie 1100cc (1928)Charlie Martin - Grannie 1100cc (1928) (Image: Nigel Cole)

Exmouth Journal: Charlie McEvoy - MG Magna F1 Q Type 1300ccS (1932)Charlie McEvoy - MG Magna F1 Q Type 1300ccS (1932) (Image: Nigel Cole)

Exmouth Journal: Andrew Hadfield - Wolseley Hornet Special 1750ccS (1935)Andrew Hadfield - Wolseley Hornet Special 1750ccS (1935) (Image: Nigel Cole)