Bluebird in Bromyard

The ‘what now in where now?’ you’re probably thinking. Well, worry not, as the event is only in it’s second year, it’s pretty small, and the town of Bromyard is not really known for anything else. It’s West of Worcester, up from Uckington and down from Droitwich, if you’re in the West of England and want to check it out. After a recent change in the law regarding street use of racing cars for competitive and non-competitive events, the local council were quick to approve the inaugural running of the Bromyard Speed Festival. I didn’t get there last year, but I heard lots of good things about it, so this time around I had to make my way over.

Alfa SZ
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Fortunately, a friend grew up on a farm 6 miles from Bromyard, so he was able to guide me in to a parking space near the centre of the town, and from there we could easily walk to the first paddock. A great mixture of cars was present, from a very tatty Jaguar XK120 to a rather gorgeous Alfa Romeo Montreal. My favourite was probably the Alfa Romeo SZ, though. Such a beast.

Jaguar XK120. Well used.
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A short walk around part of the street course led us to the second paddock. The first car we saw was a BAC Mono, parked next to a surprisingly dirty Aston Martin DB11. Further around was a collection of grass track buggies (both single and dual-engined variants of everything from Mini pickups to a Fiat Seicento to custom-built single seater buggies. In the same area were the former record-breaking cars of years gone by. John Parry-Thomas’ “Babs” and Sir Henry Seagrave’s “Bluebird” (one of many cars to carry that name). Sadly, Babs wasn’t able to run on the day, but the Bluebird put on a very impressive show considering the narrowness of some of the streets they were running in.

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‘Babs’
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We could hear the first group of cars making their way around the street course, but there were still more static vehicles to gawp at. A varied bunch of motorcycles (and a petrol-powered mobility chair) shared a street with a group of Formula Fords of all ages and the most impressive car of all, the 1911 Fiat S76 “Beast of Turin”. A purpose-built record-setting car with an astonishing 28.5 litre 4 cylinder engine. That’s correct, over 7 litres per cylinder! The exhausts consist of a pair of square exits on the side of the engine which belched flame and exhaust heat towards spectators at chest level. Fantastic machine, and with quite a convoluted starting procedure. Fortunately, the hill was steep enough that the hand crank didn’t have to do too much of the work.

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Fiat S76 “Beast of Turin”
Two motorcycle engines in the rear of a Mini Pickup
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We spent the rest of the day walking around the streets, catching as many different views of the cars as we could. There was a wider downhill stretch with marshalls on hand to rein in the enthusiasm of some of the participants, and some very narrow lanes with sharp corners to really test the turning circle and driver strength of some of these monsters.

Lotus 340R
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You may have noticed that some of the photos look a little... peculiar. I had neglected to re-adjust my White Balance after last week’s visit to the RAF Museum and it’s fluorescent lights, so in the bright sunshine of Bromyard some over-exposure was on the cards. Oh well, it adds a certain ‘vintage’ feel, and I’m sure you can do better when you visit. Next year

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For more poorly-taken images from this event, check out the album on flickr:

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