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Return of iconic scoreboard at Brooklands

THE restoration of the heart of the Brooklands race track takes another huge step forward on Sunday August 13 with the unveiling of an exact working replica of the giant 12m tall scoreboard which dominated the pre-war Paddock skyline.

The ceremonial unveiling of the scoreboard, which has been funded by the Brooklands Trust Members and Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd, will take place at 12pm.

Other attractions on the day will include ‘race start’ demonstrations on the finishing straight of the track, recently restored as part of the £8.2m Brooklands Aircraft Factory & Race Track Revival Project, and action on both the famous test hill and the Mercedes-Benz World circuit.

With so many of the operating procedures of the Brooklands track being based on those of horse-racing, it was only natural for there to be a traditional results board in the Paddock, listing not only the runners and riders, race progress and results for each race, but also the outcomes of protests and stewards’ enquiries.

The scoreboard also became the focus for the operations of the many on-course bookies who, in similar horse-racing tradition, were a feature of the paddock on race days.

With the original scoreboard having been demolished after the Second World War and no plans available, Brooklands Museum’s staff and contractors have had to recreate its design and operating mechanism through painstaking research, including viewing hundreds of photographs and hours of period racing film.

The entire cost of building the new scoreboard has been met by the Brooklands Trust Members – through individual donations and fundraising activities – and a donation from Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd in tribute to the Aston Martins and Lagondas which saw great success at Brooklands in the 1920s and ‘30s.

The annual Brooklands Reunion evokes the spirit of a typical race day at the venue in the 1930s and features many of the cars, motorcycles and bicycles that competed at the track in period.

Among the cars on display and in action will be a Crossley which achieved the astonishing record of climbing the steep slope of Test Hill in 10.2 seconds on June 6, 1911. It will be ascending the hill again at the event although there is no pressure for its previous record to be broken. The biggest-engined car present will be Robin Beech’s Rolls Royce Phantom II Handlye Special, fitted with a 1939 Merin III engine.

Fans of two wheels will not be disappointed as cyclist Bob French will be riding a 1935 Higgins machine which achieved 7th place at a meeting in 1939 while Clive Walton will be on an original Claud Butler model. Both cyclists will be wearing their club jerseys for extra authenticity. Motorcycles are out in force too with Martin Gegg astride his AJS Model 22 from 1937, John Summers with an early Sunbeam from 1922 along with a 1933 Rudge TT Replica.

Test Hill ascents begin at 10.30am followed by the unveiling of the scoreboard at noon. In the afternoon, visitors will be able to cross over to Mercedes-Benz World to see a cavalcade of cars on the winding circuit and later, back on the Museum site, the finalé of the day will be the staging of race starts on the newly-restored finishing straight.

Among the vast collection of early racing cars in the Museum’s own collection, visitors will be able to see the giant 24-litre Napier-Railton in action. This is the car that holds the ultimate Brooklands outer lap record of 143.33mph.

Also on display will be the 1926/27 Delage that took part in the very first British Grand Prix at Brooklands, the 1912 Lorraine-Dietrich “Vieux Charles III”, James Cheyne’s Halford Special which ran in the 1926 Grand Prix, and the modified 1927 Duesenberg Indianapolis car which Enzo Ferrari entered in the 1933 Monza Grand Prix in Italy.

As well as the racing itself, Brooklands was one of the most popular social destinations for high society in the glamorous heyday of 1920s and ‘30s Britain, so everyone attending is encouraged to wear appropriate vintage attire from their favourite decade to add to the atmosphere.

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