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Event // Chasing eccentricity at The Pom

Event // Chasing eccentricity at The Pom

The search for the perfect car is one that consumes us all, but can you devise a formula to work this out? According to the rules of annual The Pomeroy Trophy, you can.

First staged by the Vintage Sports Car Club in 1949 and now being run for the 64th time, ‘The Pom’, as it’s become known, sets about finding the ultimate touring car. It may have started as serious business, but today The Pom is a treasured and light-hearted season-opener that features just about the most diverse entry list I’ve ever seen.

Consider this. As is expected at a VSCC event, the entry list included vintage luminaries such as a 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C, a 1936 Aston Martin Speed ‘Red Dragon’, a 1937 Delahaye 135, a trio of BMW 328s, and a brace of 16 ‘chain gang’ Frazer Nash’, one driven by David Richards himself. Those icons lined up again early Porsches Boxsters, modified bangers of all types, and team Oh MG, a group of eight friends who each purchased £500 MGFs for the event, and plan to sell them afterward on eBay. Roberto Corno even drove his 2007 Lancia Thesis across from Turin just for the event – I’ve never seen one of those before, let alone on a track. It’s as welcoming and diverse as motorsport gets, and theoretically, all are competing on a level playing field.

The points formula is confusing, but this just adds to the fun. The cars undergo a series of off and on track tests, with penalties incurred according to performance. The car should be road registered, should have a roof, should be capable of carrying two VSCC specification suitcases without using the passenger seat, and since the ratio of cabin area to wheelbase is important, length is measured from the rear of the brake pedal to the rear axle line.

Performance is measured according to the following factors:

  • Acceleration is proportional to bhp per ton
  • Maximum speed is proportional to the cube root of the bhp per square-foot of frontal area
  • Circuit speed is proportional to the sixth root of the bhp per square foot of frontal area
  • Steering and braking are independent of age

The dynamic tests take the form of a 250m slalom, a braking test, a ¼ mile acceleration test, a flying ¼ mile, and a 40-minute regularity run on the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, where a target number of laps is calculated from the vehicle specification and further penalties are incurred if the car stops or spins during the 40-minutes.

It’s quite a bit to get your head around, and nobody knows who wins until several days after the event. The Pom is a prized event to win, where doing so involves creativity around vehicle selection and the ability to drive it quickly and cleanly all day.

The 2019 event saw one of the closest competitions in history, and was won by Alex Ames in his Chevron B8 BMW (above), a rather canny choice. Yes, this is an out-and-out historic race car, still wearing its Le Mans Classic door stickers. However, it is road registered, was fitted with roof racks to facilitate the carriage of the suitcases, and performed expectedly well in the dynamic tests. An impressive victory.

Sports Car Safari was there to support out friends at the Wriggly Monkey Brewery, who had entered their Armstrong-Sidley mobile bar. No, this was never going to be a serious chance at a victory, however, it is a fully functioning bar that is capable of carrying six kegs of beer. It was pouring pints out the back door on Friday, and sliding sideways around Silverstone on Saturday. That’s what it’s all about!

The Pom proves that British eccentricity in motorsport is alive and well, and is one of the most unique events to tackle this famous piece of tarmac.

Words and photos by Andrew Coles