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2013 - St Georges Day Classic Tour - 21st Apr

This tour was jointly organised by the Salisbury CSMA and Sarum Marshalling Team and was part of the HRCR Scenic Tours programme, sponsored by Clayton Classics. The organisers were raising money for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and were very grateful for the support being given to the tour by local company Ashley Power Ltd., a company specializing in the parts we all need to keep our classics on the road. Just to show how popular these tours have become, the entry list of 70 cars was full within 14 days of the regulations being published.

The start venue was at the superb Foxlease, a large estate of 65 acres, which has been in the hands of the Girlguiding UK since 1922. Signing on was very swift and we were soon settled down to our breakfast roll and time to take a look at the very clear descriptive road book. The stunning house made a superb backdrop for the start control, from where the cars were to be flagged away. Dippy and crew left Foxlease at 10.07 hours and joined the main A337 and headed south towards Brockenhurst, along the very attractive forest road. The route now turned to the west and then made a clockwise loop around Burley. So far, there had been a nice mix of roads - some open and flowing -

others a little more demanding. The plus point for us was that the organisers’ mileages were matching our Brantz meter to the 10th - well done to the route organiser!

After crossing under the A31, we passed Linwood and the open moorland road, with some fantastic distant views to be had. The route went past the old RAF Ibsley - the only fighter station in the area to have a tarmac runway. This was followed by a turn left into Hyde Lane, with beautiful thatched houses to die for. Continuing on past Sandy Balls, Wood Green and Hale, we were soon on to Wood Green Common.

The Final Instructions for this tour had given warnings of the horse power that we may encounter during our trip. For us, this became evident in this area, as these 4-leg drive machines appear to have no driving licences, no wing mirrors and no knowledge of the Highway Code! But if a new patch of grass is spotted, the zero to running speed can be quite rapid, but with caution there were no near misses!
More superb roads took the route past Hamptworth, Nomansland and Furzley, which brought the crews to the Empress of Blandings for the lunch halt. The road book mileage to the rest halt was given as 55.5 miles. Our meter had a figure of 55.98 - how close is that?! The large restaurant served the entrants and organisers a superb buffet lunch, with very efficient and friendly service.

Lunch over, there was a nice relaxed restart, which gave time to wander around the car park and admire the wonderful cars that were entered, the oldest car being a 1925 Sunbeam 14/40, crewed by Don Foss and Patricia Jessop. Although not a classic car yet, the 2013 Ferrari 458 Spyder - with a registration of GT 200 - did get a lot of mouth-watering looks.

Gazing over, it was time to start the second half of the tour. Heading in a south-easterly direction, we passed by Winsor and Ashurst and then onto the road entering the Beaulieu Estate. This place is perhaps best known for the wonderful home of Lord Montagu and of course the fantastic motor museum housed here. Motoring on, came the views of Bucklers Hard, followed by a recommended pause to view the WW2 Airfield and the Isle of Wight. Then past another airfield - this time by the name of Beaulieu - dating back to 1910. This area must have seen a lot of action in both world wars.

Next, followed a very unusual sight in Pilley village. Here the horses had found a wonderful source of food - by wading into the shallow lake, they can rake up the plants from the bottom and then stand there and eat. Great to watch, but we have more miles to travel!

Continuing on past Boldre and Sway, the route then turned south-west to the finish venue at the Sammy Miller Motor Cycle Museum. A great place to finish the tour - plenty of parking space for the cars and a discounted entry into the museum for those who wished to make a visit. The accurate mileages in the roadbook had continued in the second half - our meter showing just 34 hundredths more than the organisers! Congratulations to Chris Derbyshire, his team and the marshals who allowed this tour to take place. The choice of roads and compact route, mainly in the New Forest National Park, were very good and the paperwork just perfect.

Our sincere thanks to Peter Fieldhouse for all his help in editing our report.

Hilary and Mike Stratton plus Dippy - Car 43.