Photographs by: Stephanie Feather
Words by: Heloise Davies
VSCC Prescott has the equivalent status of Christmas in our family.
The first weekend of August is sacred, we never make other plans. Its a weekend of old cars, good food, drink, jazz, silly dancing, epic journeys to get there in old cars, bike races (in years gone by midnight downhill bicycle races) all accompanied by our best family and friends. From 1999 to 2009 I was a regular competitor at vintage car events mostly in my Dad's Austin 7 Ulster racing car. This isn't a slow road going car but built for speed, no hand brake, no starter motor, you sit on the car floor... at least its light enough to push start.
Since 2010 many things happened including the birth of two children (Adalie and Sebastian) and buying our own 1928 Morris Cowley Tourer as a family car which meant my racing career was on hold. Dad put his car up for sale and luckily for me my brother Tom decided to buy it. As Tom lives in Java it was over to me and Chris (my husband) to ensure the car maintains its value! Prescott 2017 was my much anticipated return to the driving seat. In years gone by I'd get very nervous (to the point of not being able speak) but this time I was more nervous about how we'd manage a racing car, camping and two kids, one of whom (Bastian age three) is a flight risk at the best of times.
Luckily we had plenty of family and friends about to help look after them and we had no lost kids. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I was so busy getting the kids ready/breakfasted in the morning that I may have forgotten to walk the course in time. We'd only picked up the car the weekend before – a whole other story of misfortune – meaning we didn't have any time for further tuning or for me to get used to driving it again.
My times weren't record breaking, but in a car that wasn't running brilliantly and needs quite a lot of work I didn't disgrace myself. In fact I was only 2.5 seconds off my previous best. Maybe the distractions of the kids will actually improve my times as you just have to get in the car and do it. In the meantime, its fantastic that my kids are starting to love Prescott as much as we do. They entered their first bike race this year (where all good racing drivers start) and finished with smiles. Thanks to my brother Tom for letting us use the car, here's hoping you get your turn next year. The most enormous thanks to Chris for embracing the vintage car world, going from Derby to Sussex twice to get the car in two days, spannering, engineering and supporting our family in our own vintage car dream.
When Heloise isn't racing she works for Arts Council England as a Music Manager and as a Harpist.