London-based specialist Gregor Fisken and his navigator Simon Diffey were among the enthusiasts tackling the Flying Scotsman Rally, held over some of the UK’s finest roads between 31 March and 2 April. Fisken, who has competed four times at the Le Mans 24 Hours and is a regular competitor at blue-riband events such as the Goodwood Revival, was at the wheel of his Vauxhall 30-98. Rory Henderson from Fiskens also completed the rally in his family-owned Bentley 4.5L.
Entrants on the rally left Slaley Hall on 31 March to tackle the roads through Kielder Forest before heading across the border to the first overnight rest at the Dalmahoy hotel near Edinburgh. From there, they ventured into the epic Cairngorm Mountains, through Braemar and Tomintoul to a halt at Aviemore, then it was on to the finish at the prestigious Gleneagles resort. The 110 crews faced rain, hail, sleet and snow in their endeavours to complete the historic rally.
Gregor Fisken said "The Flying Scotsman always attracts exotic historic machinery and this year was no different. It’s a magnificent event; the 750 miles of challenging roads and inclement weather conditions tests both man and machine. It’s great to see the vehicles being pushed to their limits rather than confined to museum exhibits. We particularly appreciated the rally fans that turned out in their droves to line the pavements along the route to wave and cheer us all on. Fortunately the Vauxhall weathered the storms and ran like a dream”.
Gregor took part in the famous ex-Hughes, Neve, Miller and Scott-Moncrieff Brooklands and Prescott racing Vauxhall 30-98 special, and set some very competitive times on the stages of the rally. Given his participation in the event, it’s appropriate that Fisken is currently offering a previous winner of the Flying Scotsman from his well-known London premises.
Few pre-war cars are better suited to the demands of rallying than the Talbot AV105, which was designed by legendary engineer Georges Roesch. In period, the 105 brought great success to the marque via the efforts of the Fox and Nicholls team, most notably in the Alpine Trial. Chassis 35499 is one of the last to be built for competition, and was delivered new to Dr RJH Roth - complete with one of the eight Alpine bodies produced. With Zeiss headlamps also being specified, plus a Brooklands exhaust system, Andre Telecontrol dampers and no hood or windscreen, it is widely regarded as being a semi-works example.
In October 1934, it won two races in one day at Brooklands. For the following year, it was fitted with a new single-seater body and, having been prepared for the race by the factory, went on to be driven by C Staniland and M Couper in the 1936 BRDC 500 Miles. Decades later, it was reunited with its original body and rebuilt by marque specialist Pace Products. AYL 2 was then campaigned extensively and successfully by Roesch Talbot enthusiast John Ruston, twice winning at the Le Mans Classic and claiming victory on the 2013 Flying Scotsman.
The Talbot fully lives up to the description of authoritative writer Anthony Blight, who once wrote that the 1934 AV105 was ‘more desirable than ever to the discriminating motorist with a taste for long, fast journeys’.