See Red Comes to Donington Park

Vintage car racers must contend with all manner of hazards, however “ski-ing” around the track at Donington on the detached bonnet of a rival’s motor is not one that you would instantly guess at.

That’s the fate that befell Tideswell’s Phil Dobbin in the latest of the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) events at the Leicestershire course at the end of May.

It wasn’t what Phil had suspected either. He put it down to a steering failure until he pitted and the loosened the exiled bodywork of a Riley from under the wheels of his 1924 Vauxhall 0E-30 98.

Erring on the side of caution, more for the benefit of his fellow competitors, Phil decided to sit out the remainder of the race.

The car has been in Phil’s possession for four years now, having taken pride of place from a two-litre Lagonda.

The four-and-a-half litre Vauxhall isn’t just for the track or the hill climbs which are Phil’s preferred contests; it’s a genuine family car which he drives (no trailer, mind) the length and breadth of Britain to compete in.

“The finest of the sports tourers,” is how he paraphrases one expert’s summary, and then adds his own affectionate assessment.

“It’s quite a big car and the brakes aren’t the best, so I’m never going to up at the front. But it’s great fun on the circuits.”

Despite the bonnet issues, Phil helped the Vaguely Vauxhalls collective to second handicap position over 71 laps at the VSCC team race during the SeeRed Vintage and Historic meeting at Donington.

It was one of eight events Phil and his classic will be tackling this year, having already done Silverstone’s Spring Meet and the Curborough Speed Trials in Staffordshire, as well as making the long trip to Devon for the Wiscombe Hill Trials. Harewood, Goodwood, Loton, Shelsley Walsh and Prescott are also due an appearance by the Derbyshire combo.

There are believed to be fewer than 200 OE-30 98s left, the last one having been made in 1927, and this particular model already has its next owner waiting to take the wheel. Phil’s nine-year-old son Oscar was heartbroken when he realised his pocket money wasn’t going to stretch to the price of his own classic Vauxhall. So to help dry the lad’s tears, dad did the decent thing and bequeathed the car to him.











further images from the days racing........

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