We take the following from the Road Locomotive society's journal for December. This is the organization of the steam engine fans in England. We felt all of you would be interested in what and how our English Brothers conduct events which correspond to our 'Reunions'.
I attended this event on August 14th, and am pleased to say that everything went off well; the weather kept fine, and there was a big crowd.
About ten thousand people were present. Ten engines turned up out of an entry of thirteen, and the proceedings started with a grand parade of all the engines around the field (about a mile round). This was a good show, and then the racing events commenced; engines were put in classes, two speed compound against two speed, and three speed against three speed. There was only two each in these events, and in each case one engine got a good lead over the other and maintained it to the finish.
The race for single cylinder agricultural engines proved the most exciting, as there were four of these abreast and pretty close to one another. They got away to a perfect start, and there was not much in it up to about a third of the way round the course; then the last year's winner, 'Old Glory', fell away when it started priming badly and also had a big end running hot, and all the others passed it. A superb performance was put up by 'Old Faithful', a 65-year old Burrell single, No. 1436, made in 1889 and owned by J. Hugill; driven by H. Hugill and J. Morton of Brompton-in-Swaledale, Yorks., it was driven in a masterly manner and romped the course to finish a worthy winner in a good race. I should say there was about 80 yards between first and second, second and third (both Marshalls that took part last year) finished almost abreast, and 'Old Glory' was last.
The Burrell had been renovated up and painted green with motion work polished, and looked quite smart.
After this event there was a race between two small tractors, both compounds with three speeds. One was a Robey 4 hp. 'The Village Queen' owned by R. Preston of Potte, who also was the driver; the other was a Mann agricultural tractor, No. 1247, listed as 5 hp., and owned by L. Lazenby of Pickering and driven by M. Brewer; this tractor was made in about 1916 or 1917, and was previously in the Bishop Auckland area. The race was not a very good one, as the Mann was slow at starting and the Robert had about 30 yards start before it got going; when the Mann did get on the move it kept about the same distance from the Robey for about a third of the way round, when it began to prime badly and lost about another 30 yards. However, it recovered and set off after the Robey, and I thought that it was going to make a fight of it, but the Robey kept going very well and maintained its lead, to win by about 60 yards. The Robey was in immaculate condition, and was a good advertisement for steam.
Next came the obstacle race, which was really a test of driving and steering; driving around fifty gallon drums which were spaced equally apart in the middle of the field. This was interesting, and was won by the little Robey, which proved much handier for the task than the bigger engines. The big Fowler show engine had a real tussle in this event; it also proved very unwieldly in the racing, and the smaller engines went around unless than half the time.
The tug-of-war between 'Old Glory' and four Fordson Major tractors, was rather humiliating for steam. In two pulls the Fordsons won, pulling the steam traction fairly easily; owing to the fact that the Fordsons had large trakgrip pneumatic tyres, and there were eight of these tyres against two almost smooth iron wheels on 'Old Glory', the latter simply did not bite on the grass surface and the tractors slid him back.
I consider it was all a good show, and worth going to see; the field was very rough, and pretty hard on the old engines, but they stood it.