Ecurie Ecosse

A few of the Jaguars on the Tour outside Ballathie House Hotel near Perth with Hugh McCaig's Jaguar XK120 Cabriolet in the foreground.

A few of the Jaguars on the Tour outside Ballathie House Hotel near Perth with Hugh McCaig’s Jaguar XK120 Cabriolet in the foreground.

For the second year running the Ecurie Ecosse Tour was based at Ballathie House hotel near Perth and twenty six “friends” of Ecurie Ecosse arrived with the usual wide range of cars. The furthest travelled entrant was Scott Shearman from Australia who almost had to borrow a car for the event as his immaculate Mercedes-Benz 300SL was held up in its container in Southampton. Another entrant from abroad was well known historic racer Adrian Van Der Kroft who brought along a race prepared Shelby Mustang.

The event is really a get together of old friends and one of Ecurie Ecosse’s greatest supporters, Dick Skipworth arrived with his Aston Martin DB6 Volante. Dick, who has the largest collection of ex-Ecurie Ecosse racing cars has just added to his collection with one of the Tojeiro-Buick Coupes which no doubt will be seen racing later this year at historic events.

Every car has a story and Adrian Hamilton was recently reunited with the Jaguar XK150S cabriolet his father, Duncan, gave him for his 17th birthday. Duncan Hamilton had bought the car for £200 and Adrian kept it for ten years before selling it to buy his first house. After that the car disappeared. However, many years later Adrian started to look for it and put an advertisement in one of the Jaguar Club magazines and was told it was in Switzerland. More years passed and out of the blue Adrian received an e-mail from a Swiss enthusiast to say the car was coming up for sale. Adrian bought the car back and then started to badger the DVLA to get the original registration number back and was successful and the car appeared on the Tour for the first time.

John Coombs, right, with Stuart Graham, winner of both the Isle of Man TT and the Tourist Trophy for cars.

John Coombs, right, with Stuart Graham, winner of both the Isle of Man TT and the Tourist Trophy for cars.

Neil Corner at one time owned one of the ex-Ecurie Ecosse D type Jaguars and was also the first owner of the Ecurie Ecosse Transporter which he bought in the early 1970s. Neil is also a great Bugatti enthusiast and had with him a superb Bugatti Type 55 Supersport. Some years ago he attended an auction of the late Ettore Bugatti’s artifacts and Neil was able to buy Mr Bugatti’s BRDC lapel badge, given to Bugatti when they made Bugatti an honorary member. Freda Corner, his wife, was also wearing an unique necklace made up of a gold medal given to Fernand Gabriel for winning the ill-fated Paris-Madrid race of 1903 which was halted at Bordeaux due to the carnage on the road. The medal was struck for Gabriel with both Paris-Madrid and Paris-Bordeaux inscriptions to cover the shortening of the race.

Dutchman and historic racer Adrian van der Kroft with the Shelby Ford Mustang.

Dutchman and historic racer Adrian van der Kroft with the Shelby Ford Mustang.

The event was held a few weeks later than normal but the Scottish weather held up so that the only impromptu motor sporting element at Crail aerodrome in Fife was run in dry weather. Crail is an interesting place, built as a training aerodrome during the war and now one of the most original wartime aerodromes in the country. A handful of the Tour drivers went along for an impromptu driving test event. Needless to say it attracted the most competitive people with former European Sports Car drivers Andrew Fletcher and Ian Skailes taking part. Indeed it was Andrew who set up the fastest time with the least penalties in his E type Jaguar closely followed by Barry Wood’s Ferrari 575. Adrian van der Kroft took third with his Ford Shelby Mustang. Andrew Smith who occasionally races under the Ecurie Ecosse banner and was sharing the driving of Alasdair McCaig’s Austin Healey 3000 managed to slip in a few runs with his Audi A8 and proved quickest of all but it did not count for any prizes.

Freda Corner with husband Neil and their immaculate Bugatti at the Fortingall Hotel lunch stop.

Freda Corner with husband Neil and their immaculate Bugatti at the Fortingall Hotel lunch stop.

The Tour, then, was once more a great success and a change from standing around cold racing circuits watching the cars go round.

Categories: EE Tour, News

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