RAF Museum, Cosford - Sunday 6th July 2008
This year the Marston Sunbeam Register’s
annual rally returned to the RAF Museum at Cosford, some 5 miles north-west
of Wolverhampton on the A41.
The venue is a
fascinating - and prize-winning - museum that recently added Cold War
exhibits to its substantial collection of aircraft and all things RAF. Four
huge hangers house a collection of planes. These include a good array of
Second World War machines as well as more recent examples such as the
Valiant, Vulcan and Victor nuclear bombers as part of the recent
Cold War exhibition. This exhibition wonderfully evokes the post-war era with an
interesting mix of exhibits - that icon of East German two-stroke
engineering, the Trabant included! Although, a NATO observers' car decked
out with surreptitious espionage devices galore held my attention.
But, on to the
the Register, the weather leading up to the event had been an almost
continual downpour of rain, rain
… then more rain! The Register resolutely continued on with the event,
and it even brightened up for them later in the day but unsurprisingly the
number in attendance was down on that expected.
The ‘Beams gathered in the shelter of one of the hangars – a meeting of
vintage car buffs looked like as if they had 'pipped' the motorcyclists to one
of the museum's prime spots near a collection of more modest-sized
and picturesque buildings.
judges for the event assembled about lunch time, including an appearance
from George Peck. George, having worked at Sunbeamland in its heyday, was
introduced as the Register’s senior adviser on all matters relating to the
judging of machines. Now in his late 90s, he is the most likely to have a
keen eye for authenticity, having seen first-hand the making of most of the
components on the various
machines on show!
organiser Trevor Davies explained to those who had braved the weather, the
number of machines making an appearance on the day had halved from the 40 or so that
had indicated they would be turning up. But, a good selection of machines of
various age and styles were lined up. Alongside them, motorcyclists and
bicyclists awaited the judges' announcements, resplendent in waterproofs and
Register’s annual prizes for motor cycles and cycles were awarded. They will
be reported fully in the Register’s 2009 newsletter. Those handing out the
awards did so in good spirits. Malcolm Webster, from the Register’s ‘home
team’ at HS Marston made light of the day. There were quips about the
difficult decision that judges were called upon to make over the best motor
cycle combination – as rain water glistened on the fine enamel coat of a
solitary side-valve Lion of c.1932 with its aluminium-panelled ‘torpedo’
With a good number
of family and friends present, and what looked like a local press
photographer (or a bloke with a really big camera!), the atmosphere was warm
and good-spirited despite the weather. The assembled crowd clapped and
cheered as prizes were awarded. As the afternoon wore on there was even
a glint of sunshine!
But not enough sun to
make anyone want to linger! Awards handed out, many made there way to the
museum café (within the 'artfully silhouetted' building below) for the
sustenance provided by hot food and pots of piping hot tea.