Gleaming chrome, glistening paintwork and the sound of immaculately maintained engines were the order of the day on Saturday 12th August 2017. Twenty-six intrepid classic car enthusiasts lined up at the world famous Brands Hatch motor racing circuit for the start of the Kentish leg of the Classic 300 Motor Run.
The idea was conceived by the Masonic Classic Vehicle Club to showcase 300 years of English Freemasonry. The Classic 300 is a series of fifteen non-competitive classic car runs taking place in England and Wales during 2017.
The series was launched on Sunday 21st May 2017 with a large gathering of vehicles at Windsor Great Park. The first vehicle was waived off by The Grand Master, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent. Click here to read our report on the event.
A travelling gavel (made from a con-rod) is carried on each run which altogether will visit many famous circuits and motoring venues, including the Isle of Man’s TT circuit. The event will end at the historic Brooklands Motor Museum in Weybridge, Surrey, on the 1st October 2017.
Waved off by the Head of West Kent Freemasons, Provincial Grand Master Mark Estaugh, they set out on the fifty mile journey to Lydden Hill circuit near Dover.
Happily all 26 entrants made it to Lydden without troubling the AA, where they enjoyed a sunny afternoon of British Classic Saloon Car racing, and a well-earned picnic.
Graham Roper, a member of the organising committee, explained the thinking behind the events: “We are not seeking to raise money for charity. We just wanted to have celebratory runs, open to both Freemasons and the wider public to show what Freemasons do when they are having fun.”
Graham’s own classic vehicle is a splendid 1963 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud 3 which he has owned for the last 10 years. It has a mighty 6.25 litre straight six engine which, to this day, can still manage speeds of around 90 miles an hour (on the track of course). When asked how many miles it did to the gallon, Graham’s response was: “I prefer not to think about it”.
Another notable entry was the 1968 MGC driven by the Head of East Kent Freemasons, Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing, and navigated by his Deputy, Peter Williams. Originally a Canadian left-hand drive model painted orange; the car has been completely rebuilt and now sports a British Racing Green livery. Beneath the bonnet lies a 3.0 litre Austin Westminster engine. The car has been rebuilt in the style of one of two works-built cars prepared for the 1968 Sebring 24-hour race. It has larger wheels, a wider wheelbase and uprated disc brakes all round.
Among the other marques represented on the day were such famous names as Bentley, Ferrari, Triumph, Jaguar, Sunbeam, Maserati, Porche, Mazda, Morgan, Mercedes and Volkswagen.
Commenting on the importance of events such as this Geoffrey Dearing said: “These runs and events like them let the general public see that there is a fun side to Freemasonry which complements our more formal activities. These days are simply about meeting friends, having fun and sharing our passion for these beautiful classic vehicles.”
Report: Richard Carney. Photos from various sources