The East Anglian Traction Engines Societies 60th Anniversary Road Run took place on the weekend of the 1st & 2nd August. 20 full size engines took part over both days, along with a host of vintage vehicles and even a couple of miniatures
The first entrant to leave Webb’s Yard at Acton was Mark Vine on his Aveling & Porter Roller which was converted to diesel, with the addition of an Mclaren Engine during its days with Bomford & Evershed. Following behind were several rollers of various makes, including the three engines being operated by Alan & Stuart Hines together with their respective crew. These engines were Robey Showman;s Tractor ‘Bathsheba’, Aveling Roller ‘Percy’ and Aveling Tractor ‘Old Peculiar’.
New to the area is Society Editor Jenny Baxter’s Fowler T3 Roller ‘Firefly’, and ahead of her on the road was Matt Garwood with his Aveling Roller 2941. Completing the roller line up were Will Childs on his Aveling Barford, Dan Chidgey with his ex-Essex CC Aveling ‘George’ and Stuart Hart’s Aveling Roller entered by Tom Nunn
A couple of traction engines also set off, John Garwood on the Philp families Clayton & Shuttleworth and Sam & Jemma Wheeler on the Wheeler families Ruston ‘Oliver’. Sadly ‘Oliver’ developed a problem with its tyres a mile or so into the run and diverted to Long Melford, spending a day outside the ‘Cock & Bell’. Sam reports that he and Jemma had an enjoyable day talking to members of the public awaiting the arrival of the rest of the run at around 3pm
The route wound through the centre of Sudbury and out through Bulmer to Gestingthorpe where some of the engines took the opportunity to visit Ashley Coopers Museum of local history. Here Charles Baker joined the run with his Garrett Tractor ‘Agathis’ and a trailer load of friends and family. This bought the total of Garrett Tractors on the run to three, the other two being Vice President John Smith with ‘Empress’ and former chairman Kevin Swann with his showman’s tractor ‘Lord George’, which was in the charge of Bruce Smith. In addition to the Garrett’s another steam tractor was on the run though this time a Wallis & Steevens, owned by Paul Whipps
Also seen at the Museum stop was the furthest travelled entrant, Alan Eatwell and his delightful Foden Steam Wagon which spent its working days in Norfolk.
The run the pressed on through Gestinthorpe to the edge of the village and our lunch stop at ‘The Pheasant’. We have always been made most welcome at this pub and have run several successful events there in the past. Waiting for those who had stopped at the museum in the paddock opposite were both miniature entries, Terry Baxter and his 4” Mclaren Showmans together with Bruce Rice and his 4” Dodman. Bruce had first entered the run when we’d totted the mileage count up at 14miles, in the end it worked out nearer 20! Both miniatures finished the route without any trouble which is a credit to both the drivers (and their understanding wives)
Also in the Paddock were both the Webb families steam entries, Burrell Gold Medal Showmans Tractor ‘Peter Pan’, and Foden Tractor ‘Mighty Atom’. Several vintage vehicles were also present in the paddock including two Model T Fords, a Morris Eight Van and a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith
Parked directly outside the pub were the final pair of steam entries, President Keith Honour’s Burrell Showmans ‘Margaret’ and Vice Chairman Andrew Walings Foster Tractor ‘Lord of the Isles’. Both engines were hauling trailers filled with people and fitted with banners advertising the society.
The run left the pub just after 2pm heading for Sudbury via the descent at Ballingdon Hill, passing back through the town and onto Long Melford where a pleasant couple of hours were passed with the engines in the street and large crowds of onlookers and club members.
The short hop from Melford to Acton was undertaken and at around 7.30 Mark Vine trundled in on his Aveling, 11 hours after setting out - an excellent achievement
Sunday as promised was a much more leisurely day. Several engines decided to return home or move onto their next event. This meant that in the end only 7 engines ventured out towards our days visit - Hawker Restoration. There were however a good deal more vintage vehicles joining us from various local stables, giving the day a more ‘vintage’ rather the exclusively ‘steam’ feel. Mark Vine changed from the Aveling to an MG, which made for a much faster ride!
The journey to Hawker was a short one (thankfully as most of us had got up a little late), and we were treated to a facinating tour of both the Race Car and Aeroplane restoration works. Here we were joined by our final entrant Robert Baker with his Stanley Steam Car which was parked out the front of the main hanger with several other cars. Hawker Racing, is we were told more of a hobby than anything. That said it hasn’t stopped the company entering vintage race meets across the country and as far afield as Monaco where they achieved a third place finish only last year. As well as maintaining vintage race cars the firm also builds replicas of cars that are for many of us, considerably beyond our finnanical means. Currenlty in production are a brace of Jaguar C Types, including a stunning gull wing variant for an American Customer
The aeroplane side is, however, what really made the day. The firm of Hawker Restoration was founded many years ago with the aim of restoring to flying condition three WWII Hawker Hurricanes. This the firm did with great success and can now claim that out of 15 air worthy examples, 11 have been restored by themselves, and they have worked on three of the other four. Two Hurricanes were in the works under restoration (with a third off site nearing readiness for its maiden flight). Over 25,000 hours and £600,000 of raw materials are required to restore a Hurricane to flying condition, and the quality of the workmanship on display was appreciated by a large number of mesmerised engine men!
Sadly we had to leave Hawker and return to the yard, stopping for an hour at The Swan in Little Waldingfield for lunch before completing the road run
The Society would like to thank Simon Webb, and family for their hospitality and assistance in organising the run. Also to the landlords of ‘The Pheasant’ at Gestingthorpe, ‘The Cock & Bell at Long Melford, and ‘The Swan’ in Little Waldingfield. Great appreciation is also extended to our hosts, Ashley Cooper at Gestingthorpe Museum, and Tony Ditheridge at Hawker Restortation as well as the Clare Fire Fighters in their vintage fire engine for assisting us with watering the engines on both days. Finally thanks should also go to the National Traction Engine Trust and our sponsors for their donations towards the staging of the run. There was a charitable element to our activities and we hope to announce a final total raised for the local ‘Do It For Daisy’ appeal in due course
Photos: David Collidge