William Medcalf and ten Years of the Flying Scotsman

The tenth Flying Scotsman saw William Medcalf and a whole fleet of vintage Bentleys line up at Brooklands. Just as they had done a decade earlier, they had come to contest perhaps the toughest UK rally for pre-war motor cars. All manner of different marques were down on the start.

The late Philip Young and the Endurance Rally Association devised the Flying Scotsman as a reliability trial ‘for crews with a press on attitude’ and, in every edition since the first one in 2009, the crews and their cars have been tested by the roads, the weather and the navigation. This year the route was designed by Anthony Preston, renowned for finding what could best be described as the roads less travelled.

William Medcalf himself has taken part in eight Flying Scotsmen including the original one in 2009, and has won this prestigious event twice in 2014 and 2015 and, eventually came a close second this year.

This year, the tenth anniversary edition, was always going to be hotly contested and William, always keen to be competitive arrived at the start in a rather special 1925 Super Sports which was fresh off the boat and still sticky with champagne after winning the month long Road to Saigon Rally in February.

Even with 5400 rally miles on the clock, and bearing the marks of a tough jungle journey this remarkable car owned by Graham and Marina Goodwin only needed a quick wash up brush up and an oil change to get it ready for the cold and wet hills and dales of Northern Britain.

Day one of the rally saw William and his navigator, Andy Pullan, take an early lead as the rally hit the Hill at Brooklands. Bill Cleyndert and Dan Harrison was in second place in his own Medcalf prepared machine, a 1925 Bentley 3-4½.

Day two began under heavy drizzle which soon turned into incessant rain. William and Andy were caught up behind a tractor and lost a lot of time ending up in fourth place.

Day three therefore was one for a fightback through Yorkshire, Durham and into Northumberland . By the time that Gosforth arrived they’d clawed themselves back to second place overall. The Cleyndert / Harrison combo were right behind them.

Day four turned out to be explosive, with William and Andy taking chunks out of Gareth Burnett and Matthew Vokes’ lead, but the Bentley then encountered yet another farm vehicle which cost them dearly, and they just kept a grip on their second place. Third place, as expected went to the other Medcalf Bentley, of Bill Cleyndert and Dan Harrison.