Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally Update - A Berkeley SE 328 Completes the Rally

Hi All, just returned yesterday after my successfull completion of the Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally. I must say that I was astounded that my 1957 SE 328 made It! However, like Ray Bell's B95 we also suffered a drive shaft failure in Ljubjana and consequently lost a return leg (290 points) back to Bolzano! Up untill then we were 2nd and 3rd in our class, (authentic 300-500 cc) but as no other car in this category dropped a leg it was impossible for us to catch up on points. I felt extremely guilty as the drive shaft end I used was actually Ray Bell's. Mine went prior to his so he kindly lent me the spare only to find his car going down with the same problem the next day! He had one sent from England by overnight courier by M R Smith to get his car back in the event! Out of the nine Berkeley's taken over for the Rally only two had to be retired due to mechanical/electrical failure, these were a B95 (big end failure) and an SE 492 (electrical problems). We were all pleased, and slightly astounded that we were more successfull than the original 1958 Berkeley entrants. Indeed when our little SE328 arrived into the square in Ljubjana the rally organiser, Malcolm McKay greeted us with the phrase "congratulations, you've just beaten Pat Moss and Anne Wisdom", as their original SE328 failed on the exact mountain pass crossing from Italy into what was then Czechoslovakia! On the cars that took part, it is interesting to note that the two SE492's that prior to the rally had undergone total ground up restoration required considerably less maintainence than the "running" examples, of which three, an SE 328, a B95 and a T60 all lost one leg of the rally due to repairs needed from mechanical failure! Bearing in mind that these cars all had been thoroughly "gone through" in the weeks preceeding! From my own point of view I must place my own success at completing the rally on my German navigator Thomas Luck, without his assistance in finding people with repair shops and local people willing to help us out with tools and sunderies neccesary to complete repairs we would NOT have been on the finishing list! Some may say that this was an unfair advantage, but Thomas was, and did help out other members as well! The other consolation was that Thomas and I were awarded the trophy for the best "original car and occupants", as we had agreed prior to entry to keep in the spirit of 1958 as much as possible with regard to clothing and accessories! Regards Bill Toyer.

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