Time was briefly rolled back in September 2002 when STOC staged an historic reunion of the two Le Mans race Tigers with many of the people who created and drove them in 1964.

What a month! People and cars meeting for the first time since 1964, a great result for everyone at the prestigous Goodwood Revival where the cars took the motorsports world by storm. The 'agony and the ecstasy' of Le Mans where despite the heroic efforts of a large number of people history was repeated, a tremendous National Rally and Chasestead Sunbeam Challenge and loads more in between for our international visitors and club members to sample. Many great memories which will, like fine wine, improve with age.

Our main theme - the reunion of the 1964 Le Mans Tigers to race as a team again in Europe in company with works drivers Peter Procter, Jimmy Blumer and Claude Dubois together with constructor Brian Lister and builder Ken Hazlewood, was a smash hit at the Goodwood Revival meeting. Not least Darrell Mountjoy's No9 Sunbeam Lister Tiger that he had generously brought from the U.S.A to Europe - it took everyones breath away. Whilst a few pre shipping wrinkles left it uncompetitive against the world's best sixties race sports cars, I hope the admiration it received here began to reflect the skill applied to it's masterful recreation.

Speaking for the Sunbeam Tiger community all of us admired the way Peter Procter enthusiasticly yet modestly came out of retirement to race No9 at the circuit where his first racing career was cut short in 1966. Indeed the motorsports media was most impressed as well and Peter received much deserved praise in several classic and vintage car publications.

Eventhough the No8 race team of Tony Eckford, Chris Beighton and Howden Ganley began to put the 'record straight' at Goodwood, the Le Mans Mulsanne Straight once again did for No 8's motor. So we didn't get to see the Sunbeam Lister Tigers, as nicely rechristened by the GRRC, make amends for that first visit in June 1964; not in 2002 at any rate. The will and the backing remains strong however for another full on attempt and I am looking forward to 2004 when one, if not both Tigers, will have another crack at the Mulsanne in the Le Mans Classic - the nearto re-creation of the original 24 hours event!
STOC members within easy reach of the writers home get first look at Darrell and Steve Alcala's handiwork. Later we took Darrell & No9 down to the local pub - an establishment that has been serving beer since 1550 ! (see 'First appointments' link below
During a break between the big events the cars were taken to Rockingham (the home of British Kart racing) for a close up meeting with Brian Lister and Ken Hazlewood. Here the latter day race going public had the chance to see the Tigers and we had the opportunity to hear from Brian Lister about the ideas and plans he had for the cars in early 1964 which Rootes chose to ignore! This was followed by STOC's appearance at the Brighton Speed Trials, arguably a unique occasion and certainly the oldest continuous motoring event in Britain.

The Le Mans Classic was held for the first time over the weekend of 21 – 22 September, using the full road circuit and featuring both day and night races for classic cars divided into five age related groups. The event was the initiative of Peter Auto in Paris together with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, and took a great deal of persistence and negotiation with the local authorities and businesses to become a reality. They succeeded and it happened, STOC competitors and us spectators are grateful for their persistence, as it added an important gathering to the classic motoring calendar. It also brought together a fantastic variety of machinery with around three hundred cars spanning over fifty years of racing history to one of the most famous and charismatic circuits in the world.

A calvalcade of 50 STOC members, VIP's and 20 odd Tigers went to support the LM Tigers as well as three other STOC competitors driving their cars of second choice! Peter Procter may have had his race curtailed after three laps but he showed a clean pair of heels to his entire grid by his magnificient power slide start. Several STOC folk had some compensation though from an opportunity to drive their Tigers at full tilt around the circuit!

Those not emotionally exhausted by France took a break from bench racing to join STOC's caravan tour around the South East of England's 'green and pleasant land'. With our international visitors we took in a bunch of motor museums and other places of ancient interest! - many Tiger yarns exchanged and not a single breakdown.

Red sports car as far as the eye can see at the Haynes Motor Museum

STOC members on the South of England motoring heritage tour

64 Tigers were in pride of place for STOC's National Rally at the Brands Hatch circuit and were the centre piece of a British Sportscar Festival. All saw arguably the best Chasestead Sunbeam Challenge yet with Chris Beighton winning the 'Mike Windebank Memorial Trophy'. Many well justified show awards were presented to members by guest of honour Lewis Garrad, who also presented the 'Ian Garrad Members Choice' trophy to Darrell Mountjoy. All in all a fitting finale to the month.

Many thanks to all the members, visitors and guests who put a great deal of effort into organising our programme and by doing so making it a huge success - Happy Tigering