2009 MSA Classic.

This year I entered the Saab into the MSA classic. A non-timed navigation rally through England.

Start points included Chester, Nottingham, Norwich, Chelmsford, Dorking, Andover, Bath and Cheltenham; with all the routes ending at Silverstone.

I was on the Bath start, with a route which included Prescott, Baddesley Clinton and Gayden Heritage Motor museum.

Saab in action at Silverstone.

Photo courtesy of peter Brown









The night before the rally.

The car was prepared with a wash and polish, some fresh air in the tyres and a tank of petrol. Some tools and a pack lunch were stowed in the boot.

Early next day we had trouble finding the Bath start, but followed signs to the Royal Crescent which got us close enough and the marshals waved us in. In the park we joined an impressive line up of classics waiting to start including Jaguars, triumphs, MG's and Healys.


The start at Bath in the Royal Park.


We signed on at the park café and coasted up to the start line. After receiving the first stamp on the route card, the marshal waved the flag and we climbed long hills out of Bath.

Out of the city the route took us on to some less travelled B-roads and gave a glimpse of motoring from days gone by. No traffic, sweeping bends and vintage cars, all under a warm September sun.

Catching up the field



We arrived at Prescott and joined the queue of cars waiting to try the hill climb. When the marshal waved us off, the Saab was given a generous boot full of throttle. The long left hand bend at the start was taken flat out and the steep twisting bends made the tyres squeal. Apart from that the run was trouble free and we managed a respectable time, finding the limit on several of the corners.

After returning to the paddock we parked up for a short break and a chance to look at the cars which had joined us from Cheltenham. Before departing, we had a chance to try the course again, an offer which was accepted !


Saab cooling down after the Hill Climb






We headed for the lunch stop at Baddesley Clinton and had fun pursuing a swiftly driven Volvo Amazon through the twisting lanes; then we came to Hayden Motor Museum. A collection dedicated to the best (and worst) of the British motor industry. The museum was well layed out with lots of interest and the upstairs cafe provided a much-needed cup of tea.

Outside the museum, there was a chance to admire the fine machinery which had gathered in the car park.









The final navigation leg took us on some fast A roads to Silverstone, where we drove across the finish line and received medals for completing all the checkpoints and generally enjoying ourselves.

We also got the chance to try 2 laps of the grand prix circuit which was a suitable finale to a great day of motoring. The first lap was good but we caught up some traffic and had to slow towards the end.

After waiting in the pit lane for a clear run, the second lap was much faster making 85mph on the Hanger straight and a lap average of 60mph.

Attacking a corner at Silverstone



Pit lane exit at Silverstone












If you have a car which is 20 or more years old which you like driving, the MSA Classic is a great way to spend a day. The road navigation was great fun, all the marshals were polite and jolly, and the track time was a real treat.