Simon Smith’s Elan is the first Lotus Twin Cam-powered car to win the Pomeroy Trophy – and he’d owned it for less than a year. Since its inception in 1952, this quirky event, devised to establish the best all-round touring car according to an arcane fomula devised by Laurence Pomeroy, has demanded a minimum capacity for post-war cars of 1950cc. But in the face of falling entries, two years ago the Vintage Sports-Car Club abolished the capacity limit, opening up the field to a new generation and allowing in a swathe of new iron, from Minis to Golf GTis.
That included anything with Lotus Twin Cam power, meaning Smith was in with a crack even among a 143-car entry, up from fields of 90 cars under the old rules. The first year the capacity limit was dropped the overall trophy was still won by a 2.0-litre car – David Wylie’s BMW 2002 M12 – so 2018 marks the first year a ‘tiddler’ has won.
Smith, like the rest of his Cumbrian family, is known better for Frazer Nashes, and in fact won the event overall in his Boulogne Vitesse in 2001. Dad Dick was Octane’s first Man and Machine with his ’Nash Nürburg.
The Elan is a new departure. ‘I got the car last year. I bought it in May 2017 from Nick Pancisi, who had been racing it in the Guards Trophy races at HSCC meetings. It was being looked after by Gerry and Rob at Wainwright Motorsport and was in race-ready condition.
‘It started life as a standard S1 in 1964 but in 1991 was sent to Tony Thompson Racing to be upgraded to 26R spec – it is classed as a Series 1 GTS now. After the rebuild it went out to Hong Kong and raced at Macau. In 2003 it was racing in Europe [ninth overall on the Tour Auto] and did Spa Six Hours. ‘I bought it because I wanted to do longer two- and three-driver races and share it with my sons. We did the Guards Trophy race at the Gold Cup meeting in August and then Spa Six Hours, unfortunately retiring with mechanical issues.
‘Power is 170bhp at 7500rpm and it’s down to the minimum homologation weight of 580kg. Tyres are Avon CR6ZZs fitted for Spa – road-legal but with a slightly smaller diameter than the Dunlop M Section race tyres it normally uses, gearing it down enough to be an issue at Silverstone. In the Pom, which now uses the GP circuit, I had to feather the throttle for the last quarter of the Hangar Straight. It handles so well that I’m sure it will be fun on all circuits, but more so when there are more corners than straights! ‘I’m maintaining the car myself, as I have always done with the ’Nash, Peerless GT and previously the Formula Junior Cooper.’