Some correspondence from Jeremy Burgess (Gerry Burgess's son - Gerry owned the car in 1953 - he eventually won the RAC Rally GB in 1959 in a Ford Zephyr)
Since our last communication I have asked my mother whether she has any more information about the car -
Unfortunately she doesn't have any photos nor details of when or to whom my father sold it but she does remember that it was " very unreliable " breaking down on the first morning of the Rally , and also on their return journey via Austria. ( She and my eldest sister were in attendance ).
Incidentally , they even detoured via Monte Carlo harbour to seek out David Brown , who kept his yacht there , such was my father's frustration at the reliability of the car !
I hope its' sorted now !
The Co- driver was a guy called Ernest Juer.
You said you were going to send me some more info and photos and these would be gratefully received if you can get around to it.
Thanks and regards
Jeremy Burgess 16.07.2010
& Ernest Juer, co-driver to Gerry Burgess on the Alpine Rally, July 1953
Hi Chris - what a fun time-shift into the past. many thanks for that and the photos.
Gerry Burgess was a prewar bicycle sprint British champion, interested in all kinds of wheeled racing. He and I met in 1940, when he was first on the scene where a Spitfire and I had a disagreement on procedures. This was at Heston, then an airfield between Heathrow and London. It is now a trading estate where, after the war, Gerry had manufacturing facilities (the factory is still there). We formed a friendship which continued until he died. In 1950 and 51 I was into motor racing and rallying and introduced Gerry to that. Later he had a 2nd in the Monte and a win in the Liege. These great Monte Carlo, Alpine and Liege Rome Liege rallies over partly closed public roads had a minimum and no maximum speed over all sectors with penalties for delays. I had done two Alpines with MG; Gerry bought your Aston, then really state of the art, (I remember that Tommy Wisdom had the first one), and asked me to join him on the Alpine.
We took it down to Brighton one morning at dawn, to try the acceleration along the 30 mph sea promenade, then often closed and used for sprint trials. Our third run was blocked by a police car. Having huffed and puffed the sergeant said that proceedings and charges could be avoided if he could have a run or two in the Aston. He could. Later he turned out to be co-driver of a successful HRG campaigned by John Gott. I had met them both in the 1951 rally. Gott. born in 1913, was a riding mechanic at Brooklands, won a George medal and an MBE . In 1947 he acquired an HRG and finished every Alpine Rally from 1948 to 1951, winning a Coupe des Alpes in 1951 He was killed at the wheel of his racing car in 1972. In 1964 the same copper helped me beat a speeding another speeding offence!
Back to 1953. Cars had to be standard as available in shops. Big cars started first. First night out and rolling along at some 120 kph we were passed by a flock of 'just 2ltr' Sunbeam Talbot Alpines, driven by Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Hawthorn and Sheila van Damm.
I think that the only standard part of these was the badge. Next night there was a bang, the car was all over the road. We looked and one of the huge coil springs forming the front suspension had broken off the chassis. Gerry thought this might be covered by the guarantee and disclosed his thoughts to (David) Brown; the latter recovered his hearing some weeks later.
I went on to racing sail boats and did rather better there. I am one of only two with 2 overall wins in the annual Round the Island (Wight) races, which tend to have 1740 entries including all the hot boats in the country.
I would love to see the car. Do you take it to Goodwood, which is ten minutes for me?
Whatever we can arrange cannot be too far ahead: I am 87, so sometime in the next 2-10 years.
Cheers Ernest Juer 19.07.2010
2nd email from Ernest Juer
Chris - I do not know when Gerry sold it. I have no record, but I believe he changed to a Jaguar for the Liege/Rome/Liege (I think I had a Jowett Javelin in that} where he did very well, and then drove Ford cars in at least three Monte Carlo's, starting there, Moscow and Lisbon, always successfully with a class win and 4th overall, RACs etc.
After 1954 I lived abroad for ten years and was only loosely in touch with the scene. No photos I am afraid. I think that we did not carry a camera.
Not all was sackcloth and ashes and doom. We had a bit of a laugh.
On the way down we practiced on some major passes; we had a coffee before tackling the Galibier and a priest asked for a lift to the top. He wore a monk-like habit and sandals. Undismayed by the lack of any passenger space he squeezed in. Gerry pushed on a bit and lost it on a hairpin with a vertical drop available directly into the valley. We slid to the edge - nearly the end of the car. Gerry backed up and tried it twice more before negotiating the turn successfully. Up the top we released the man of God who ran off literally sobbing and screaming skirt flying and red toes flashing.........perhaps no lover of the sport.
Everyone stayed at a big hotel near Marseilles at the start and as is fit and proper I had the best room with a balcony over the entrance. We hung out a huge cloth saying Aston Martin; the manager came up screaming and said the space had been hired by the 'most bloody Rootes'. Up went a banner saying Sunbeam Talbot. As the workmen left this was turned upside down and inside the French Doors Aston went the right way up. The press took photos and left, but I got no copies of that.
Cheers - Ernest 22.07.2010
Recent Correspondence sent to Jean & I by Ian Stowe.
From Simon Moss - Jack Moss's son (owner of Four Ashes from 1954 to 2003
Finally sorted through the rest of my racing photos and attach a few more of MYT that may be of interest for your gallery ....
The ones of Brands in 1991 are notable only because it was such awful weather ! I remember I qualified 6th on the inside of row 3 with Guy up in front of me on pole in KAK. When the race started we both sat still with the back end slithering sideways towards the pit wall. Dave Reed led all the way but Guy had the red mist after the start and when I found waved yellows at Druids on the second lap I just knew it was him !
I got stuck behind Donald Flatt for several laps. he couldn't see me in the spray and put me on the grass at Clearways but I eventually found a way up the inside into Druids.
Silverstone in 92 was a smashing race - best I ever drove the car. Nowhere near Steve's standard but records show I lapped 1.5 secs quicker than Ian (Stowe) managed the following year. I chased Jon Gross pretty hard early on but fell back when got a top-end misfire through Woodcote - it was a very hot day and I think we suffered heat-sink in the carbs.
Finally the rear end shot at Curborough is the first ever 2-lap sprint in 1993. I won that day - my only ever win in the car.
I have a few other photos - mainly though they are of Wiscombe in the early 80's and very similar to the ones you already have.