SPEEDVISION – Fifth Annual Hunt Country Classic – Part I

by Walt Pietrowicz (photos by the author and Louisanne Pietrowicz)

Middleburg, Va., Oct 25 — Sunday, Oct. 16th, the British, under the guidance of the MG Car Club of Washington, D.C., visited Svea Farm, a picturesque horse estate owned by Barbara and William Scott. The Scott's have been graciously opening up their home and hosting the Hunt Country Classic for the last five years.

The mutual association between the MG Car Club and the Scotts has hatched one of the most pleasant and enjoyable British car shows on the East Coast. "I wanted to provide a nice place where car people can get together and just have fun," says Bill Scott in his gentle voice. He has succeeded. Cold and damp conditions would have added a nice touch of even more British ambiance, but the summer-like weather conditions, forcing the thermometer into the 80s, was far better than the rain which has dampened previous outings.

The British assault began at first light on Sunday and continued for several hours, as 209 registered British marques occupied the grassy areas in front of the main house. Built in 1898, the Svea Farmhouse you see today replaced a pre-Civil War house and barn. Its surrounding land, originally used primarily for a cattle operation, was again back in service, but this time for a herd of Triumphs, Jaguars, Rolls, Minis, Hillmans, Morgans, TVRs, Sunbeams, Rovers, Healeys, a gorgeous Riley, and of course, plenty of MGs--all grazing comfortably on the Scotts' front lawn.

The Scott's Svea Farm is in the town of Middleburg, which began as a convenient rest stop for weary travelers along the Ashby Gap trading route over 250 years ago. Lt. Col. Levin Powell, a Virginia statesman and officer in the Revolutionary War, acquired and developed the area and named it Middleburg, seeing as its mid-way between Alexandria and Winchester, Va., (in those times a major overland trading route between the Potomac and Shenandoah Valley). No stranger to being a host hamlet for centuries, Middleburg is saturated with fine restaurants, shops and charming inns, including the oldest inn in America, Red Fox Inn and Tavern. Also known for its foxhunting and steeple chasing, Middleburg enjoys a deserved reputation as the "Nation's Horse and Hunt Capital."

Middleburg's sparse population of 600 nearly doubled for the day, and a spectator fee of $2.00 per car was all that was required to see the classic British iron and enjoy a taste of Britain with Abingdon Sausage Roll, Cornish Pastie (stir-fried veggies wrapped in a flaky crust), British baked beans, a host of home-made desserts, and even a mint on each plate.

I skipped tea time in favor of a swig of some freshly made apple cider. Adjacent to Bill Scott's successful Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia is the Summit Point Apple Orchard, where Scott grows and sells gourmet apples. He provided plenty of the temperate fruit for consumption, with orchard foreman Eric Wohlleben utilizing child labor to generate the BTU's for turning the apple press (please don't tell kids this is work). All involved collectively produced a very refreshing and tasty relief from the day's heat.

There was a lot more going on besides apple cider, including an appearance by Robert H. Peirce, the counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington. A pair of equestrian-draped riders were on hand: Charles Whitehouse, master of the hunt, and another member of the Orange County Hunt Club, but alas, there were no beagles. Bagpipes provided the background music as over $1,250 dollars were collected from a silent auction for donation to the Piedmont Environment Council (PEC) that keeps this rural and natural landscape from becoming a Home Depot parking lot.

Combine all of the foregoing with Barbara and Bill Scott's generous gift of the use of their farm for the day's activities and you have a recipe for the perfect British car show, appreciated and applauded by all who attended.

Part II

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