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1967 Hovercraft Championships

These have just come in, they came with some typed research from the Hovermail Collectors’ Club which I thought was the perfect way to offer them, written by Gordon Runham in 1971.

(click on the image above to view it on our website)

Just before the Club was formed I searched the philatelic magazines for any information or advertisements relating to hovercraft (indeed, I still do). At that time I only possessed 4 or 5 items (yes, I was definitely a late starter). Image my surprise and excitement when I saw the advertisement from ‘Mainstamps’ regarding the ‘World’s First National Hovercraft Championships at Apethorpe’. Only 150 covers exist.

But where was Apethorpe? I have always been interested in postmarks and unusual place-names and this one was certainly an elusive one. However, at length I consulted several gazettes – Apethorpe near Peterborough.

So off went my postal order for the “First National Championships cover” and to my delight I eventually received the following information from Mainstamps” together with my cover.

‘On 3rd June 1967, some three dozen hovercraft assembled at 10.30am they travelled over the testing course which consisted of land and water.’

‘There were three main trophies to be won; (a) The “Lord Brassey Cup” for the best performance in all events; (b) The “Daily Express Air Rider Cup” for the fastest time over land and water and (c) the “Players No6 Trophy” for the most meritorious amateur craft.’

“The machines ranged from SR-N1 to models built by schoolboys and servicemen, but most were the work of garage genius and attic engineer. “The winner of all three trophies was Mr. Cedric Wren who built his hovercraft from two motor cycle engines in his Whitstable garage.”

The cover has a picture of the SR-N6 in blue and was not flown or carried and it looks as if the event was a very amateur effort, but I shall always cherish the commemorative cover. I believe that all “firsts” turn out good, especially in the philatelic field and after all this is the world’s first and who knows?

All the best



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