Blustery winds and the threat of rain showers didn’t deter arrivals by either road or air, as the de Havilland Moth Club’s return to Woburn Abbey and Park proved a success with pilots and public alike. The 28th International Moth Rally attracted visitors from as far afield as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Scotland and Wales.
Visitors from closer to home ensured a full spectator area on Sunday, when some of the 80-plus assembled vintage and classic aircraft gave a spirited air show, culminating with the ever-popular “Tiger 9” display team, assembling nine Tiger Moths in close formation.
In addition to types celebrating 100 years of de Havilland aircraft designs and guest displays including Peter Holloway‟s Fieseler Storch and the sole surviving Miles Hawk Speed Six, Kings Cup air racer, a new addition to the programme was the “Flying Dutchmen” from Seppe in the southern Netherlands, which despite the vagaries of air turbulence maintained an impeccable formation of a Piper Cub and two Tiger Moths. The team's title was actually a misnomer, as the display was led by a lady pilot, Dr. Kirsten Schugard.
Light relief was added by a new twist to “Captain Neville's” Flying Circus, who celebrated England‟s victory in the Ashes tournament by staging a cricket match on Woburn‟s grass runway, with the balls being bowled from low-flying aircraft, to brave batsmen Mark Stasiuk and Joe Wright! Earlier in the day, a little piece of history was made when Henry Russell, Marquess of Tavistock, son of the event's hosts the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, made a flight as passenger in a Tiger Moth. He became the fifth generation of the family to fly in a de Havilland aircraft, a precedent first set by the Flying Duchess, Mary, Duchess of Bedford in 1928. In addition to the aircraft, over a hundred vintage and classic cars attended, with the unique “Reavell Special Rover” based on a pre-war Rover 12 chassis, winning the Bonhams Trophy for the motor car best summing up the “Spirit of the Event”. The award was received from Henrietta, Duchess of Bedford by Sharon Langford of Harwell in Oxfordshire, whose father bought the car from its first owner in 1959.
The equivalent Bonhams Trophy for aircraft was won by the 1930 de Havilland Racing Moth G-AAXG, owned by Simon Kidston, which had been flown into the event from its base in Norfolk by New Zealand lady pilot Jan Chisum.
The “Flying Duchess Trophy”, the de Havilland Moth Club's premier Concours d'Elegance Award, was won by Tiger Moth G-AIXJ, owned by father and son, David and Duncan Green from Pulborough in Sussex.