did in getting the cars up that hill, he was certainly deserving of sympathy. It was just a case of pitting engine power against a surface which almost defied any chainless wheel. Some of the Midland boys got away with it well, however, but I venture to suspect that they knew more about the geography of the hill than we did, because in spite of all efforts we could not persuade our wheels to bite, so we started doing some more problems in simple subtraction and saw our hopes of a silver disappearing into blue haze.
High Oak Hill, which was then descended, is described as a ” natural brake test,” though to our way of thinking it would be more fitly classed as a highly ” unnatural ” one. We got to the bottom safely, however, and felt a little more satisfied after taking Liveridge Hill in what we fancied was good style. Buckeridge Hill followed a few miles further on, but though more grease prevailed we were not seriously troubled and made all speed towards the redoubtable Abberley Hill, which put paid to all our efforts as to those of some other competitors.
Not that the gradient was in any way troublesome, but oh ! the mud! Churning ourselves into a fury, we commenced to slide down backwards for another attempt and again came to the same sorry pass. Of the third attempt we were assisted by three or four hefty stalwarts, who clambered all over the poor little car to give it a grip on the road. This was altogether too much for its proud spirit and it gave up the ghost, ch.unking miserably. Then, to make things worse, one of the said stalwarts said ” It’s got no g***,” meaning to imply it had insufficient power to drag a full-sized committee up the hill, which we considered to be rather harsh criticism of a poor little 8 h.p. ‘bus that was doing its damnedst. At length Hundred House was reached, where we weighed in, lunched, and proceeded to discuss the chances of making any sort of a stop and restart at Abberley Hill on the return journey. Most of the car and motor cycle competitors agreed that there was not an earthly chance and so did the promoters, for they shifted the test higher up the hill for the afternoon,
where the surface was less greasy and the gradient not so severe.
Just after passing Stockton-on-Teme on the homeward journey, the Senechal engine began a severe fit of asthma, or something, which caused us to stop just when we wanted to make up time. On lifting the valve cover, we found one of the tubular push rods very badly bent, owing to the complete seizure of a valve rocker. There was no time for any fancy methods, so we got out the oil can, soused the part with oil and with the engine running inflicted a series of cruel blows, which eventually freed the part. Had we waited until it had cooled down, the rocker would have needed a press to get it free from its shaft, but happily brute force was justified for once and in a few minutes’ time we were well on the way again.
Fortunately this little incident occurred before the acceleration test took place, and a quick run up High Oak Hill, which was literally chock full of spectators, got the rocker nicely free, so we got over the measured section of the acceleration test in less than fifteen seconds.
Passing through ..klvechurch, along the Bromsgrove road to Burcott, we had a spell of easy driving, but from Lickey End to the next observed hill we encountered Fordrough, Gutter and Sling Fordrough, which were not easy climbs by any means and made it necessary for one to keep the foot well down in order to avoid losing time.
The first observed climb of any real consequence was Shut Mill Hill, but this, though boasting a greasy surface, caused but little trouble and did not account for any failures. Lower Walton and Hagley Wood Hills followed, and on both of these we passed the observers without being very much terrified, after which a further spell of main road driving brought us through Kidderminster and on to Stourport to pull into the first time check with four minutes to spare.
By this time our engine was giving forth a deepthroated roar, having suffered a slight casualty in the shape of a broken away exhaust box, but we managed to fix things up so as not to attract too much attention, when passing through the civilised sections of the route.
Rumblings, April 1933
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