THE INTER-UNIVERSITY HILL CLIMB.
Oxford beat Cambridge by One point.
AFTER four years of annual defeats in this contest, the Oxford University Motor Club have at last “stopped the rot,” in spite of some very bad luck and albeit by the narrow margin of one mark. The” game” was closely fought out right to the finish, and the results show several curious features ; Cambridge annexed every place in the solo classes and made fastest time of the day, but failed to produce a single runner in the sidecar classes, while the Oxford four wheelers proved slightly superior to their rivals. The course consisted of a kilometre (standing start) on a private drive at Eweltne Down, lent by Mr. J. Murray, the gradient was approximately 1 in 10, and several bends of varying ” fastness” occurred during
turned his 500 c.c. Morgan-Blackburne, and for some reason none of the other Cambridge three-wheelers put in an appearance. The 350 c.c. class was responsible for no thrills, as the best riders of both ‘Varsities have migrated to the larger machines, which require greater skill in handling on a difficult course. Pre-eminent among the latter is J. W. Marshall, who managed his ex-Brooklands Norton with consummate skill and daring, taking all the bends at their absolute limit (and slightly above, on his first run !), thus making fastest time of the day for Cambridge at 61 m.p.h. C. Aschan was a remarkably close second on an I.O.M. Douglas, which sounded and looked much faster than the Norton, and which accelerated in a manner peculiar
the climb. The weather was most unpleasant and the surface was dotted with puddles and • loose patches, so that drivers of stripped machines found that visibility was reduced to a minimum by flying mud and water. During the practising some mishaps robbed both sides of formidable competitors. 0. S. Williams (Oxford) crashed his very fast 350 c.c. Sunbeam and bent the forks badly, while H. W. Davies, another Oxforcl man on a T.T. Cotton, damaged his magneto in unloading his machine from a lorry. A temporary repair, with copper wire and straps, did not allow of sufficiently accurate ignition timing for speed ! R. R. Jackson is rumoured to have seized the engine of and/or over
and exclusive to a well tuned flat twin. That it was was beaten by 1-10th of a second was probably due to the fact that Aschan has not owned this machine for so long as Marshall has owned the Norton. The main thrill in the unlimited solo class was provided by L. Currie (Cambridge), whose Brough-Superior proved too much for the rider on the top bend—a spectacular but comparatively harmless crash. As usual, several notable performances were put up among the ” also rans,” notable in so far as elderly and ” touring ” machines were made to progress at extremely creditable speeds, while much riding worthier of faster machines was observed ; among this class must
be mentioned T. G. Moore (1925 P. & M.) (Oxford) and F. C. Clarke (S.V. Raleigh) (Cambridge). As mentioned above, the sidecar classes proved a virtual” walk-over” for Oxford, F. E. Buckland (Norton) (Oxford) as usual distinguishing himself in the 600 c.c. class, while drivers of Morgans had things all their own way in the unlimited 3-wheeler class.
Great things had been expected of R. R. Jackson in the car classes, as he was driving the famous supercharged Frazer-Nash” Rikki-Tikki II.”, now reduced to 1100 c.c. His first run was fast enough to beat sundry Austins and Amilcars, but too slow for a place in the larger classes. At the beginning of his second run the supercharger unfortunately burst, thus rendering the car hors de combat.
Repeating his last year’s performance (this year with a Brooklands Model), A. N. Maclachlan (Austin) (Oxford) annexed second place in the 1100 c.c. class. It remained for G. W. Bagshawe in a (somewhat hastily) supercharged Frazer-Nash to set up fastest
time of the day both for 1500 c.c. and unlimited cars, beating his nearest rival (a 30-98 Vauxhall) by a clear 4 seconds.
It is impossible to speak too highly of the performance of the Frazer-Nash cars of both Universities. Of the nine places available in the car classes, these cars annexed six, including all three possible firsts and fastest time of the day, against cars of far greater capacity. The sooner the British motorist realises that there is at least one 100% sports light car made in this country, we feel that Frazer-Nash sales will increase in a manner more in keeping with the merits of the car.
With the exception of Martineau’s Vauxhall, the bigger cars were disappointing, unsuitable gear ratios, carburation and ignition troubles accounting for the slowness of their times.
Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable day’s sport, reflecting great credit on the driving and timing ability of both sides and on the organising ability of the promoters.