THE VARSITIES AT EWELME
THE Intervarsity Hill Climb, run at liwelme Downs on February 28th, showed that it takes more than beastly weather to damp the enthusiasm of competitors in one of these all-too-rare events. Some sunshine but more snow, coupled with a biting wind, made conditions most unpleasant for drivers and spectators alike. The latter found it distinctly trying standing on the exposed slopes of the hill, what time chilly and blasphemous drivers worked on their vehicles with numb fingers.
In spite of these troubles, however, the whole event was a great success, and thoroughly enjoyed by all present. We must confess to having seen snappier organisation, but after all such an event is run primarily for the competitors, and If the spectators have to wait on occasion, it is merely part of the day’s work The very large entry rather complicated the efforts of the organisers. This large entry was due chiefly to the inclusion of touring car classes, which with very few exceptions produced some remarkably dull motoring. The actual performances in this category were meritorious considering the type of cars, but all the same we cannot help feeling that they are rather outside the natural scope of a speed event. Rose on an old 8-18 Talbot was good, and in the larger classes W. M. B. May’s old 4-seater Aston Martin showed that there is something in a name after all, and though the car was touring, its ancestors were anythingibut ! •
The event started with the motorcycle classes, and these were enlivened by the presence of a very fast Rudge in the hands of F. French, who though not actually competing, was there to give a demonstration. This he most certainly did, and till Muir and his Velocette made a special effort towards the close of the proceedings, was leading the field with a time of 34.72 sec. Muir, and Ma.vrogordato on his Scott, were both very impressive, but although Mavro rode beautifully he was not quite fast enough to beat Muir, whose Velocette was going great guns, and Muir, in a last desperate ascent, reduced the time for the hill to 33.89 secs., which now stands as the present record.
CHEERY EVENT IN CHILLY WEATHER
Following the motorcycles, came the rest of the entry in a somewhat haphazard order. R. R. Jackson in his very low Morgan, had a walk-over in the 3-wheeler classes. His time, however, was 41.7 secs. which was really fast. When the sports cars started things began to wake up and the top bend in particular, which was getting wet and loose, proved interesting and exciting. The road being heavily cambered, and the outside of the bend being intersected with gullies, it became advisable to keep close in, but in some cases the desire to do this did overcome centrifugal force.
Falkner’s M.G. Midget was good and steady though the outstanding effort in the small cars was that of G. Hartwell on a supercharged Ulster Austin, who got off the mark like a rocket, and shot round the top bend in a steady slide with his foot hard down,-41.18 secs.! The previous car record for the hill being 42 secs. interest increased in spite of the young blizzard which was in progress. Incidentally the latest B.A.R.C. Safety First” rule anent wearing goggles for racing would hardly seem applicable to racing in snow. Personally we found some kind spectator’s ” Gor’ blimey ” the most effective protection.
The record then fell to various people, including a very fast supercharged Salmson in the hands of A. Aiken. Demonstration climbs were made by a big Merced_s saloon in 40.21 secs., and a stripped In.victa chassis which streaked up in the remarkable time of 39.01.
J. Robinson, on his Brescia Bugatti was not to be outdone, and put up 39.39 secs. On his last run, however, he rather overdid the enthusiastic business, and the car screamed up the hill, entered the last bend at terrific speed, got into a broadside skid and shot over the finishing line. Still with his foot hard down, the car hit a gully on the outside of the bend with the rear wheel, broke the axle shaft clean off, and after springing into the air rolled across the grass into the undergrowth, having deposited Mr. Robinson, somewhat jarred up but not seriously damaged, on the said grass.
Spottiswoode on his 2-litre G.P. ” Bug,” unfortunately failed to cross the finishing line at all. Getting off the mark with his usual verve he took the first right-hand bend travelling almost sideways, shot up the slope of the hill at an altogether improper velocity, entered the final bend in a rousing slide, hit the inside bank and inverted the motor in the fairway. Result—wanted, one new pair of flannels, also repairs to upperwork of Bugatti.
The unlimited sports car class fell to Bertram’s 30-98 Vauxhall, closely followed by Kehoe on a low 4i Invicta. The Invicta showed fine acceleration and speed on the lower slopes, but excessive caution in cornering rather spoilt an otherwise good performance.
The 1500 c.c. sports car class produced a bevy of Prazer-Nashs of various dates but all with plenty of pep. The first six places in this class fell to this make.
The course and grounds were kindly lent for the occasion by Mrs. HarwoodMurray to whom our best thanks are due for an interesting if chilly day’s sport. The organisation, if a trifle hazy on occasions was cheerful and thoroughly sporting, while we can personally testify to the excellence of the veterans’ award, as an aid to strength this bleak weather. When it first arrived we could hardly move it, but in a few days could lift it quite easily !-W. S. B.