THE “LAND’S END” EASTERTIDE CLASSIC AS POPULAR AS EVER.
AFEW weeks ago I was asked if I would like to take note of the performance in the ” Land’s-End.” of a car which for the last two years has been the :owner’s means of fast transport all over Great Britain, to say nothing of Ireland.
The result was that about midnight on Goad Friday I found myself in the passenger’s seat of W. R. Nimmo’s Frazer-Nash, en route for Virginia Water, after a hurried grease-up of the chassis and a filling of the tanks which was all the preparation this car’s busy existence all-owed for.
Arrived at the start the usual scene was being enacted, this time in perfect weather, and as we had occupied rather more than schedule time over a meal we were hardly there before we were due out on the 347 mile run to Land’s End.
The first part of the run being over main roads and the first check being at Deptford 10 miles beyond Amesbury, everyone soon found themselves well ahead of the 24 m.p.h. schedule, and a few miles outside the check we found a cheerful group of drivers gathered round a roaring fire in a field. Shortly after the check, fuel and hot drinks were available, and by the time we had waited here, dawn had arrived, and with it the drizzling rain which was to continue till about mid-day. Further good roads follawed to Taunton to the breakfast stop, the devious nature of the same being forcibly demonstrated to us when we found that we had wasted a little more time than we intended, and had to hurry in to breakfast.
After all this preliminary canter, and fortified against the weather by a good meal, we proceded to the more serious work of the trial, and began to encounter the mist-shrouded lanes which led to Grabhurst, the first hill. The conditions gave us admirable opportunity of noting the efficcacy of our ” Drysleve,” that admirable .garment which consists of a shoulder length waterproof glove which, worn on the ” weather” arm, protects the Open car driver or passenger from the shower of mud and spray from the wheels, and which we noted in use by several others in the trial.
Grabhurst, although wet, was not a serious obstacle if treated with care. The two hairpins at the top caused a certain amount of trouble with some, including Elliot’s Austin, but most of this marque, and also the M.G.’s were good, and among the larger cars the Frazer-Nashes and Rileys were consistently good, the latter’s lock being helpful. The Hornets were also effortless. Good restarts after being baulked NV 1’1’e made by H. J. Stroud (Alvis) ‘1 vier (Hornet) and Robinson (FrazerN ash). Followed a run over lanes where those who were behind schedule had great difficulty in catching up, led to the back of Minehead, whence after a short spell
of Main road, more lanes led to Dunkery Beacon. Here a timed ascent of two miles was held, over which it was necessary to average a speed not more than 10% below the average for the class, and not faster than 30 m.p.h. average.
Judgment was not easy of one’s speed, but we gathered that by overtaking any vehicles we could we should be above the average and by being held up once or twice by other cars the average would not be too high. From here the course came onto the main road near the top of Porlock and proceeded to the check at County Gate, and thence down Countesbury. Here a marshal stopped the cars on the bridge and made them take off non-stop for Lynton Hill, presumably to catch anyone
ho had oiled up plugs descending Countesbury.
Having excellent brakes, •Nimmo had taken the Frazer-Nash down it in neutral, and the next stop was in the queue of ears at the bottom of Beggars Roost, rv*here we were greeted with terrible tales of the condition of the hill and the number of failures. There was no doubt that the Roost was in remarkably -bad condition owing to the rain, and the small cars were generally overcome by the surface and (tied peacefully.
A notable exception was R. A. Brown in an Ulster type Austin, who came at a terrific speed, making not only the best small car climb, but one of the fastest of theday. The M.G. Magmas were goad and seemed to climb without effort, and the Frazer-Nashes were very good except for a few failures caused by had driving. Aldington and Hopkins Were the fastest of these, while Patrick’s Wolseiey Hornet was very good, and the Rileys consistently efficient.
Far the best climbs came at the end, when Faulkner, Bear, and some other Bugatti drivers came up as if it was a speed hill-climb. Symons gat his Crossley up by skilful handling, but only just. Further devious routes led to the new hill, Grass Park, which was interesting but by no means difficult, and all whose cars functioned reasonably and who drove correctly had no trouble. The sharp right corner was the only obstacle and this surmounted the course led by morelanes (which caused much more rouble to many than the hill) to the main road and thence to the lunch stop at Launces ton, where a welcome meal was available in the Town
Ruses Mill came next after lunch, with its series of sharp hairpins, a most entertaining hill, requiring a certain amount of discretion but otherwise perfectly straightforward. As by now the sun was shining once more, we were beginning to have a very pleasant run, and as the car behaved perfectly there was nothing to do but play safe and keep an eye on the time.
Marvyoni’s Sahnson was one of the kw failures, being Caused by engine trouble, while good climbs were made by the Rileys, M.G.’s, Hornets, Frazer-Noshes and the ” Southern Cross ” Triumph in the hands of W. M. Cottper, who ‘Seemed very pleased indeed with the car on this, his first experience of it.
Hustyn Hill, which caused such chaos last year, was now quite easy, and the M.C.C. had taken elaborate precautions against any hold up. The start was made on some specially laid gravel after the water Splash, and horses were waiting to deal with any failures. The surface had dried rapidly in the sun and the majority climbed easily, the usual Makes standing out as particularly good.
At Perranporth tea was kindly provided by Mrs. Donald Heaky, and feeling
that the finish was near we all set oft again with renewed optimism. There was yet. however, the very definite obstacle of Bluehills Mine, with its wicked left hand hairpin, and a huge crowd awaited to cheer on the competitors.
The surface gave excellent grip, and practically all failures were due to misjudgment of the corner. Squiilario (McEvoy Morris Minor) was one of the best of the small cars, while Tenboseh on an Austin was very Wild but just got away with it.
Impacts with the rock on the outside of the bend were common, but not always fatal, though Symons’ Crossley broke its steering and had to be abandoned.
This hill dilly accounted for, we had a simple run via Penzance to Lands End, the last part of the run into the setting sun being particularly pleasant. So finished another Lands End, well organised as usual and very enjoyable. The Frazer-Nash had given no trouble, and we returned to Penzance for a night’s rest, preparatory to returning on the Sunday evening for the B.A.R.C. meeting
on Bank Holiday. W.S.B.