ALMOST A HILL-CLIMB. ANOTHER INTER-VARSITY AFFAIR.
Ti-rE annual hill-climb held by the Oxford and Cambridge clubs is always an occasion to be welcomed, held as it is at the beginning of a new season, and characterised by a pleasant lack of formality. It has taken place now for several years at Ewelme near Henley, but this year the organisers were unable to get the use of the old course. The O.U. Car Club was fortunate in being allowed to have the use this year of a stretch of the Eynsham by-pass, a new road which, when completed, will convey South Wales traffic to the High Wycombe road without passing through Oxford.
The course was a road some thirty feet wide, partly covered with chippings, and was crossed by a minor road half-way along its length, causing a bump which proved most unpleasant to the competitors on two and three wheels. The start was arranged at the far end of the completed section of the by-pass, and after a rolling start of about 40 yards, there was a straight run of a kilometre to the finish. A slope of about 1 in 80 was the only excuse for the title of the meeting, but as the road was quite safe for high speeds, this made up to some extent for the lack of gradient and corners.
Inter-varsity events, as we have said, are noted for their lack of formality, but the 1932 hill climb surpassed any previous event in its lack of organisation. The first machine was supposed to start at 10.30, whereas it actually went off two hours later, and the first car did not make its run until half past one. Much delay took place between the running of the various heats and matters were not made better by having the competitors’ paddock half-a-mile beyond the finish. A biting wind blowing up the course made it almost impossible to keep cars warm, with a consequent crop of oiled plugs.
A Varied Entry.
The entries vere very similar to those which put in an appearance at Hexton a week before, but the G.N. brigade did not turn up on this occasion. A very welcome addition to the list of competitors was Earl Howe, who had entered both his T.T. Mercedes and his eight-cylinder Alfa-Romeo. The latter had only just been re-erected, and was not running sufficiently well to take part in the speed trial. R. J. Nash brought along the ” Terror ” which now has a new body.
After the delays already mentioned, the proceedings opened, and it was evident that some fast times would be made. Feruihough on an Excelsior-J ap leapt high in the air over the bump, but quite unperturbed, he went on to clock 25 seconds, or 89 m.p.h. Darbishire and Muir were also fast, but the latter had trouble of varying sorts, and could only manage two third positions. Mavrogadato, still faithful to his Scott, did well in the unlimited class, though he locked his back wheel on his second run. Fell (Douglas) in his second run put up a really good show. The three-wheeler
class was supported by only five entrants.
C. Collett (Norton) was excellent with R. R. Jackson (Morgan) second.
The Car Classes.
The small cars were not particularly fast, one of them in fact being overhauled on its run by a left hand drive Ford sedan, but Wood on a Brooklands Riley made a better show, his speed causing him to “take off” when crossing the bump.
L. A. Hutchings on a 1926 Fraser Nash improved on his performance of the previous week and won the 1100-1500 c.c. class, actually at a better speed than that of the unlimited sports class, which was won by C. H. Pairtlough on an M.G. Six.
The super-sports class, 850-1100 c.c., was won by R. 0. Mitchell on a supercharged B.N.C. in just over 36 seconds, but he was prevented from taking part in the All-comers’ class by a fractured oil pipe.
The next class promised better sport, the two special Fraser Nashes ” Slug ” and ” Terror ” being entered, but the former toured along in a cloud of steam, while Nash’s machine stopped a few yards over the line through a failure in the fuel system. Nash also drove a supercharged Ulster car, and with this was able to win the class. Robinson’s famous Brescia Bugatti, which is now said to have a compression of 12 to I, got going well after rather a woolly start, and gained second place.
The super sports unlimited class produced a mixed bag. A. Conan Doyle in the Austro-Daimler which caused all the trouble the week before, Scott Moncrieff in a monster 2-seater Hispano, and Burrows in a Lagonda were uninspiring. Lord Howe made a magnificent run in the T.T. Mercedes, the blower screaming on each gear, while the dust from the loose chippings blew up behind the car like a cloud of smoke. His time was missed on his first run, but on a later attempt he clocked fastest time of the day.
Samson on a two-litre Bugatti, was obviously going very fast, but Fotheringham on a similar machine, had sooted his plugs through the long delay in the starting line, and took some time to get going.
The last event was the All-comers class, which appears from the results to have been a handicap event, though no mention was made of this fact in the progrannne. As all but two of the cars entered had already run in other classes, one would have thought that the times recorded in them could have been used, but instead of doing this and getting on with things, all the cars ran again. The two competitors who had not already run were S. H. Murray (who endeavoured to provide comic relief in an old Buick) with three passengers all refreshing themselves from bottles ; the other machine was an old Vauxhall. The rest of the afternoon was taken up with proceedings which were a repetition of the first part, cars and motorcycles running when they could be found, and
everyone getting colder and colder. The only bright moments were when the Merc&les reappeared, and when Potheringham made a superb run near the termination of the meeting. One noticed that he wisely refrained from using his special racing plugs until he was actually on the starting line.
Cambridge repeated its success of the previous week, and won comfortably.
250 c.c. class.—Ist, J. A. H. Sergeant (0), 0.K.-Jap (34 secs.) ; 2nd, A. L. Jones (0), O.K. Supreme (36.75 secs.). 350 c.c. class.—Ist, J. Dimcock (C) Cotton (30.05 sees.); 2nd, J. M. Muir and
J. Jeffe, Velocettes (32.00 secs.).
500 c c class —E. C. Pernihough,, Excelsior-jap (24.9 secs ) ; 2nd, S. B. Darbishire (C), Norton (27.7 sees.); 3rd, J. M. Muir (C), Norton (28.15 secs.).
Unlimited class.—Ist, J. H .Fell (C), Douglas (25.65 sees.); 2nd, S. B. Darbishire (C), Norton (27.7 secs.).
Fastest time of the day—E. C. Pernihough, 24.9 secs. (89.9 m.p.h.).
Fastest time of the day (undergraduate).—J. H. Fell, 25.65 secs. (87.04 m.p.h.).
Sports Cars up to 850 c.c.-1st, R. M. Mere (0), M.G. (42.55 sees.) ; 2nd, G. W. J. Wright (C), M.G. (50.4 secs.) ; 3rd, Hon. A. D. Chetwynd (0), M.G. (51.3 secs.).
Sports Class, 1100 c.c.-4500 c.c.1st, L. A. Hutchings (C), Frazer Nash (38.8 sees.); 2nd, N. S. L. Falkner (C), Alvis (41.5 secs.) ; 3rd, H. L. Watson (0), Wolseley (42.5 secs.).
Sports Class Unlimited.—lst, A. T. Pairtlough (C), M.G. Six (40.3 secs.) ; 2nd, N. A. Watson (0), Frazer Nash (49.5 secs.).
Super-Sports Class up to 850 c.c.1st, H. C. Hamilton (C), M.G. (36.15 sees.); 2nd, R. M. Mere (0), M.G. (42.5 sees.); 3rd, Hon. A. D. Chetwynd (0),. M.G. (51.3 secs.).
Super Sports Class, 850 c.c.-1100 c.c.1st, R. A. Mitchell (0), B.N.C. (36.1 secs.) ; 2nd, T. B. Wood (C), Riley (36.6 secs.).
Super Sports Class, 1100-1500 c.c.1st, R. J. G. Nash (C), Frazer Nash (31.3 sees.); 2nd, J. Robinson (C), Bugatti (32.6 secs.) ; 3rd, J. Pane (C),, Frazer Nash (32.4 secs.). .
Super-Sports Unlimited.—Ist, Earl Howe (C), Mercedes (29.7 secs.) ; 2nd, T. S. Fotheringham (C), Bugatti (29.8 secs.) ; 3rd., E. H. M. Samson (0), Bugatti (31.6 secs.). All-Comers’ Class (handicap).—lst,
K. D. D. Evans (0), Alfa-Romeo ; 2nd, T. G. Moore (0), Bentley ; 3rd, J. Robinson (C), Bugatti.
Fastest car of the day.—Earl Howe, Mercedes, 29.7 secs. (75.1 m.p.h.).
Fastest Undergraduate.—T. S. Potheringham, Bugatti, 29.8 secs. (74.9 m.p.h.).