MUDLARKING IN SURREY
F. S. BARNES (SINGER) MAKES BEST PERFORMANCE IN THE LIGHT CAR CLUB’S HALF DAY TRIAL.
REALLY worth while ” ! seemed to be the general trend of the remarks overheard at the finish of the Light Car Club’s Half-Day Trial held on March 4th. The route, which was short and concentrated, was laid out in Surrey, starting from Godalming and ending at Hindhead. Following a new policy, the orgvnisers endeavoured to find a course in which the obstacles called for a high standard of driving rather than a test of individual cars, for a 1st class award to be gained.
Thirty-one competitors out of an entry of thirty-three lined up at the starting point—Jordan’s Garage, Godahning. The heavy rains of the previous fortnight had played havoc with the course, and, while it was a fine afternoon, the whole countryside was practically under water.
Five miles of narrow country lane, calling for much use of the gearbox, led to the first hill—Mare Lane, Hascombe. This hill was observed to a point just below the stunnait where a stop and restart test took place. The surface of wet sand on clay was scarcely conducive to a quick getaway, and competitors were called upon to cover fifteen yards in seven seconds. Twelve cars failed to satisfy the timekeeper. One Riley, towards the end, actually took nineteen seconds to cover the distance, while R. J. Cook (Wolseley Hornet) took twelve and two-fifths seconds. D. A. Aldington (Frazer Nash) apparently suffered from a high gear ratio, as his time was eight and two-fifth seconds. The fastest time was put up by H. M. Avery (Singer Sports 9), whose getaway was terrific and who clocked four and two-fifth seconds ! Others who were good were J. A. Bastock (M.G. Midget), L. Maxwell (M.G. Magna), W. E. C. Greenleaf (Riley), and C. G. Fryer (M.G. Midget), all of whom took five seconds only. In order to prevent blinding in narrow lanes, the average speed of the trial was kept down to 18 m.p.h., and competitors were secretly timed for the next three and. a half miles—those who exceeded this average by more than ten per cent. being penalised. This check caught out ten drivers, six of them in a bunch, namely, Messrs. Styles, Greenleaf, Hess,
Wilcoxon, Knight, Maxwell and Avery.
The next test was named a controllability test. It consisted of accelerating away on a fiat sandy road for seventyfive yards and stopping in an area of three yards. An average time was struck and competitors penalised for exceeding the average. Fastest time was put up by G. C. Harris (Morgan), whose judgment was sound in pulling up after such a meteoric getaway. His time was eight and two-fifth seconds, and he was closely backed up by Aldington (Frazer Nash), nine and two-fifth seconds, and. F. S. Barnes (Singer Sports 9), nine and threefifth seconds. F. Sforza (M.G. Magna) was also good (ten. seconds), but thirteen people lost marks through lack of speed or brakes. A. E. Carr (M.G. Midget) spoilt an otherwise impeccable performance in the trial by losing two marks in taking two seconds longer than the average of eleven seconds : doubtless one of the cases when one’s fingers become all thumbs and one’s boots full of feet !
Immediately after this test came Colmar—an observed section of a hundred and thirty yards of very glutinous mud. No fewer than thirteen competitors helped to exhaust the small army of marshals in gum-boots. Two cars were excellently handled in this section. They were J. G. C. Bond’s Morris Minor and J. A. Driskell’s 8 h.p. Ford. C. Knight (M.G. Magna) was also good, but many competitors got through more by luck than by careful throttle work. G. C. Harris, driving the only Morgan, approached at speed, and his machine literally leaped in the air as it took the mud and thereupon went all shapes and came to a stop. A great pity, as it lost him his first-class award. A further four miles of good secondclass road brought the cars to Blind Lane, Brook, a narrow and very muddy hill about three hundred yards long. Not much gradient, but a whole lot of mud. This caught only eight cars out, two of them being very unlucky. Aldington (Frazer Nash) and Richardson (Singer 9) failed a few yards only from the crest. Three drivers were very good indeed, these being C. J. Fryer (M.G. Midget), Driskell (Ford 8 h.p.) and Greenleaf
(Riley). All these were fast and sure.
The next hill—Higlthutton—was a fiasco. The torrential rain of the past week had made the lower slopes a morass, and few competitors reached the righthand hairpin, which was the climax of the hill. Three competitors succeeded in climbing the hill unaided before the marshals decided to cut the obstacle out of the trial. These were G. C. Harris (Morgan), very fast indeed ; J. A. Driskell (Ford), and Alan Hess (J2 Midget).
A delay of about one and half hours at this point resulted in chaos, and many competitors climbed the last hill in the dark. This was Tree Trunk Alley, a narrow, slippery slope leading up to the main Portsmouth Road, but it accounted for only six failures. Only two miles of main road followed, to the finish at the Royal Huts Hotel, Hindhead, where tea awaited marshals and competitors alike. All had well deserved it. Only three drivers had gained first-class awards, which is as it should be. F. S. Barnes (Singer) gained the purse of 22 2s. Od. for the best performance—a very fine show indeed, closely followed by Langley (Singer) and Thatcher (Triumph), who also came through without loss of marks.
Best performance of the day—P. S. Barnes (Singer).
1st Class.—A. Langley (Singer), F. A. Thatcher (Triumph), A. E. Carr (M.G. Midget).
2nd Class.—H. C. Hunter (Riley), G. C. Harris (Morgan), W. J. B. Richardson (Singer), J. G. C. Bond (Morris Minor), C. J. Fryer (Midget), W. E. C. Greenleaf (Riley), L. Maxwell (Magna), H. M. Avery (Singer), G. F. Viola (Triumph), J. A. Bastock (Midget), S. J. Randall (Austin).
Team Award.—The Avery-Singer Team. Messrs. H. M. Avery 95%; P. S. Barnes 100%; and A. Langley 100%.
Due to the tie for best performance between Barnes, Thatcher and Langley, the times taken in the controllability test were considered. Barnes took nine and three-fifths seconds, being four-fifths seconds better than the other two thereby gaining the award.