THE THIRD R.A.C. RALLY
DIFFICULT CONDITIONS EXPERIENCED BY COMPETITORS FROM ALL STARTING CONTROLS, BUT 351 OUT OF 385 STARTERS ARRIVE AT BOURNEMOUTH. TWO CLASS WINS FOR ROVER AND ONE FOR SINGER. HIGHEST MARKS GAINED BY F. R. G SPIKINS (SINGER). D,RING the afternoon and evening of Tuesday. March 13th, 385 cars set out from London, Bath, Norwich, Leamington, Buxton, Harrogate, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow to take part in the third R.A.C. Rally, the finish
through this that he was unable to reach Bournemouth within an hour of his scheduled time. There was only one serious accident reported during the road section of the Rally, a great tribute to the high standard
iitg point being Bournemouth. The itinerary from the starting controls was arranged so that a distance of approximately 1,000 miles had to be covered in every case.
There were conflicting rumours as to the weather conditions likely to be experienced en route, but as they varied from rain and floods to snow and ice, the competitors steeled themselves to deal with the worst. And so it proved. The North of England was swept by a blizzard that night, while a fierce gale raged over the Southern Counties, accompanied by a torrential rainfall.
The majority of the competitors successfully coped with these conditions, in spite of some difficulty in maintaining a good average speed over ice and snowcovered roads. A number of the London drivers, however, placed too much confidence in the route recommended by the R.A.C. with the result that some 80 miles beyond Harrogate they were faced with roads four feet deep in snow. Maurice Newnhani, for example, carried on till his Triumph ” Gloria ” was resting on its running-boards, and had to reverse for a mile before he could turn round. After a certain time had elapsed it occurred to the officials in charge to warn people of the danger ahead. But even then they allowed some drivers to carry on, instead of advising them to use the main road via Carlisle, and E. H. Mayer (22) 90 Alfa Romeo) lost so much time of driving and to the controllability of modern cars. A woman competitor had to swerve to avoid a sheep dog, and her
The fast stretch of road nearing Bournemouth from Torquay gave many competitors a chance to recover lost time, and a glorious sunny morning acted as a tonic on those who were feeling the strain of two nights and a day without sleep. Not counting the 15 non-arrivals, some of whom reached Bournemouth after their one hour time allowance had elapsed, only 15 competitors lost marks for being late. These were F. Gordon Crosby (S.S.1), A. J. D. Mackintosh (1926 Morris Cowley), R. A. Harding (S.S.1), J. D. Burton (Vauxhall), G. Readings (Essex Terraplane), Miss P. Deacon (Humber), L. Baynes (Wolseley 21), J. Eason Gibson (Essex Terraplane), Charles Follett (Alvis Speed 20), D. G. Evans (Singer), A. G. Throssell (Daimler), W. G. Thomas (A. E. W. Austin), J. H. Lowick (M.G.), Capt. J. P. Black (Standard) and K. N. Hutchinson (Ford V8).
Denis Evans had the misfortune to be held up twice in Bournemouth itself by traffic lights, which caused him to arrive at the control two minutes late ! Many drivers, however, allowed themselves plenty of time on arrival, in order that their cars could be washed before driving them into the Ramp Garage to check in. The team of 12 h.p. Arinstrong-Siddeleys, of differing body styles and painted all colours of the rainbow, followed this course and arrived looking as though they were being driven to the showrooms for display, so little did they show signs of the rough weather they had experienced.
On examination, only 10 cars were found to be defective in condition, and were accordingly penalised.
car capsized. Both she and her passenger A large crowd had assembled at the were removed to hospital but were not entrance to the garage, and great interest dangerously injured, was displayed at the variety of cars
competing. Old cars were always given a cheer, especially W. T. Pitts’ ” Alfonso ” Hispano Suiza and E. Hasel’s pre-War Crossley. The R.A.C. organisation of parking the cars as they arrived was materially assisted by the design of Messrs. George Hartwell’s Ramp Garage, which must be one of the finest and largest of its type in the country.
At last all the ears were stowed _safely away, where they were to be kept until the eliminating tests took place on the following day. Meanwhile a hot bath and some sleep were the two clfief concerns of the crews, but many turned out for the Reception and Tea given by the Mayor and Mayoress in Bournemouth’s magnificent new Pavilion. At the same time the eagerly awaited details of the tests, which had been kept a secret, were revealed, causing much cliscussion and in sonic eases feelings of alarm.
Before leaving the Garage on Friday morning ears were tested for easy starting, and the following drivers lost marks over this test :–V. H. lIeberlein (S$.
S. 11. Newsome (Riley 9), W. T. Pitt (Hispano Suiza ” Alfonso “), Mrs. M. Williams (Rover 12), J. Eason Gibson (Essex Terraplane 6), W. V. Cross (S.S.1) and J. P. Agnew (Talbot). Test ‘ A ‘ took place on the Undercliff Drive, and consisted of the following manteuvre. On being given the signal to start the drivers accelerated as fast as they could for about 100 yards to a point :inst beyond a gap in a row of barriers running parallel to their course. They then had to reverse through this gap, and accelerate to a line about 100 yards farther on, crossing this at speed, Test 13 ‘ was held on a hill called Beacon Road. Here again the competitors were given a standing start, and had to negotiate an -acute ‘ S ‘ bend formed by bar
riers before reaching the top of the hill, with penalty marks for any barriers or marking posts which were dislodged. It was the plan of the R.A.C. to run a duplicate course for Test ‘ A,’ in order to deal with the 385 competitors as fast as possible, but an unexpected Spring tide sent waves right over the first one, and there was a delay of an hour and a half while the tide gradually receded. Before this was decided upon, however,
H. W. Henshall (Alvis) received the full benefit of a particularly strong wave,
effecti vely drenched the magneto, and carburetter of his engine and prevented him from taking any further part in the proceedings. Naturally enough the standard of driving varied tremendously. There was a lot of difference in the way in which people got off the mark on the fall of the flag, drivers of trials experience as a whole showing up well in this respect. Although there was no usual braking test this year, the brakes were tested to the full in pulling U p beside the reversing gap. Some drivers, whether by design or accident it is difficult to say, threw their ears into a slight skid in braking, which left them
pointing straight at the gap and saved a good deal of wheel-winding. A. R. Harrison (Rover) was an outstanding example of this method. One or two stopped their engines, in locking their wheels, but hardly any were penalised for touching the marking posts and boxes on the road. The drivers of saloons were at a slight disadvantage in reversing, especially on those types with sliding windows which do not allow the driver to look outside the car.
The fastest time of 26.2 secs. for this Test ‘ A ‘ was made by the man who won Class 3 and who scored most marks in the Rally, namely P. R. G. Spikins (Singer Nine Le Mans). Next came the winner of Class I, T. D. Wynn-Weston (Rover 20) with a time of 26.3 secs., followed by S. B. Wilks (Rover 12) winner of Class 2, with 27 secs. Other good times in order of merit were H. Hillcoat (Ford V8), 27.6 secs., C. M. Anthony (Aston Martin) and J. Harrop (M.G. Midget) 27.8 secs., V. Riley (Riley 9) 28 secs., G. F. Searle Royer 15) and :41. L. Curtis (Ford V8), 28.2 secs., R. A. F. Page-Croft (Singer 9 Le Mans), C. B. Follett (Alvis 20) and L. J. Hollingsworth (Ford V8) 28.6 secs.. J. G. Pige-Leschellas (A.C.), A. H. Wilkinson (Riley 9), F. S. Barnes (Singer 9 Le Mans), V. Riley (Riley 9), F. C. Rolfe (Singer 9) and F. S. Barnes (Singer 9 Le Mans) 28.8 sees. Test B,’ on Beacon Road, gave rise to a good deal of argument among competitors as to its suitability for an eliminating test at the end of a 1,000 miles Rally. The road was rather narrow, • so that the ‘ S’ bend was very acute, and the kerbs were lined with small boxes
which were easily touched, especially when drivers tried to pull over as far as possible before going into the bend. Or course a large car with a wheelbase of over 10 feet could not hope to be as fast as a small sports car of only 8 feet and correspondingly narrower track. Officially the Rally was being held in three distinct classes, so that the big cars were on a level with each other, but there was an attraction about the impressive awards for the cars scoring the greatest number of marks irrespective of class, which gave the drivers of large cars every cause for dissatisfaction. Varying degrees of skill were shown by the heavy brigade. C. J. Joyce, for example, was neat and fast with his beautifully finished Talbot 95 saloon, and the same could be said for W. A. Fitzgerald (Lagonda 4,1 litre saloon). The fastest times in Class 1 were made by K. N. Hutchison (Ford V8) in 13.2 secs., T. D. Wynn-Weston (Rover 20) 13.4 secs., H. Hillcoat (Ford V8) 13.8 secs., and J. E. Scott (Talbot 105) 14 secs. Good per
formances were also made by N. Black (Essex Terraplane 8), W. M. Couper (Talbot 90), E. C. Harris (Alvis 17), J. D. Burton (Vauxhall ” Hurlingham “), Charles Follett (Alvis Speed 20) and T. V. G. Selby (Chrysler) among others.
A good deal of damage to the boxes and posts was done by some competitors, notably by Col. A. H. Loughborough (Lanchester) who demolished all the boxes coming out of the bend and then crashed into the wall. Others we saw run amok were W. G. Whitford Hawke (Alvis 20) and the Hon. Brian Lewis (Alvis Speed 20). The cars in Class 2 were much neater, and the fastest times were as follow : P. S. Barnes (Singer Le Mans 11) 12.2 secs., H. W. Allingham (M.G. Magnette) 12.4 secs., A. St. V. East (A.C. “Ace “) 12.8 secs., C. F. Hurlock (A.C. “Ace “) 13 secs., S. B. Wilks (Rover 12) 13.4 secs., D. H. Scribbans (Riley 12), A. G. Pointing (Riley 12), and C. M. Anthony (Aston Martin), Miss A. Gibson Watt (Riley
14) and V. L. Parry (M.G. Magna) 14 secs.
The fastest times were made by the small sports cars in Class 3. Finest of all were J. Harrop (M.G. Midget) and F. S. Barnes (Singer 9 Le Mans) in 12 secs., both making perfect getaways and taking the bend at high speed. Then, in order of merit, came F. R. G. Spikins (Singer 9 Le Mans) 12.2 secs., Mrs. P. H. Johnson (M.G. Midget) 12.4 secs., S. H. Newsome (Riley) and D. M. Healey (Triumph ” Gloria “) 12.8 secs., V. Riley (Riley 9), F. C. Rolfe (Singer 9) and N. A. Prince (Austin 7) 13 secs., M. C. Wilks (Rover 10), J. W. Bezzant (Ford 8 Special), and V. Riley (Riley 9) 13.4 secs., F. A. Airy (Singer 9), F. Leslie-Smith (Singer 9) and J. N. Marsden (Singer 9), 13.6 secs. In the words of the immortal song, after completing the tests the competitors found “the rest of the day was their own “—until the Rally Ball that evening at the Pavilion. This proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable function, only spoilt when a doorkeeper took it into his head
to close the passage into the bar at the early hour of 11.15 p.m. After half-anhour’s persuasion he relaxed his vigilance and all was well.
During the evening the results were made known and turned out to be a triumph for the marques of Rover and Singer. T. D. Wynn-Weston (Rover 20) repeated his victory of last year in Class 1 with a total score of 160 marks, a very fine performance. He was followed by two V8 Fords, driven respectively by H. Hillcoat and M. L. Curtis, with scores of 158.6 and 156.8 marks.
In Class 2 another Rover was placed first, this time an open 4 seater 12 h.p. model drven by S. B. Willis. His score of 159.6 marks was just a shade better than the 159 marks gained by the second man, F. S. Barnes, on a Singer 11 h.p. who in turn was followed by C. P. Hurlock (A.C.) with 158.4 marks. Class 3 provided the driver who scored the most marks in the whole Rally,
F. R. G. Spikins (Singer 9 Le Mans). His score was 161.6 marks, and was a result of careful preparation and skillful handling. Then came J. Harrop, a newcomer to motor sport, who followed up his success in the J.C.C. Brooklands Rally with a well-deserved second place. Driving an M.G. Midget, Harrop scored 160.2 marks. F. S. Barnes was third with his Le Mans Singer Nine, registering 159.2 marks.
Special mention must be made of the ladies. The “Daily Mirror” prizes for the first three in the Rally were won by Miss R. M. Harker (Sunbeam), Mrs. K. E. Wilks (Rover) and Miss J. Astbury (Singer). The Manufacturer’s Team Prize was won by the Singer ” B ” team, the drivers being W. J. Richardson, A. H. Langley and J, D. Barnes. Singers were again successful in the Associated Club Team
Prize, the Singer Motor Club drivers being A. C. Westwood, W. M. D. Montgomery and R. C. Tibbey. As a whole the R.A.C. organisation of the Rally was of a high order. Only at the end, in the matter of parading the
winners of the coachwork on the Undercliff Drive, and in announcing the full results of the Rally to the Press, did mistakes occur. The City of Bournemouth, led by the Mayor and Mayoress, did everything in
their power to give a hearty and prolonged welcome to the competitors. In nearly all respects Bournemouth is a progressive and beautiful resort, and the new Pavilion is a building of which the citizens may be justly proud.