INTER-VARSITY SPEED TRIALS AT SYSTON
CAMBRIDGE WIN BY EIGHT EVENTS TO TWO FASTEST CAR TIME BY R. E. TONGUE (0) ON R-TYPE MIDGET
Fine weather, a large and varied entry and the usual pleasant spirit of informality made the Inter-Varsity Speed Trials, held once again at Syston, near Grantham, a great success. Oliver Bertram’s time of 28.3 secs. set up last year on the big Delage was eclipsed by R. E. Tongue (27.2 secs.) and also by the Oxford secretary, A. R. Phipps (28.1 secs.) both driving R-type• M.G. Midgets. The course is a standing half-mile, starting off with a gradient of 1 in 12, and with two fast bends near the finish. Humphrey Cook had generously come forward and put up the money for resurfacing the course, but unfortunately the contractors, not having heard that procrastination is the thief of fast times, failed to carry out their work till a week
before the event. Consequently the course was covered with a thick layer of grit put down to dry off the tar, and the start of the trials was delayed for an hour while the road was swept clear.
Eventually the stewards were satisfied, and Mr. Bachelier brought forward to the line the starting ” shoe ” of his ingenious timing apparatus. The sports cars were the first to be dispatched, beginning with the 850 c.c. class. There were three entries, and fastest time was made by F. W. Kennington (C) 43.35 secs. The eleven-hundreds likewise only produced three cars, best time being made by P. N. Whitehead (C) whose L type Magna boasted of no fewer than six carburetters.
1-litre supercharged cars were to run with the li-litre imblown cars, but none of the supercharged brigade turned up. Frazer-Nashes dominated the class, Peters (C) making an excellent get-away to record 36.25 secs., Hartnoll (0) 37.4 secs.
and Sharpley (0) ’37 secs. Their efforts were however outdone by I. F. Connell who was driving one of the ex-T.T. M.G. Magnettes, now painted battleship grey, who made best time so fax of 34.7 secs.
Driving the evergreen Silver Eagle Alvis, Michael May (C) disposed of his four opponents in the 2-litre class with a time of 30.7 secs. Of the three 3-litre cars, C. R. Watson (C) driving a T.T. 105 Talbot was best with 35.8 secs. The unlimited class promised to be interesting, with Lagondas, Bentleys, Railtons, and a 3i-litre Hotchkiss ; a Duesenberg which was entered failed to appear. Chalkley (C) on the short 41-litre Bentley raced at Brooklands by Baker Carr led off with 36.1 secs. Marker (C) was driving Strang’s bright blue Hudson and after a perfect get-away not easy with a light and powerful car on the gritty slope had the annoyance of finding that his time was missed. Moore’s long-chassis Lagonda did 38.85 secs., Cavendish’s V8 Ford was much quicker than its ugly looking four-seater body suggested-time 36.6 secs. The Hotchkiss did 38.42 secs. and then Dietrichsen driving the Lagonda which was last year’s Le Mans winner clocked 38 secs., fastest so far. Dr. Benjafield (0) seemed to have difficulty
in holding the black Light Railton, which has run with success at Brooklands and Shelsley ; his time was 34.3 secs. Marker got his time recorded to spine effect on his second run, and raised the day’s fastest to 31.63 sees. All types Of blown cars came forward in the over 1-litre class. G. A. D. Smith (0) opened with a 11-litre Alfa which recorded 39.3 secs. Kenneth Evans (0) had a blown Magnette which went away like a streak, scattering road sweepers, to the tune of 32.1 sees. Whittet’s car of the same type seemed equally good at the start but only did 35.5 secs. and R. R. Jackson on the original K-type Magnette managed 34.75 secs. Wells had a smart 1,750 c.c. Alfa but did not
seem to understand the gears. Finally Fitzgerald (C) on a good-looking black 33-220 Mercedes, howled down the course in fine style to record 32.99 secs., an excellent time for a heavy car like this. Nevil Lloyd, who had been acting all morning as compere at the microphone, and pouring forth a unending stream of bright remarks, suspected that the howl was due to the ” aspirator.” Fastest of all was A. F. P. Pane (C). On his first run he swooped over the hill and down to the first bend in perfect style and steady as a rock, his time being 29.45 secs. Running in the” All-Corners” class his tail hopped a fair amount at the bump following the first corner, but he improved his time to 29.4 secs. Strangely enough almost all the other times recorded in the ” All-Comers ” were slower than in the classes, the only improvement being Dr. Benjafield, whocoaxed the Light Railton up to 83.99 secs. Then came an exhibition run by Forrest Lycett on his beautiful shortchassis 8-litre Bentley. This car came
fully up to expectations, and his time of 29.75 secs. made it the fastest unblown car at the meeting.
After lunch the motor-cycles appeared, nowadays dwindled to half-a-dozen entries. Westmacott (C) put up 36.6 on his 350 c.c. Velocette, Hardy (500 c.c. Sunbeam) $2.4 secs., and that ever enthusiastic Scott” fan” Mavrogordato on an utterly stripped model with carbide tin petrol tank and push-bike saddle 30.35 secs. As usual however, the star turn was Fernihough on his 998 c.c. BroughSuperior. Getting away without a trace of snaking or wheelspin he beat the cars soundly with a time of 26.3 sees. The racing car runs opened with R. E. Tongue’s R-type Midget on the line, the devasting crackle from its exhaust pipes giving an impression of perfect tune. Up the hill the green car shot with very little wheel spin and one was not surprised to learn that this was the fastest time of
the day, 28.2 sees. Evans’ Montlhery Midget was eliminated by crankshaft trouble so the only other 750 c.c. was Phipps on a second R-type M.G. His style was no less sure than the Cambridge driver and he was actually .1 sees. faster. The 1,100 c.c. class brought forth three of the familiar” Bitza ” cars derived from G.N. chassis. Sumner’s one was actually clothed with a body and was the fastest despite a gear which refused to stay in ;
his time was 35.5 secs. R. R. Jackson (C) on the Magnette beat him with 83.6 secs. The 1 i-litre class was depleted to four entries, J ucker’s “Gold Standard ” Frazer-Nash amongst others having passed-out on the eve of the trials. LindWalker’s Ulster Aston Martin did 86.5 secs., Pane’s Frazer-Nash suffered from misfiring and did 33.4 secs., Connell’s
M.G. 34.7 secs., and. Tongue’s Frazer-Nash the same speed.
The redoubtable Bloody Mary was the star turn of the 2-litre class. The fierce little car fairly hopped on the way down to the first bend and Richard Bolster’s arms, or as much of them as there is room to use, were busy. His time of 29.5 secs. reflects his bravery. The Duke of Grafton (C) led off the 3-litre class with his 2.3-litre Alfa. It ran down. the course with a trail of black smoke and some misfiring to record 32.3 secs. Bertram was next with the fine old 12
cylinder Delage. He was very fast down to the first bend, needed all his Skill to get round, and had to take his foot off for the one before the finish, obviously much handicapped by the sandy surface. Even so his time was only .05 sees. behind Tongue. Fitzgerald’s Mercedes did 33.5 secs. A regular veteran type came next, Mavrogordato’s 1914 Grand Prix Opal,
4.i-litre car once the property of Segrave. A beautiful ball-ended exhaust pipe gave the authentic booming sound of the pre-war racer, and its time of 36.35 secs. showed that it was still functioning well.
Pane. seemed a bit ” het-up ” in the .All-Comers class. He started off with an exciting skid, and nearly did a broad-side at the Pond bump. Phipps on the other hand was very fast and steady, keeping his foot hard down right to the finishing line. He improved his time to 27.99 secs., while Tongue fell foul of the bump and was over a see. slower. Bertram now made a supreme effort on the Delage”and steering a better course shot over the line with no easing up in 27.4 secs. The big car had won back fastest time.
Racing cars again, with Tongue’s M.G.
again shattering the car-drums. A perfect get-away and a steady fiat-out run this time in 27.35 secs, and fastest time was Tegained. On his final run he brought -this down to 27.2 secs. The other racing-car second runs proeduced a few improvements. Clowes on the blown McEvoy Special made a firstclass run in 33.2 secs., Pane once more gained control of his Frazer-Nash to record 29.6 secs., and the Duke of Grafton
took the 2.3-litre Alfa down in 30 secs. Fitzgerald pushed Up the Mercedes to $2.7 secs., ;,ind then 32.5 secs., and Forrest 1,yectt improved the Bentley’s time to 29.4 sees. In the 1,100 c.c. sports class Whitehead pulled up to 34.7 secs.-pretty brisk for
a four-seater Maftia. The 1 i-litres showed no important improvement, but Benjafield pushed the 2-litre Marendaz to better effect to win the 2-litre class. He also got the Railton up to 33 sees., but Marker’s time of 31.03 secs. still held.
Kenneth Evans came through stronglY in the 1-litre supercharged class with 30.9 secs., another useful improvement being Chalkley’s Bentley (34.3 secs.). •••?•
So ended the day’s sport, and competitors and spectators adjourned to the George at Grantham. Here it was found that Cambridge had secured its usual victory, but everybody had had a good day’s sport and the drivers from the rival University showed no signs of being downhearted.