THE R.A.G. RALLY
FOG AND RAIN ENCOUNTERED ON ALL ROUTES " IN-AND-OUT " AND HILL-CLIMB ELIMINATING TES TS
Out of the 276 cars which took part in the fifth R.A.C. Rally only twenty-one failed to reach the final check at Torquay. A 24 m.p.h. average is well within the capabilities of any modern car and even with fog and rain to contend with, only six cars were behind time ; two drivers, one of them the Hon, Brian Lewis, were penalised for arriving too carly at the finish, anti twenty-four others lost marks for damage or defects to their Cars. As in the early days of the Monte Carlo Rally, drivers were allowed to check in at the intermediate controls as soon as they were open, and those with fast cars were able to pick up five or six hours at intermediate points on the journey.
There were nine starting points, namely Blackpool, Bristol, Buxton, Glasgow, Harrogate, Leamington, London, Newcastle-on-Tyne and Yarmouth, and from each of them a route totalling one thousand miles and passing through various intermediate controls led to the finish. Open and closed cars were each divided into 4 h.p. groups, with eight trophies as Premier Awards, and First. Second and Third-Class Awards were also allotted to cars completing the road section and eliminating tests. On the Road
The route from Bristol was probably the fastest and least difficult of all, and everyone made Blackpool, the first check, without any set-backs. Here, Toulmin, the M.G. trials man, was in charge, and his efforts in arranging for plentiful supplies of hot water, towels and food were much appreciated.
At Penrith, on the way to Glasgow, an accident occurred, unhappily followed with fatal results. A Humber limousine driven by H. J. Williams, a chauffeur employed by the firm, crashed into a house, Williams was killed and H.
Thornton Ruttct, motoring correspondent of the Times, and F. Barnes, another employee of Humbers, were seriously injured. Most of the cars were by this time well on their way to Scotland, not realising about the sad occurrence behind them.
There was rain aad patches of mist between the Border and Glasgow, but not enough to be a very serious hindrance and Eason Gibson on a Frazer
Nash-B.M.W. and other drivers arrived there with six hours to spare. The hotel was unpleasing and apparently disorganised by its influx of motoring visitors and rally drivers gained rather a bad impression of the town. Returning south there was really thick fog on Shap, and most of the ears were reduced to 15 m.p.h. With good eyesight and a Notek fog-lamp, Nigel Holder was one of the few who was able to maintain his speed, and soon was leading a long queue of cars with his
Bentley at a steady forty. Arriving at Harrogate, after a quick journey, one of the drivers who had followed him said, cuttingly, " Of course, it's easy when you live in this part of the world," a rather unfortunate remark as Holder is a Londoner.
Down the Great North Road a regular Grand Prix took place, and Brian Lewis was reported to have gone through a thirty-mile limit at 70 m.p.h., much to the interest of the police patrol. An average of fifty was quite usual and again six hours of sleep was enjoyed by many drivers. Heavy rain, cold, and mist persisted throughout the run west to Torquay. Newcastle starters met with thick fog in Scotland, and Londoners encountered it in Yorkshire, on the way to Scarborough. The Leamington route led north through the Yorkshire resort, and those who followed the coast through Newcastle again encountered bad visibility.. Those who ventured across the Pennines to Carlisle, when going north, oddly enough had a clear run: Humour plays a great part in every Rally, and this year's event was no exception. First of all there was the lady with the trumpet or " Road to Paradise ." horn. She started out on her thousand-mile journey in full racing kit, with a get-away to match and prolonged " doo-da-doo-daas " on the horn, overtaking several cars in the first two miles. Five miles further on she was seen stopped at the side of the road mending a radiator leak, but soon the accursed horn was heard as she continued her dicing with death. This continued
. throughout the Rally until the arrival at Torquay. Here the examining official pressed the horn button, but after a
feeble bleat there was silence. The horn took about 20 amps and would only operate when the engine was running. This resulted in a loss of five marks and general rejoicings from co-starters and sufferers.
The racing turn-outs much amused old hands at the game, another crew, men this time,. changing into .spotless white overalls only to have a puncture in the first few miles. The equipe turned up at the first of the intermediate checks looking as black as sweeps, so possibly their overalls were justified on their particular car. Another crew with a luxurious closed car delighted everyone by wearing Sidcots built of the heaviest possible leather.
Mixed crews provided considerable amusement, the female part of it in several cases proving the Better Half. In one case the lady, who is not unknown, at Brooklands, drove for the first 300 miles. She then handed over to her companion who forthwith trod so hard on the clutch pedal that he broke it off, then suggested that the woman should get out and find out what the damage was. No sooner was this fixed than he tore off the gear-lever, being used to driving bigger cars, as he said. Being unable to average better than 25 m.p.h. when the car was intact, the luckless lady then returned to the wheel and was forced to return him to the passenger's seat and continue to drive for the rest of the trip.
There were few reports of police activities and Miss Joan Richmond was said to have been piloted through a big town at a steady, 55 m.p.h. by a car whose bowler-hatted occupants were almost certainly policemen.
• .Never a rally it seems without a car turning over, and this happened in two cases. A Standard entered by Nockolds was inverted by its crew, which continued to Torquay by train quite unhurt. B. P. Dixon did the same thing on his 8 h.p. Ford somewhere north of Yarmouth, his front wheel having apparently touched the bank at the side of the road. After two-hours' work the car was restored to its wheels again, and the crew checked in dead on time in spite of the accident.
The sky was overcast and fine rain was falling as the cars made their way into Torquay on the Thursday morning after nearly two days on the road. Many drivers had arrived at the town with time enough for a wash and a shave before checking in and crews in some cases had even cleaned their cars. Two grass fields were used as parking grounds, and unexpected rain had made the ground very soft, but an efficient gang of R.A.C. men were there to help cars over this unexpected final Colonial Section. The usual inspection of lamps, windscreen wipers and for condition was made. This year the officials were particularly severe on scratched wings, so much so that two motoring journalists amongst others lost marks for minute and almost invisible injuries which had been there eighteen months.
The Eliminating Tests
The final order was decided On the usual two tests, details of which were kept secret until after the cars had been
• safely locked up in their parks. In the first test the car had to be driven a distance of 200 yards, backed into a bay and driven out facing the opposite direction. A run of 100 yards back towards the starting line brought the car t-.) a second bay. Into this also the car had to be backed. Then, facing the original direction, a further run of 150 yards brought the car to the finishing line. '50 yards beyond this again was a braking, line, and crossing this latter line entailed a perralty of ten marks. A wet day would have added considerably to the difficulty of the road
tests, but happily fine weather prevailed. Only nine cars lost marks in the easystarting test, and planks were laid down to ensure a clean get-away once the engines were running.
Proceedings on the Torbay Road were opened. by the open cars up to 8 h.p., the majority ot which were M.G.s. With a short wheelbase and good lock the test held no terrors for them and no one offered to touch the obstacles. At the same time one felt, than the task set was a practical and fair one, better than any of those devised in the previous four rallies.
The two closed 8 h.p. cars, one of them Dixon's somewhat battered Ford, were soon disposed of, and the sides of the pens were then moved further apart to allow for the larger cars of the 8 to 14 h.p. classes.
F. S. Barnes was first on the line with his i.-litre Singer and was unmistakably very quick and neat. Hillmans, Singers and Rovers went through in quick succession, but the only one to touch a barrier was W. P. Maidens on a Rover Twelve. Lambert, on a Singer Nine, made -a very rapid run and the other members of the Atttomotor team, A. H.
Langley and J. D. Barnes, also showed the proper way to carry out the test.
The three Talbot Tens all made a good showing, as also the J.C.C. team of I3alilla Fiats driven by 'Tett, Sandford and Westwood. Like the team of white Singers, which were labelled " Candidi Provocatores," the Fiat team bore an inscription of Latin, but the editorial staff having parted with the last shreds of its classical education, we are unable to impart the meaning of the words. We preferred the simple " Ruddy," which appeared on the bonnets of Harris's team of Singer Nines, but even better, simple and unadorned cars like Anthony's T.T. Aston-Martin. Out of over ninety entries in this class, incidentally, only three cars touched the barriers.
The closed cars were unexciting, except when Pares' Rover cleared the pavement of spectators with the front bumper and sent a suitcase for six. Imhof, the third member of the " Candidi " Singers, had fitted a saloon roof to his Nine with light pieces of wood and celluloid panels, and with the further aid of a supercharger had no difficulty in mopping up the family saloons.
Roberts was disappointing with his smart new S.S. 100, the short-wheelbase model, but Brian Lewis on a similar car received a well-earned round of applause. A.C.s both long and short now dominated the scene. Chapman, whose trials experience should have stood him in better stead, went nose-first into one of the pens, thereby losing 100 marks. Fairtlough's car, which has recently been fitted with a blower, had a piercing exhaust note but bad carburetion. Margaret Allen on. one of the short " Flea " models was outstandingly good in spite of a spectator who stepped off the pavement in the middle of the run. Whilst Sidney Light, doubtless depressed at having lost forty-two marks through arriving too early at the final check the day before, was not trying very hard. The Frazer-Nash-B.M.'W.s were noticeably nippy, Mrs. Moss On a Marendaz Special nearly missed the reversing pen altogether and then jammed the front wheels of her car against the curb, while Mrs. Lace's car made most curious clockwork sounds. In the closed class the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.s with their short wheelbase and good lock had matters all their own way. Eason Gibson
was actually 1/5 second fast er than Finigan, who won the class, but touched one of the posts.
In the over 20 h.p. class short, light cars like the Hillcoat's LT. Ford and Strang 's Hudson showed up strongly against Lagondas, Daimlers and Bentleys. Spikins on his supercharged Hudson Special with a chassis shortened by 8 in. showed colossal acceleration and made fastest time of all.
The second test took place on St. Mary's Hill, a narrow road with a rightangle corner near the top and a maximum gradient of 41 to I.. Half-way up it a canvas screen 4 yards long was placed with an Official stationed at each end of it. The tar had to be driven up the hill far enough for the driver to see the .official at the top end of the screen, reversed back till the lower one was visible and then accelerated away to the top. In theory, it was quite a sound test, but unfortunately, in practice, in a number of cases drivers and officials were not in agreement as to whether they could see One another, and the driver suffered, the penalty for not running up
got away surprisingly well, though petrol slopped out of the filler-caps of the latter make. The surface was getting loose at the end, but just survived the last of the big closed cars.
The Coachwork Competition
There were twentv-one classes in all in the Coachwork Competition, seven price classifications and a further sub-division into Open cars, two-door closed and four door closed cars. I )rop-head coupes could be en tered in Hi her t he open or the closed class. Out of lee marks, thirty were awarded for twenty for comfort, and t he rest for
condition, visibility, interior convenience, ease of ingress and egress, luggage carrying, tools and special fittings. There were no entries in Class 1. In 2a the judges were given a difficult task by being confronted with the " Ruddy " team of Singer Nines, all identical with their light grey coachwork and red
wheels and upholstery. Instead they fell for Mrs. Petre's neat little 12 h.p. Avon Standard, with a drop-head coupe body. Finished in dark grey with black bonnet and waist line, it certainly looked very smart. Patrick's B.S.A. had a neat looking fixed-head coupe body, finished with a sliding roof, while A. G. Jones's
Standard saloon with sloping tail matching the bonnet line showed the great advance which standard (no pun !) coachwork has made. In class 3a the three Talbot Tens finished in racing green with dark green wings, the rear ones faired into the body, were distinctive, and boasted very complete side-curtains and a fairly roomy I ack seat. The prize-winners were Rovers, fitted With the practical open )ur-seater bodies which have gained successes in previous Rally Coachwork
'ompeti lions. The two-door class did not produce anything unusual but in the four-doors we
liked the Riley Kestral entered by R. J. arsdon and finished in grey with blue trimmings. Olive's blue green Standard was chiefly notable for the row of ten club badges which were ranged along at the bottom of the front wings. ' Badg
it is " was indeed rather prevalent amongst the closed cars. In class 4 (.12350CM) there were a number of sport lug vl '111(.1(:s, Hillcoat's Ford and Clark 's lowered Jensen Ford looking particularly' businesslike. Lewis's S.S. 100 looked low and snappy, and despite the long bonnet there wits excellent visibility and good head-room with the hood up. The short A.( :. s entered by M iss Allen and S. C. Light also appealed to the open-air motorist. As an all-weather touring car the Avon Standard 20 with white drop-head body
and a black luggage trunk was both smart and roomy.
of the now 21 h.p. short-chassis British Classes 5 and 6a. Miss Patten had one Salmsons which was fitted with a smart cars two-seater body finished in light blue. Good points we noticed were comfortable seats with plenty of leg and elbow room, ample luggage space behind the seats, a
20-gallon petrol tank and two spare wheels. Watkinson's Alvis was a prizewinner for the third year in succession. A 'distinctive shade of dark green, comfortable Vanden Plas coachwork and two spare wheels helped to influence the judges in their decision.
Alvis cars also scored heavily in higher price categories. Charles Follett scored a class-win and a Premier Award with a dark-brown two-door four-light saloon, of his own design. Clease had a fourdoor saloon painted in an unusual mauve shade, while the open car Premier Award went to J. L. Sears with a 3k-litre Alvis. The body in this case was a Continental Tourer by Oxborrow and Fuller, on which the glass windows and the substantial-looking drop-head could be folded completely away at will. A similar body was shown on Capt. Oxborrow's 3-litre Bentley, which had two large suitcases and a cleverly arranged tool kit in the rear locker. S. E. Sears' Bentley had a Salmons two-door four-light saloon body, finished in dark blue, with a distinctive falling waist moulding. Notable exterior points were the enormous Marchal head-lamps
and the capacious luggage trunk. The facia board held an intriguing collection of instruments, including an aneroid and an air-speed indicator, while the route was written out on special flaps which could be swung down from the roof. Colonel Rippon's Humber was fitted with a spacious saloon body with amazingly soft upholstery, and by virtue of its roominess no less than its finish won the four-door Premier Award.
Group 1 (Open cars up to 8 h.p.) :
"Torquay Rally Trophy " : N. E. Bracey (746 c.c. (52-220. Group 2 (Closed cars up to 8 h.p.) :
" Torqtuty Rally Trophy " ; C. E. A. Westcott (745 c.c. Austin). (59f-39*).
Group $ (Open cars 8 to 14 h.p.) : "The Light Car Trophy " ; A. (1,49:3 c.c. Singer). (46A-20). Group 4 (Closed cars 8 to 14 h.p.) :
"The Autocar Trophy " ; A. G. Imhof (972 c.c. Singer, S.). (49-23*). Group 5 (Open cars 14 to 20 h.p.) :
" Torquay Rally Trophy " ; C. G. Fitt (1,911 c.c. Frazer-Nash -B.M .W.). (50A-21I). Group 6 (Closed ears 14 to 20 h.p.) :
"Torquay Rally Trophy " ; J. L. Finigan (1,911 c.c. Fraser-Nash-B.M.W.). (52*-23i). Group 7 (Open cars over 20 h.p.) : "'rue Motor Trophy" ; F. R. G. Spiking (4,168 c.c. Spikins Hudson Special, S.). 451-21I Group 8 (Closed ears over 20 h.p.) :
"The Autocar Trophy " ; S. E. Sears (3,669 c.c. Bentley). (The figures in brackets indicate the time taken In the two testa.) • H. Langley
Starting Control Prizes "
Blackpool.-The " Daily Dispatch' Trophy ; F. S. Barnes (Singer).
BristoL-The "Western Daily Press" and "Bristol Mirror" Trophy ; J. F. Lambert (Singer).
Buxton.-The "Sunday Chronicle" Trophy ; J. D. Barnes (Singer).
Glasgow.-The R.A.C. Trophy ; G. M. Frame, J LID r. (Singer).
Harrogate.-The "Yorkshire Post" Trophy ; H. Hilicoat (Ford).
Leamington.-The "Midland Daily Telegraph" Trophy ; A. H. Langley (Singer).
London.-The " Daily Telegraph" Trophy ; F. It. G. Spikins (Spikins Hudson Special).
Newcastle.-The "Newcastle Evening Chronicle" Trophy ; K. Hutchison (Ford).
Great Yarmouth.-The Great Yarmouth Trophy ; A. G. Imhof (Singer).
Manufacturer's Team Prize: The Wakefield Trophy
Ladies' Prize Open Cars
Presented by the "Daily Sketch " ; Miss Joan Rictunond (Triumph). Ladies' Prize Closed Cars
Presented by the " Sunday Graphic " ; Miss H. Wilby (Armstrong Siddeley). COACHWORK COMPETITION Premier Awards Open Cars :
J. L. Sears (Alvis).
Winner : Messrs. Singer & Co., Ltd., (A) ; F. S. Barnes ; J. D. Barnes ; A. 11. Langley.
Runner-up : Messrs. Singer & Co., Ltd., (C); 31. H. Lawson ; W. J. B. Richardson ; A. 0. Imhof. Club Team Prize The R.A.C. Trophies
Winner : The Singer Motor Cur Club (Midland centre) ; F. S. Barnes ; J. D. Barnes ; A. H. Langley.
Runner-up : The Singer Motor Car Club (Northern centre) ; W. C. Butler ; 0. H. Frame, Junr. ; H. E. Bradley. Two-door Closed Cars : C. Follett (Alvis). Four-door Closed Cars :
Col. It. Ilippon (Humber). Class Awards Class 2 (a) :
1. J. R. Maudslay (Avon Standard).
2. W. Elsey (Hillman). Class 2 (b) :
G. Patrick (B.S.A.). Class 2 (0) :
1. It. K. Welisteed (Morris). 2. A. G. Jones (Standard). Class 8 (a) :
1. H. E. Gibbon (Rover).
2. Miss M. Jennings (Rover). Class 3 (b) Miss L. H. Roper (Triumph). Class 3 (e) :
1. F. D. Cooper (Rover).
2. C. Bicknell (Wolseley). Class 4 (a) :
I. J. R. Maudslay (Avon Standard). 2. G. H. Biggs (Hillntan) Class 4 (b) :
1. E. H. Siddeley (Armstrong Siddeley). 2. Miss I. C. Schwedler (Rover). Class 4 (e) :
1. Miss M. C. Smith (S.S.).
2. D. S. Hand (8.8.). Class 5 (a) :
Miss M. D. Patten (British Salmson). Class 8 (a):
W. E. C. Watkinson (Alvis). Class 6 (b) :
C. Follett (Alvis). Class 6 (e) :
A. 0. D. Clease (Alvis). Class 7 (a) :
.1. L. Sears (Alvis). Class 7 (b) :
S. E. Sears (Bentley). Class 7 (e) :
Col. R. Rippon (Htunber).