Reports of Recent Events, April 1950
Cemian M.G. Kent Cup Trial
This trial was held in fine weather on February 19th. Fifteen starters got away on time from the Spring Tavern, Wrotham Heath. Unfortunately the short spell of dry weather had dried up the hills since the Trials Secretary had inspected them and consequently they were moderately easy. The hills included Hognore, Whitehorse, Buckwell Bank, Marley, and Harp Farm. There was one special test to eliminate ties in which V. F. Gordon (M.G.) and A. E. A. Day (Mercury) tied exactly in 40.8 sec. each, the average time being approximately 46 sec. As a result the Kent Cup will be held jointly for the next year.
Kent Cup.—V. F. Gordon (MG).
Kent Cup and Team Award.—A. E. A. Day (Mercury).
First-Class Awards.—T. W. Oxendale (H.R.G.) and A. G. Rivers (Wolseley).
Second-Class Awards.—G. C. Harvey (Allard), and D. W. Freeman (H.R.G.).
Second-Class Awards and Team Awards.—Ian Palmer (Austin Seven) and J. E. SeIley (P.S, Special).
The Jo’burg Races
February 25th saw the second series of races at the Grand Central Circuit near Johannesburg, with the usual combined programme of meter-cycle and car events. Unfortunately a threat of rain kept many spectators away—South Africans being used to fine weather for their sporting events.
The organisers decided to try a bold experiment, scratch starting by classes, dividing the three car events into (a) 750-c.c. racing and 1,500-c.c. sports, (b) 1,100-c.c. and 1,500-c.c. racing and (c) unlimited racing cars, with a separate prize for each class. After the event it was agreed that the first two races had been a success but the unlimited class was a failure due partly to Cannell’s 3.7-litre Maserati which left the field, together with a shortage of suitable cars for this event.
Outstanding among the small cars was van Staden’s Austin Special which follows current Italian sports-car design with welded tube framework, F.I.A.T. 500 front suspension and well streamlined bodywork, with exposed wheels. The special Austin engine, with blower driven from a near-side extension of the timing case, is reputed to be the engine out of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Daytona Beach Austin of 1931. Certainly it came from the States and is fitted with a cylinder head stamped “made in U.S.A.” While leading its class this car snapped a stub axle and ended up slightly damaged after a series of spectacular slides. The other Austins were much slower and there is room for improvement in this class. Winner was Hauptfleisch in a neat single-seater.
In the same event Chandler, driving his first race, was first in the 1,500-c.c. sports-car class out of a field of seven “TC” M.G.s after Grosskopf, an easy winner, picked up a length of wire in his tyre.
Motor-cycle “vintagent” Sterndale, also driving in his first car race, won the 1,100-c.c. class in Brodie’s off-set Riley, while Brodie himself, in his very attractive single-seater “TC” M.G., was first home in the 1,500-c.c. race. The field of modified “TCs” included four single-seaters. This race was marred by the spectacular crash of Haan Gray’s fast and beautifully built F.I.A.T. 1,100 special, which, after leading the field in the first lap, entered a bend with a jammed accelerator at high speed and somersaulted a number of times. Gray was only slightly injured. An ex-midget car driver, he accepted the crash philosophically.
Most disappointed man of the day was Fraser-Jones whose ex-Gerard Riley threw a beautiful Laystan rod on his first lap after weeks of persistent bearing trouble. He fortunately has the six-cylinder engine to fall back on.
In the rather straggly unlimited class the “3.7” Maserati (unblown with six Amals) rapidly left the field to win easily. Kelfken’s well-tried Ford-engined Bugatti and Warren’s neat Mercury Special followed in second and third place.
Once again R. K. Lee, chief organizer, did an excellent job of work, the crowd behaved perfectly, and the meeting ran well to time. Thanks are due to the motor-cycle people for valuable assistance and for setting a good example of organisation and rider discipline.
Next event is scheduled for Empire Day.
V.S.C.C. Driving Tests, Bisley
The Vintage S.C.C. held another of its series of driving tests at Bisley on Febuary 26th. As Cecil Clutton observed recently in the club’s “Bulletin,” there is no doubt these meetings fill a place in the activities of the club which nothing else could quite do.
And even if the tests are of a “circus” character, speeds never becoming high enough to bring out the more sordid points in a car, they do collect together an excellent array of vintage cars and keen enthusiasts. The competing marques comprised Lagonda, Sunbeam, Bugatti, Austin Seven, Rolls-Royce, Frazer-Nash, Alvis, Invicta, Vauxhall, Hispano-suiza, Delage, Hudson, Studebaker, Wolseley Hornet, H.R.G., M.G., Alfa-Romeo, Ford, Hotchkiss, Lancia and Standard. John Bolster’s Edwardian Standard landaulet was driven with great spirit but, bounce as he did, it failed from wheelspin and lack of power on the hill in the Stop-and-Restart-on-Gradient test. The next test was a Run-to-Car-and-Start affair, the third a matter of getting into and out of a series of “garages,” the last a short bout of acceleration. Even in these rather out-of-the-ordinary evolutions, it was notable how cars of quality stood bonnet and scuttle above the rest. The Royce Twenties, for example, were quiet and dignified, proclaiming their dislike of being hurried by a crunch of gears, but perhaps most impressive of all in every way was a Hotchkiss saloon. On the other hand, Peter Clark stalled the engine and crashed the gears of his Wilton-toy-Bentley, and Bolster’s Standard groaned and growled about like the London taxi it faintly resembles. In contrast, a modern Triumph Vanguard roadster with forced induction hissed rapidly along the course of the acceleration test.
The cars, both competitors’ and spectators’, were immensely interesting. There was a respectable model-A Ford two-seater, circa 1928, bought recently, it was said, for £7 10s. (has Motor Sport‘s plea for fairer second-hand prices brought a response?), and a rusty Rolls-Royce chassis which had the audacity to try to dispose of itself by hanging a self-advertisement on its headlamp. There was Major Dove’s so-beautiful and big Sunbeam Sixteen tourer, an “S. F. Edge-era” A.C. Anzani two-seater with rear tank and hydraulic front brakes, a new and pleasant manifestation of “11.9” Lagorida (a two-seater with odd-sized, but both incredibly narrow, front tyres), Bunty Scott-Moncrieff’s notorious saloon Chenard-Walcker, a nice “9/20” Humber tourer, a queer little Mercédès, Wadsworth’s shortened, oddened 3-litre Sunbeam, a most spidery Salmon with no tail where tail had undoubtedly been, the Bayliss-Thomas, Southon’s H.E., and many old favourites. Oh yes, and the results were:—
Vintage Cars up to 1½ litres: H. Birkett (1929 T.T. Austin).
Vintage Cars over 1½ litres: J. Jane (1923 Lancia Lambda).
Non-Vintage Cars under 1½ litres: H. C. Bradford (1947 TC M.G.).
Non-Vintage Cars over 1½ litres: Major Tulloch (1935 Hudson).
Lothian C.C. February Trial
The weather was the wrong sort, but Humbie failed all 17 starters except J. L. H. R. Miller’s 4-litre Watson-Special.
Premier Award: J. L. H. R. Miller (Watson-Special).
Best in Opposite Class: W. H. Stewart (Ford Ten).
First-Class Awards: Flockhart (M.G.), Waugh (Ausford), Goodall (Ford Ten), Hendrey (Speedy-Special), Lamb (Ford V8).
Sheffield & Hallamshire M.C. Harrison Trophy Trial
The Sheffield and Hallamshire Motor Club held the Harrison Trophy Trial over a sporting course in Derbyshire comprised of six sections and one test. Bob’s Baffle lived up to its name and baffled the whole entry, not one climbing this section.
The eventual winner was C. Corbishley (C.C.S. Special), with best time on the test, retaining 95 marks (time, 26.4 sec.), M. Wilde was second (95 marks, 26.8 sec.). and A. Alldred and Ken Bancroft tied for third place (95 marks, 27.0 sec.). The results were announced at the Devonshire Hotel, Baslow, during tea.
Hants & Berks M.C. Fourth Blackwater Trial
Although this event was mainly for novices, the more experienced being expected to drive unsuitable cars, the spring-like weather made the course unduly easy. First round was H. Birkett, disguised as a novice, his “unsuitable” car being Lush’s orange T.T. Austin Seven. Woodpile was the most difficult section, cars being required to restart on a short but steep gradient. This was no freak test, for all who motor off the beaten track must have wished, at some time or other, that their car would restart under similar circunstances. So it was interesting to note that a Ford V8 Special found it easy, an H.R.G. romped away, a girl driver got up in an Austin Seven Special, in spite of leaving the hand-brake partially on, by dint of her passenger’s bouncing in the tail, and Mrs. Willis’ Austin Seven, a Wolseley-Special and a Morris G.N. also succeeded. But a F.I.A.T. Mouse, a sporty Riley Sprite and a “TC” M.G. were amongst those which failed miserably.
Closed Cars.—1st: R. E. Renshaw (Opel), 76 marks, 17.5 sec. 2nd: B. A. Herney (Buick), 66 marks, 21.8 sec. 3rd: J. Pettifor (Ford), 68 marks, 23.2 sec.
Open Cars.—1st: M. Hopkinson (Wolseley), 108 marks, 15.8 sec. 2nd: D. A. Armstrong (Ford), 108 marks, 18.0 sec. 3rd: Mrs. D. Mitchell (H.R.G.), 108 marks, 19.2 sec.
N. Midland M.C. Fifth Kitching Trophy Trial
Snow lay on the Derbyshire moors to add to the difficulties of the 42 starters in this event; 26 failed on Pilsbury, a muddy, grass-grown lane approached through a water splash. Washgates caught out 14 altogether and 15 cars stopped on Dow Low. Best time in the Special Test was made by Mosby’s Ford-Special. More difficult sections followed, including Old Mine, where 25 failures were recorded. A unique feature was a timed quarter-mile climb of Conksbury, T. C. Harrison doing f.t.d. in his Harford. In the final Special Test Alldred’s Allard made best time.
Kitching Trophy (best performance): T. C. Harrison (Harford).
Parker Trophy (best visitor): G. P. Mosby (Ford Special), Y.S.C.C.
Scales-Haigh Trophy (best team): T. C. Harrison, M. Wilde (Ford Special), G. P. Mosby.
Standard Trophy (best standard car): R. Oakes (M.G.).
Asbury Trophy (best under 1,000 c.c.): T. H. Bayshaw (Singer).
Noble Trophy (best 1,100-2,000 c.c.): K. R. Bailey (Riley Special).
Senior Trophy (best over 2,000 c.c.): A. Pownall (Rojah).
First-class Awards: A. A. Butler (Clegg Special); M. Wilde (Ford Special); A. Lilley (A.W. Special); A. M. Beardshaw (A.M.B.).
Second-Class Awards: C. Corbishley (C.C.S.); R. D. G. Smith (Fairley); F. A. Rhodes (F.N.-B.M.W.); Miss H. B. Kemble (Ford); G. R. Holt (G.R.B.).
N. London E.C.C. Jacobean TrophyTrial
This proved a really stiff event, and a new hill, West End, proved exceedingly difficult. D. H. Brown’s Ford V8 Special won through to victory, also making best time in the Special Test.
Jacobean Trophy: D. H. Brown (3,622-c.c. Brown-Ford).
First-Class Awards: A. Rumfitt (3,917-c.c. Allard); J, Appleton (4,317-c.c. Allard); J. C. Smith (1,172-c.c. F.M.B.); R. C. Willis (2,030-c.c. Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.).
Second-Class Awards: A. W. Richards (1,172-c.c. Austin); R. Faulkner (3,917-c.c. Mercury); A. C. B. Chapman (1,172-c.c. Lotus Special).
Team Award: North London Enthusiasts’ Car Club; A. W. Richards (1,172-c.c. Austin); R. E. Lang (747-c.c. Austin); C. J. M. Abbott (1,172-c.c. Austin).
West of England M.C. Spring Car Trial
Had this trial been held a day earlier, it would have been a more difficult affair for the twenty-six entrants. As it was the fine, drying weather favoured the competitors, particularly the back numbers. The forty-mile course in the vicinity of Newton Abbot, Devon, included time observed hills—tried favourites—and a special test. With regret the redoubtable “Steep” had to be omitted as the approach bridge had been removed. The innocent appearance of Simms Hill, the first observed hill, caught out the first six cars. M. J. Pople—”TC” M.G.—bounced nearly into the third section before developing violent wheelspin. Mrs. F. C. Mayne, the only woman competitor, pushed the nose of her M.G. around the first corner, and then retreated to the start line for a second shot, with very little better success. Then F. P. Radford put his Dellow to the hill, and climbed it with “urge” to spare. Radford made another expert climb at the “Loop,” being the first to make it clean. D. J. Hase, driving a Meakin-Cross, also showed a clean pair of wheels on this tricky hill. At “Broadway” Mrs. F. C. Mayne’s M.G. developed serious engine trouble, which necessitated a tow home. Daccombe and Kingsway did not worry any of the competitors, and only five lost marks at “Cottage”—M. L. Morgan-Giles (1,074-c.c. Riley), C. E. Dawkins (2,194-c.c. Jeep), M. A. Bryne (747-c.c. Austin), Lon Chard (1,172-c.c. Ford) and J. R. Tarr (1,725-c.c. Austin).
G. S. Scali drove his Ford Ten Special with his usual personal dash and confidence throughout the trial, to return a clean sheet at the finish. Altogether six competitors finished the course without loss of marks, and the times in the special tests were the deciding factor in the final placings.
Kennedy Trophy and Souvenir: W. A. Cleave (1,086-c.c. Morris) no marks lost; special test: A. 7.0 sec.; B. 27 sec.
Class 1 Cup: D. J. Hase (990-c.c. Meakin-Cross) no marks lost; special teat: A. 8.2 sec.; B. 46.6 sec.
Class 2 Cup: G. S. Scall (1,172-c.c. Ford Special) no marks lost; special test: A. 7.6 sec.; B. 31.0 sec.
Class 3 Cup: H. C. Roberts (3,917-c.c. Allard) 15 marks lost.
M.C.C. Cup: H. Sinclair-Sweeney (1,172-c.c. Ford Special) no marks lost; special test: A. 7.6 sec.; B. 114 sec.
West of England Tankard: L. J. Tolman (1.172-c.c. Betsy) no marks lost; special test: A. 9.2 sec.; B. 31 sec.
First-Class Awards: Dr. J. T. Spare (1,172-c.c. Whitefield Special), J. J. Whitefield (1,172-c.c. Ford Special), E. Ellis (1,911-c.c. F.N.-B.M.W.), B. Fitzwater (1,087-c.c. Riley Special).
Second-Class Awards: F. P. Redford (1,172-c.c. Dellow), D. C. Bishop (847-c.c. M.G,), Dick Barton (1,200-c.c. Barton).
Team Awrad—Knill Trophy and Souveniers (Taunton M.C.): L. J. Tolman, J. J. Whitefield, B. Fitzwater.
East Anglian M.C. Inaugural Event
The first event of this young Club was held on March 5th in the Colne Valley area, in the form of a treasure hunt and navigation trial over some 40 miles.
A special general Meeting of the Club was held after the trial at the Bull Hotel, Halstead, when 65 members and their friends sat down to tea. The main business of the meeting was chiefly formal, but one regrettable item of business was the appointment of a new chairman in the place of the late Mr. Eric Golightly who died recently. Mr. A. Crosland was appointed as chairman in his place.
First: F. R. Hynard (Wolseley Hornet).
Second: R. G. Playford (Healey).
Third: H. J. Bone (M.G.).
Lagonda C.C. Night Trial
The results of the Night Navigation Trial of March 4th/5th were:—
Best Performance by a Lagonda Car Club Member.—C. S. Elphinstone (4½-litre Lagonda tourer), 108 marks lost.
Best Performance by a Member of an Invited Club.—J. M. Burn (Ford Anglia), 71 marks lost.
First-Class Awards.—J. R. L. Barrett (Standard), 90 marks lost; H. Booth (Citroen), 92 marks lost; S. Sedgwick (4½-litre Bentley), 93 marks last; A. W. Beal (Alvis). 95 marks lost; D. Allen (Lands), 101 marks lost.
Second-Class Awards.—F. Willcox (Alvis), 102 marks lost; E. Brandon (M.G.), 106 marks lost; E. B. Durell (Lagonda “16/80”), 110 marks lost; P. R. Jackson (Triumph), 119 marks lost; Dr. Fellows (A.C.), 125 marks lost; T. Townshend (3-litre Bentley), 126 marks lost.
Lancia M.C. Driving Tests
An excellent entry of 60 was received for these tests, which took place in the grounds of beautiful Brantley Park on March 12th. There were only three non-starters and the clubs were represented by 17 V.S.C.C., 11 N.W. London, 10 Lancia, eight Hants and Berks, six 750, five A.C., three Bentley D.C., and three Lagonda C.C. members. Interesting new cars included Ron Willis’ 328 left-drive B.M.W. in which Woods was killed last year at Blandford and Hall’s flat-radiator Morris Cowley with light wings, etc. D. N. Brakes’ “Monza” Alfa-Romeo and L. S. Evans’ 1912 Scout formed a remarkable contrast, but the former might have been safer in a slower car, while the Scout was quite unsuited to these tests. Two tests involved braking from high speeds and were productive of much excitement. High-spots of the afternoon were the incursion of an M.G. Midget “Sugar Plum Lulu” into open country during a parking-test, the breaking of the gearbox in Rumfitt’s Allard during a reversing test, Buckle’s driving of his coupé Lancia Lambda from the passenger’s seat in the garaging-test and Wootton’s gallant and successful attempt to stop his Austin Chummy with rather diminished brakes. Willis didn’t gain anything from left-hand drive and, was clumsy, his reverse gear also jumping out, but a very polished exhibition of parking was given by Pentony, Linney also being outstanding. Richards made the hest show of all in this test.
Hamilton Award.—A. C. B. Chapman (Lotus).
First Class Awards.—A, W. Richards (Austin), G. Penteny (Morris), K. Welfare (Austin), J. Nicholson (M.G.), D. H. Gahagan (Bugatti), and P. A. Linney (Morris).
Novice Awards.—Nicholson and Linney.
Special Awards.—J. G. Crowther (Lancia M.C.), P. G. Scott-Miller (A.C.O.C.), C. D. H. Bertbon (Bentley D.C.), P. A. Linney (Hants and Berks M.C.), M. H. Wilby (Lagonda C.C.). A. W. Richards (N.W.L.M.C.), A. C. B. Chapman (760 M.C.) and D. H. Gahagan (V.S.C.C.).
Twam Awards.—Chapman, Welfare and Yeats.
Best in Each Test.—A. W. Richards (acceleration and braking); D. H. Gahagan and P. A. Linney (kerbside parking); H. Clayton (wiggle-woggle); A. C. B. Chapman (stop and restart); A. C. B. Chapman (garage parking).