Riley MC Winter Rally, (Feb. 23rd) Although billed as a Surrey event this popular rally of a club claiming to be the largest one-make organisation, took place mainly in south-east Hampshire. It attracted 63 entries, inclusive of a No 13, who had to find their route along the by-ways from a not entirely accurate route-card and undergo a number of timed tests. One of these tests was a series of up-hill stops and restarts, calculated to test clutches and back axles. Another was an ingenious affair in which drivers had to start their engines, reverse round a corner and uphill over a line, stop, then coast in neutral back to and over the starting line. HV Fisher, in a white roadster 21/2-litre, made a hash of reversing, getting his off-side rear wheel in the ditch, with consequent severe wheel spin. In contrast E Haigh’s 1935 Twelve tourer took it neatly, and GD Knight performed splendidly in his modern 11/2-litre saloon. CA Pike came backwards so fast that his rear axle juddered and he overshot the stop-line. Capt Murray (1947 11/2-litre saloon) was extremely proficient, although he, too, didn’t stop in time, while J Williamson (1948 saloon) was outstanding.
They say competitions test the breed and the Nuffield organisation can now be quite certain that reverse gear jumps out on the present-day Riley. This happened to many competitors, on some occasions as many as three times, losing them valuable marks to the accompaniment of dreadful crunches and cost C Allan Reed the entire gearbox on his 1950 21/2-litre !
At Lasham aerodrome, watched from aloft by gliding exponents. the cars did a lengthy zig-zag test. E Brinkman’s 21/2-litre saloon was hectic in the extreme in making ftd—-33.5 sec. Three others tied with 35 sec, but while we were watching the fastest was 36.2 sec, by JG Hadley’s 11/2-litre saloon, on a neat run. Cuff-Miller’s 1928 Brooklands Riley was making a horrid noise and jumped out of gear (38.4 sec) and CW Cooper’s very nicely preserved 1927 11.9 tourer took the nonsense steadily (44.0 sec). Miss Sears’ 11/2-litre was slow, but both C Gelberg’s and LW Range’s 21/2-litres went sufficiently fast to invoke front-wheel slides, whereupon Range put on his brakes and momentarily stopped ! Gelberg missed negotiating two of the obstacles and PI Howe, intrepid dog navigator in his 21/2-litre, and G Martin’s 1937 Twelve missed some “zigs.” Both Mrs Johnson (11/2-litre) and HJ Mash (11/2-litre) drove well, the latter’s girl passenger somewhat apprehensive. As we left for home another vintage Riley, D Wood’s 1923 10.8 coupe, was seen coming steadily on its way.