Inter-Varsity Speed Trial at Tempsford
Leslie Marr (Connaught) Makes Fastest-Time-of-the-Day
It is traditional that the Inter-Varsity Speed Trial opens the English speed season, and so it was on March 6th, when the Cambridge University A.C. and C.U.M.C. held its sprint meeting at disused Tempsford Airfield, not far from Biggleswade, which we shall always associate with the late Richard Shuttleworth.
The cover of the programme carried an appropriate picture of the late Richard Seaman driving a pre-war G.P. Mercedes-Benz at Donington, a nice gesture to this great driver, who commenced his racing career in C.U.A.C. events. The event itself was hampered by a biting wind and hardly came up to pre-war standards, for although the 3/4-mile course along the runways embraced a right-hand bend just after the start, a sharp left-hand corner, a hairpin, and a long straight with an S-bend which brought competitors back to finish opposite the starting-line, the wide expanses of airfield-course had no affinity with the roads in beautiful private parkland which were invariably used for pre-war Inter-Varsity Speed Trials. Moreover, one missed the temperamental G.N. Specials and exotic old racing monsters of those times, in an entry which comprised but two racing cars, Leslie Marr’s Connaught (down in the programme to run in the over-2,500-c.c closed cars class !) and the ex-Maclachlan single-seater blown Austin Seven which steadfastly refused to start in spite of being towed up and down the Paddock.
Traditionally, the start was late and timing by electrical apparatus reinforced by hand-controlled stop-watch.
W.M.H. Nott and M.V. Kenyon put over a good but cold afternoon’s sport. A 300SL Mercedes-Benz coupe opened the course, attended by three inspiring saloons of the same make.
Sports Cars up to 1,200 c.c.
This was contested by a blue Dellow, a Buckler with a buckled bonnet, a yellow Austin Seven Open-Road two-seater, a neat Austin Seven Special (which spun off into the rough and had to be lifted out), a Morris Minor, a Lotus Mk. VI and an ambitious Ford Ten Special in the form of the Vacca Special, which had wishbone and coil-spring i.f.s., a de Dion rear-end, rack-and-pinion steering, and an aluminium body with tall streamlined headrest for the driver and a door which flew open at a crucial moment.
1st; J. Anstice-Brown (Lotus) … 71.38 sec.
2nd; R.N. Hutton (Buckler) … 74.30 sec.
3rd; P. Threlfall (Dellow) … 74.98 sec.
Closed Cars up to 1,200 c.c.
Here Morris Minor and Ford Anglia battled with VW and Renault 750, and Ken Richardson drove a presumably warmed-up Standard Ten.
1st; K. Richardson (Standard 10) … 73.24 sec.
2nd; B.H. Greenhaugh (Ford Anglia) … 77.67 sec.
3rd; J.E. Milne (Ford Anglia) … 80.00 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,201-1,500 c.c.
In this class Jennings drove a Cooper-M.G. wearing a Bentley.emblemed crash-hat, a TF M.G., Threlfall his Turner, and J.R. Aley his cream 11/2-litre H.R.G. G.
1st; C.H. Threlfall (Turner) … 65.38 sec.
2nd; D. Piper (Lotus) … 66.15 sec
3rd; R.D. Jennings (Cooper M.G.) … 69.41 sec
Closed Cars, 1,201-1,500 c.c.
P. Riley showed spirit in driving his Peugeot 203, Scott-Brown drove another of these long, lean saloons, against an R4 Jupiter and an M.G. Magnette.
1st; A. Thomas (Jowett Jupiter R4) … 69.12 sec.
2nd; W.A. Scott-Brown (Peugeot 203) …74.90 sec.
3rd; R. Dick (M.G. Magnette) … 75.58 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,501-2,500 c.c.
In this category there were six Triumph TR2s, Benstead-Smith’s being fast but untidy at the hairpin, which too many drivers tended to hug, Scott’s having had its screen removed, Ken Richardson handling a I.h.-drive car, and Eastwood making the tyres howl at the hairpin. Three Silverstone Healeys were entered, Simpson having a good tussle with his, while Kemp’s A.G. Ace was slow, and the Morgan Plus Fours, one a coupe, the other the latest version with birdcage at the front, noticeably stable. Richardson spun off on his second run.
1st; J.D. Scott (Triumph TR2) … 65.70 sec.
2nd; T. Beevor (Healey Silverstone) … 66.87 sec.
3rd; M. Randall (Healey Silverstone) … 66.96 sec.
Closed Cars, 1,501-2,500 c.c.
Tony Crook, having hit an island on the way up, competed with a badly battered Bristol 405, Soukup’s Rover 75 was gentlemanly, and de Larrinaga’s Sunbeam-Talbot neat, while a Standard Vanguard estate car went incredibly wide at the hairpin.
1st; T.A.D. Crook (Bristol 405) … 70.02 sec.
2nd; J.Maurice (Vauxhall) … 76.34 sec.
3rd; A.de Larringa (Sunbeam-Talbot 90) … 77.00 sec.
Sports Cars over 2,500 c.c.
This class obviously lay between Tony Crook’s Cooper-Bristol sports car, wearing its supercharger and with a new exhaust system, which had been driven to the course over snowbound roads, and Marr’s 2-litre F.II Connaught. The Cooper-Bristol—which is under 2,500 c.c. anyway !—sounded its usual crisp self, while the Connaught was fluffy on pick-up. A vintage note was contributed by Erskine- Hill’s blown 1,750 c.c. Alfa- Romeo Zagato. Crook blew-up (bent push-rod ?) on his second run.
1st; T.A.D. Crook (s.c. Cooper Bristol) … 62.00 sec.
2nd; M.R. Noble (Austin Healey) … 68.00 sec.
3rd; J. Erskine-Hill (Alfa-Romeo) … 71.50.sec.
Closed Cars over 2,500 c.c.
In the programme this class contained the Connaught and Broad’s E.R.A. “Remus,” the latter an absentee! The winner of this class was Dr. Sheppard in his DB Aston Martin.
1st; Dr. Sheppard (Aston Martin DB) … 69.50 sec.
1st; L. Marr (Connaught) … 61.38 sec.
Marr now went better, having learnt the corners. Webb nearly lost his Turner and Jennings drove his new Cooper-M.G.
1st; L. Marr (Connaught) … 60.80 sec. (F.T.D.)
2nd; T.A.D. Crook (Cooper Bristol s.c.) … 63.01 sec
3rd; T. Beevor (Healey Silverstone) … 66.05 sec.