ONCE more the wooded slopes of the famous Worcestershire hill were bathed in sunshine for the annual open event of the Midland Automobile Club on July 11th, and a larger crowd than ever came to see the fine exhibition of driving which was given by nearly all the competitors.
The fact that the good driving produced less applause than the few instances of wild skidding is a pity, but can only be expected when road events are so rare and the general public has not learnt to appreciate the finer points of the game. An added attraction was the appearance.: of the two Spanish Nacional Pescara cars, which are at present leading the racing class of the European Mountain Championship. These sportsmen only arrived at the hill on the
morning of the climb, and after a practice run decided that their back axle ratios were wrong, and proceeded to change them on the spot. They had a complete outfit of vans and spares with them, and effected the change of crown wheel and pinions with dispatch. A second change was made later before Zanelli and Tort were satisfied. The paddock contained the usual assortment of very skeleton motors, which reminded one of the days when a sprint event was a weekly affair ; !but now so rare as to be almost unique,
The majority of the home-made cars showed signs of Frazer-Nash or G.N. ancestry, this type of chassis being one of the most suitable possible for such an event, owing to its light weight and great controllability.
The climb opened with a curtainraising act by E. R. Hall and G. E. T. Eyston, who came up together in supercharged M.G. Midgets. These were very snappy and close together, though it is to be feared that the more sophisticated spectators found difficulty in taking this ” turn ” really seriously. The first actual climb was that of E1N,ves on a supercharged Austin Seven ,which was very fast, though inclined to bounce about rather on the first turn of the S-bend. His time was 52 2/5th secs. Philips and
Bailey followed somewhat slower (61s. and 61 3/5s.), and were followed by A. P. Glenny on a peculiar but very ingenious device, consisting of a home-brewed 750 c.c. 2-stroke in a Frazer-Nash chassis. Space forbids a full description here, but in essentials it is a 4-cylinder, 2 combustion-chamber supercharged engine with an unconventional crankshaft, in which ore cylinder of each pair has a few degrees lead on its partner. On this occasion it had only been assembled the night before, and was in no mood to function correctly. The crowd were merely amused, but the engine (which ought, of course, to be in a smaller chassis for such an event) is a very interesting and original effort.
The last climb in this class was the fastest, as W. E.
as Harker, on an Austin with. a Villiers blower, came up in 48 4/5th secs., making a most ” un-Austinlike “exhaust roar. The 1,100 c.c. class was opened by Derich Burcher, in a very well tuned but extremely badly driven 4-seater Riley. He went into the bend too fast, hit first one bank, then the other, turned round, nearly turned over, and finally returned whence he came. Loud cheers from the crowd, though why we can’t think. R. T. Horton, with a J.A.P. engined Frazer-Nash, made a fast and neat climb in the men
cut time of 48 315th secs. This proved to be the fastest time in this class by a fairly substantial margin. Various other spidery vehicles of similar origin were slower than expected, the twin cylinder engines of some of them seeming bashful among so much modern machinery.
The best Riley was T. B. Woods’, which took 56 3/5th sees., and so won the sports car division of this class.
Things were now beginning to warm up in earnest, and shortly the clear voice of Mr. F. L. M. Harris announced over the loud speakers that B. H. Davenport, an ex-holder of the Shelsley record, was on the line.
This year the famous Spider has undergone a few modifications, including front wheel brakes, but the familiar machine gun bark of the old twin cylinder was still there to bring back memories of the days when this car was almost invincible. He made a goo4 getaway and roared up the lower slopes with a wonderful gait. On the corner he was very neat indeed, and, using the brakes well, slid much less than usual. His time was 46 1 /5th secs., -a wonderful climb, but slower than he has managed in the past by several seconds. In spite of F. W. B., he did not seem as happy as usual at the wheel of his veteran, though there are not many ten-year-old motors which can perform like this one.
Earl Howe followed, the high-pitched note of his car Contrasting strangely with the Spider’s crackle. In braking heavily for the corner he locked wheels and slewed round almost broadside, but held the car easily and shot off to the summit in 47 4/5th sees.
The twin tyre. idea is beginning to spread, and Jevon’s’ Bugatti had the rear wheels so equipped This car, less bonnet looked quite Unlike a Bug, but the terrific roar of its exhaust was very Bugatti indeed. Mrs. Wisdom brought her Frazer. Nash up beautifully in 50 secs. thus breaking the ladies’ record for the hill, and returned
immediately to the foot to hand the car over to her husband, who later managed to clip just 1 /5th sec. off her time. He thus won the cup for the fastest 1,500 c.c. sports car.
Van der Becke has extracted an amazing speed from his ” special,” consisting of a very modified Wolseley Ten engine, supercharged, it a hybrid chassis with a touch of G.N. about it. He put up 45 secs., the fastest time up to then.
R. J. G. Nash on the famous Terror had it running perfectly, and shot up the hill at terrific speed. He handled his’car beautifully, and reduced the best time so far to 44 secs. His acceleration, aided by his twin rear tyres, was incredible, and the car was very steady.
Rather wild exhibitions by Gold (Bugatti) and Cavendish (Aston-Martin), and good climbs by T. H. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash) and Newsome (Lea-Francis) brought us to the 2-litre class. Earl Howe led off with his Alfa, followed by some very fast Bugattis, of which Carr was the quickest. SpOttis “
woode and Fothringham were also good.
Zanelli and Tort, in their 3-litre Pescaras, were very impressive indeed. Very fast, they were wonderfully steady and their speed on the corner most deceptive, as they skidded hardly at all, and yet were at the absolute limit. Zanelli returned 45 secs. and Tort 45 3/5th sees.
Among the later climbs one of the most competent was that of Brig.-Gen. L. W. de V. Sadlier-Jackson, who drove as if the whole affair was the most ordinary show in the world, and his Bugatti’s time was 53 4/5th sees on his best run;—very good for a 4-seater model.
Raymond Mays was not ready—he seldom is—so his climb was held over, and the bigger classes produced the usual polished performance from E. R. Hall on his ” 44 ” Bentley, and some astonishing times by Whalley and Needham on Fords with O.H.V. engines. On his climb with a blown “44” which belched smoke and stopped, Hall reversed down to the bottom of the hill at a rousing speed with such calmness as to make this extremely ticklish evolution appear simple.
The Invictas were all good and steady, and Raymond Mays was the fastest in 49 4/5th sees., which won the 44-litre ‘class. Earl Howe was the star turn of the big cars, and his great Mercedes flew up to the corner at a terrific speed, the powerful brakes checking it at the last possible moment. His climb in 46 4/5th secs. was the fastest sports car of the day, and the
fastest car entered for one of this year’s international sports car races.
Second runs were allowed those whose first was better than I minute, except in the ” 850’s,” where 65 secs. qualified.
Nash made another wonderful climb and cut his time down to 43 2/5th secs., only 1 sec. outside Von Stuck’s record of last year. Raymond Mays got the Vauxhall Villiers supercharged special, etc., etc., to function at last, and made a very fine climb to the tune of the noisiest exhaust we have ever heard ! His time was 43 3/5th secs., only 1/5th off fastest time of the day.
The crowd waited breathless while he tried on his second run to beat his first effort, but without avail. and so Nash and his wonderful little 1i-litre were left victorious.
Davenport’s second run was another example of neat and determined driving, but he could not improve his time, and the second runs, with the exception of R. J. G. Nash, produced little incident or improvement.
The organisation was perfect, in the usual M.A.C. tradition, and favoured by perfect weather the event was a 100% success.
CARS UP TO 850 c.c.-Racing Cars-1, W. E. Harker (Austin-Villiers), 48 4/5th sees.; 2. E. F. Phillips (B.C. Special), 61 secs. Sports Cars-1, J. C. Elwes (Austin), 52 2/5th sees.; 2, B. G. Bailey (Austin), 61 3/5 secs. ; 3, A. P. Gletmy (Two-stroke Special), 95 secs. 851 TO 1,100 C.C.-Racing Cars-1, R. T. Horton (Horton Special), 48 3/5th sees; 2, H. C. Lones (Frazer Nash), 51 2/5th sees.; 3, W. Straight (Riley), 60 2/5th secs. Sports Cars-1, T. B. Wood (Riley), 56 3/5th sees.; 2, D. Burcher
(Riley), 57 secs. ; 3, W. Straight (Riley), 60 2/5th secs.
1,101 To 1,500 c.c.-Racing Cars-1, R. G. J. Nash (Frazer-Nash), 43 2/5th secs. ; 2, A. W. Van der Becke (Becke Special), 45 sees.; 3, B. H. Davenport Spider), 46 1/5th secs. Sports Cars–1, T. H. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash), 49 4/5th secs 2, S. H. Newsome (Lea-Francis), 54 2/5th secs. ; 3, T. N. Gold (Bugatti), 58 3/5th secs.
1,501 To 2,000 c.c.-Racing Cars-1, N. A. Carr (Bugatti), 44 sees.; 2, A. N. Spottiswoode (Bugatti), 47 2/5th sees.; 3, T. S. Fothringham (Bugatti), 51 4/5th secs. Sports Cars-1, The Earl Howe (Alfa-Romeo), 52 sees.; 2, F. Hallam (Lagonda), 57 3/5th secs.
2,001 To 3,000 c.c.-Racing Cars-1, R. Mays (Villiers Supercharge), 43 3/5th sees.; 2, J. Zanelli (Nacional Pescara), 44 2/7th sees.; 3, E. Tort (Nacional Pescara), 45 3/5th secs. Sports Cars-1, R. Way (Rover), 61 3/5th sees.; 2, N. S. Robbins (M.G.), 66 3/5th sees.; 3, G. Warburton (M.G.), 85 2/5th secs.
3,001 TO 4,500 c.c.-Racing Cars-1, R. Mays (Invicta), 49 4/5th sees.; 2, E. R. Hall (Bentley), 50 2/5th secs. ; 3, A. H. L. Eccles (Invicta), 53 4/5th secs. Sports Cars-1, R. Mays (Invicta), 494/5th secs. ; 2, E. R. Hall (Bentley) and J. Chilton (Invicta), 50 2/5th secs. ; 4, H. A. I,. Eccles (Invicta), 53 4/5th secs.
4,501 c.c. A/W OVER.-Racing Cars-1, The Earl Howe (Mercedis-Benz), 46 4/5th secs. Sports Cars-The Earl Howe (Merced: s-Benz), 46 4/5th sees.; 2, B. U. Marsh (Merceths-Benz), 55 secs.
THE SHELSLEY INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CUP AND £105 (for the fastest time of day).-R. G. J. Nash (FrazerNash).
THE M.A.C. BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP Cu AND £25 (for the fastest time by a British sports car).-T. H. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash) and R. Mays (Invicta) tied.
THE M.A.C.” T.T. “Cup (for the fastest time by a car and driver, driven or entered in any of the events on the 1931 International Calendar).-The Earl Howe (Mere.: des-Benz) .
THE M.A.C. OPEN CUP (for the best aggregate time on the runs).-R. Mays (Villiers Supercharge).
THE C.P. TYPE CHALLENGE CUP (for the best time by a sports car up to 1,500 c.c.) -T. H. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash).
THE GARVAGH CHALLENGE CUP (for the best time by a four-seater sports car).The Earl Howe (Mercedes-Benz).