The July issue of the Monthly Review contains a good report of the County Down Trophy Race from various aspects together with several very excellent photographs. Those who were at the race and have not seen a copy should write for one—we can find no price on the cover, but no doubt club funds are open to fortification! The story of the teddy-bear that never looked other than straight to its front, recounted by the club’s woman correspondent, has duly brightened the editorial outlook, and it is interesting to know that Miss Wright found that the light of her life had temporarily gone out when she had to put a big “R” after Charlie Dodson’s number. As we have remarked previously, club journals provide stimulating reading.
The Knock All-Night Trial attracted over thirty car entries, and the lightcar class was won by A. P. Hill (Hillman Aero Minx), who wins the J. C. Holland Cup and Miniature, while amongst the bigger stuff Miss D. Coates (S.S.) scored, winning the Sidney Hanna Vase and Miniature. The Ulster A.C. seems to comprise an efficiently run body of happy sporting motorists. Their road races, in particular, are excellent. The secretarial address is: 65, Chichester Street, Belfast.
Mid-Surrey Automobile Club
A very successful gymkhana was organised by Michael May and crew on Sunday, July 12th, at Moushill Manor, by kind permission of Mks. Kinglake.
A. C. Fairtlough, through the medium of skill and his familiar A.C. Ace, won the musical chairs, egg and spoon, balloon bursting, and obstacle events. They used to name him “Andrew-what-a-secretary Fairtlough” at Cambridge, you remember, and he certainly displayed adaptability at Moushill. F. M. Shephery and Miss Morel persuaded their M.G.s to win the towing race, Miss Willcocks was in the news because her M.G. won the pilot race and took three second places. D. A. Webb (Vauxhall) won the hill-climb, and A. J. Brandt (A.C.) the mystic event.
Hon. Sec.: Carson Allman. 21-22, Walbrook, E.C.4.
Bugatti Owners’ Club
The Monte-Honiton-Carlo Rally resulted in a win for K. W. Bear (3.3-litre Bugatti) who climbed the hill in 38.15 secs. after driving to Honiton from London via Inverness. A dozen cars, most of them from far afield, arrived at Honiton, and second place went to Miss Enid Fawcett’s 3.3-litre Bugatti. C. W. P. Hampton (2.3-litre Bugatti, S.) was third.
The speed hill-climb scheduled for June 20th was cancelled owing to difficulties in connection with the Dancer’s End course—the first event to be cancelled since the club came into being in 1929. The usual Lewes meeting is due to take place on August 15th.
The July issue Of “Bugantics,” beautifully produced as usual, contains No. 15 of W. Boddy’s special Bugatti type series, this instalment dealing with the L.M.B. Bugatti that R. J. B. Seaman drove at Brooklands on Whit-Monday; K. W. Bear’s impression of winning the Honiton Rally with a special “3.3” Bugatti after a drive of some 1,250 miles in about forty-eight hours; J. Lemon Burton’s contribution to the “Bugattis I have owned” series; and the “Pelmore Papers,” wherein prominent Bugatti enthusiasts reply to Mr. Pelmore’s announcement that old-school Bentleys inspire him whereas a Bug. does not.
Five new members were elected recently. On Sunday, July 12th, an amusing revival of the Rag Gymkhana was staged at Barnet Speedway, and was an enjoyable event in spite of the adverse re-action of the weather clerk. K. W. Bear (Bugatti) was the most skilful in landing potatoes in buckets from a moving motor-car. The towing race went to N. S. Brockelbank (Alfa-Romeo) towing R. L. Duller’s Ford V8. In the parking competition B. Richardson, driving one of the Candidi Singer Nines, took only 25 4/5 secs. D. Robinson certainly deserved second place, getting through the obstacles in 30 4/5 secs. in a Morris 8 saloon. A. Dubar’s G.P. Bugatti was third in 31 4/5 secs., Mr. Gardner’s Standard took 40 4/5 secs., W. Boddy’s L.M.B. Austin 7 saloon 41 secs., including a reverse to re-cross a mark line, and Birkett’s Lamba Lancia 41 secs. also, though it was disqualified. Brockelbank’s Alfa-Romeo needed 47 2/5 secs., Mr. Miller’s Austin 7 saloon 52 2/5 secs., and a disqualification, and J. S. Steele’s 14/40 Delage took 55 3/5 secs.
Richardson won the tent-pegging contest and Duller a very exciting obstacle race, a very wet and consistently brave Miss Stewart coming in second on a man’s bicycle of early vintage. Duller drove a Ford and Miss Stewart a Bugatti—with feet tied up. Dubar’s Bugatti scored in the musical-chairs event after some high-speed lapping in company with Richardson’s Singer. Bear won a relay race in which girl friends figured as “batons,” and Miss Stewart was second. Nobody wanted to play in the ladies’ shopping race, but a one-lap scratch bicycle race allowed Mr. Bethel to show his paces.
Hon Sec.: Eric Giles, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair, W.1. Mayfair 4701.
R. de Yarburgh Bateson, B.A., you will remember as a determined pilot of an interesting A.C. six in Cambridge University A.C. and other trials.
He has now exchanged the A.C. in favour of an L.M.B. Epoch—which is a Ford Ten tourer with independent front suspension and a Marshall supercharger, etc. Bateson is having some additional extras tacked on and has expressed his satisfaction with L.M.B. springing and L.M.B. service.
The writer of these notes was vastly pleased to read some more “Baladeur” on the subject of Veteran Types, in the July issue of this journal. You see, I well remember the article “Where are the Veterans?” which prompted me to write some enthusiastic letters to “Baladeur” telling him of the whereabouts of veteran racing cars, asking in return only that I might ride with him when he had negotiated with their owners. Alas, it was never to be, for elderly motor-cars are invariably largely in pieces, and hardly ever are they taxed, let alone insured. For all that, I enquired for Motor Sport impatiently at the book-stalls each month and read with reverence and awe every single “Baladeur” instalment. Since then I have myself more than once slipped back for a time into a sterner age, and as a result have penned a few thousand words about the veterans, unashamedly stealing the “Baladeur” title “Veteran Types.” All of which makes me very keen to see a rally arranged to attract owners of 1906-1920 veterans.
The Vintage Sports Car Club deserves, and has received, the very warmest congratulations, for providing a category for real veterans at its speed trials, which should gain increasing support in the future. But the fact remains, to my mind at any rate, that speed trials are apt to encourage those people who fit modern bits and bobs to historic veterans, and at the same time fail to attract those who have qualms about the rear axles and transmissions of their valued old motors. Now surely a rally would attract more than four veterans, and provide heaps of fun and amusement. The R.A.C. would, I believe, readily gives its consent if no minimum average speed were imposed, and all that really would be wanted would be somewhere at which hungry mortals could park their cars and feed. I doubt if a prize would be necessary, or any checks or divers complications. I am enthusiastic enough to visualise owners of motors of a sterner age rising eagerly in the a.m. and setting forth for a distant venue with oil-smoke and adventure in their wake. I have done it myself, when Shelsley was the object and Marcus Chambers’ 1907 Renault the motor, and if we were some nine hours on the road I have never enjoyed a run more, before or since. And some reward for the drive would be provided in the case of a veteran’s rally by reason of the interesting collection of cars that should assemble. Here I would make the point that adventure, as such, may be sought by attempting a lengthy journey in, say, an early small car, or a modern car with something amiss with its machinery (such as Edinburgh to London with seven big-ends in an eight-cylinder motor!). The real veteran provides very material pleasure in addition, for the untamed beat of an immense power-unit, kept to its task by carefully controlled oil drips, the gale of wind over a massive bonnet, and, perhaps, the rattle of chains on the overrun, are characteristics that are unequalled by any present-day phase of motoring. Yes, I believe that there are quite a dozen mortals who would give a veteran’s rally their support. Yet, curiously, I have so far failed to interest any club in the project. But if any body of enthusiasts does feel the scheme to be good, I would gladly help with organisation. You can get at me via Motor Sport—the Club News scribe. And I think “Baladeur,” if he would, should be on any committee formed for such a purpose. Charles Jarrott wrote of long avenues of trees, top-heavy with foliage, and gaunt in their very nakedness of trunk; a long, never-ending white ribbon, stretching away to the horizon… English roads are very different but even so it should be possible to provide some adventure and pleasure thereon for those who still drive real motor-cars, by asking them to cover 130 miles or so between day-break and lunch. If you consider this suggestion bad you must blame the magic of “Baladeur’s” pen and perhaps the owner of a certain very elderly touring car—make regrettably unknown—whom I saw yesterday devouring the Reading road at a speed quite beyond the capabilities of his car’s snubbers. A stirring sight, my masters! Perhaps it has carried me away! And on the subject of old masters, not long ago when motoring an L.M.B.-Austin 7 to a Devon trials centre I spied a four-seater of about 1903 vintage, apparently discarded and at the mercy of the elements, standing outside a farm between Taunton and Milverton. First man there will probably get the prize!
Continuing to think of longish journeys undertaken just for fun, how, I wonder, do you get to distant motoring events, and can you, casting about in the recesses of your memory, recall any adventures in connection therewith?
The classic Midland meetings––Shelsley and Donington—involve London enthusiasts in an early start, and some 250 miles of hard driving before they reach home again. Apart from that glorious journey to Shelsley with Chambers; on his 1907 Renault, I recall a run to the September meeting when, doubting the soundness of bearings and tyres of the 14/40 Delage that we had intended to use, a party of six undertook the trip in a Morris Eight and a Morris Ten. There was some delay at the start, because the crew of the Eight were fast asleep indoors when those in the Ten arrived, and when the armchair wallahs did awake they had much difficulty in arousing the others who, in turn, were at peace with the world in their car outside! But we got going at last and drove to such purpose that the wee Morris seized up twice on the way.
Then there was the sudden decision, on a dull Saturday afternoon, to marshal a speed hill-climb at Honiton, and the subsequent start at 2 a.m. on the Sunday. We returned in brilliant sunshine, tired and unshaven, and it was well worth doing, though the car was an ordinary Singer Eighteen saloon.
Another marshalling job in a trial down in the West Country terminated in a fast night run home, vastly improved because the Bentley’s radio dispersed dance tunes from Vienna and the driver knew his job. I remember going up to Malvern and back in a day, occupying the “tonneau” of a very lively Frazer-Nash the whole way, so that impressions of the type pump and jack were left on my person for weeks afterwards.
A 3.3-litre Bugatti provided another very satisfactory journey to the West Country and back on official trials duties, and the Brescia Bugatti contributes reminiscences, including the day of a Lewes meeting when we had every imaginable difficulty going down, whereupon the car’s temperament underwent a complete change and the run home was terrific. Also the ditch-jumping episode in another Brescia, far from civilisation, at one o’clock in the morning. Curiously enough, an elderly Austin 7, with no tools aboard, and a flat spare tyre, has provided as much fun as anything, on a long drive to Devon to report a trial, and again when the writer set off alone in the a.m. bound for Bristol and the King’s Cup competitions. It is pleasant to reflect, now that we are in the midst of summer, on how we found ourselves and the Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. on the frozen putting tee of a private golf-course shortly after abandoning a certain night trial! And just recently, thanks to Mr. Windrum of Windrum and Garstin’s, another job of work resulted in the loan of a truly imposing 6 1/2-litre Bentley, the heavy fuel consumption of which was entirely compensated by the joys of cruising at 70 m.p.h. with plutocratic dignity, albeit the big Bentley responds to the controls and handles in a manner which belies its great size and satisfies the enthusiast to an extent not evident with other luxury cars. Yes, we were plutocrats for a day and worshippers of the “winged B” for all time.
Looking back is great fun, and have cast these miscellaneous motoring memories into print. I will point the moral, which is simply that even if you do not own a suitable motor for competition work there is still plenty of amusement to be had out of helping to run the show, derived from the pleasure of a really long drive, with that touch of adventure that results from having to be in a certain place at a certain time, together with some unique views of this beautiful country of ours that few of us sufficiently appreciate. I think club-men can be divided into two camps; those who are only happy when they are carrying competition numbers and those who seldom compete, but attend all the big meetings. I should say the fun is roughly equally divided, but the expenses differ to a considerable extent. Incidentally, those of you who have friends and mothers-in-law who regard all sporting motorists as very much beyond the pale, might retort that if we were really incurable night-birds we should not find so much enjoyment in arising at times in the a.m. to motor through the night. Rather it is a case of living normally all the week and possessing a love of good cars and not a little boyish enthusiasm that prompts those weirdly-dressed, unshaven, mortals to undertake those queer stunts.
Mention of the “winged-B” reminds me that Windrum and Garstin are converting an old 3-litre Bentley into a competition job for a client who was intrigued with Marcus Chambers’ special Bentley. As with his car, the chassis will be shortened to provide a 9 ft. 6 in. wheelbase and a 4 1/2-litre engine installed. This is interesting, because so often people evolve special cars with a view to building them to special order or in small batches, and the original model remains the only one of its kind. This is not the case with the Windrurn and Garstin special 4 1/2-litre Bentley, of which this second example will soon join the other car in the big trials.
Mrs. Garstin is now regularly using her open 8-litre Bentley and a short but exhilarating run in it was a wonderful experience, the equal of which I have only enjoyed on two occasions previously—once when I was taken for a hurricane ride north of London by a Mercedes-Benz demonstrator in a “36-220” and again when occupying the rear seat during a road test of the 3 1/2-litre Rolls-Bentley. Indeed, performance and magnificence allied to this degree are only found in cars costing four-figure sums, and to the ordinary mortal or club-man even a brief association with this class of car is an intriguing experience, for if your Midget or Magnette driver seldom motors behind five feet six of bonnet, at least, when he does he thoroughly appreciates the qualities, character and performance of the aristocrat.<
During July a very successful meeting was arranged to the E.R.A. works at Bourne, when on July 12th 50 members turned out to see how Britain’s premier 1 1/2-litre racing car is made, after which the directors of the company gave the enthusiastic party tea. At tea the 100th member was obtained, as Mrs. H. W. Cook joined up. Car badges are now ready, at 10/6 each and another bulletin was issued last month. S. C. H. Davis has consented to deliver a series of lectures on pit-control, in the near future. Earl Howe is president, and the vice-presidents are Mrs. K. Petre and Pat Fairfield. The club has already handed a substantial sum to E.R.A. Ltd.
Hon Sec.; A. F. Rivers-Fletcher, 25, Oakleigh Gardens, Whetstone, N.20.
Kent and Sussex L.C.C.
Another speed-trial meeting on the downs above Lewes, near Eastbourne, 50 miles from London, is scheduled for August 22nd, open also to Brighton, J.C.C., Bugatti Owners’, Frazer-Nash and M.G.C.C. club members. The meeting begins at 2.30 p.m. and the new Bachelier timing apparatus will be in use. There are the usual classes, regulations and awards, and entries, at 7/6 per entry to club members and 10/- each to invited dub members, close on August 17th. Full details from Mr. H. V. Warren, 51, Ringwood Road, Eastbourne. Phone No. 339.
Yorkshire Sports C.C.
Speed trials at Weatherby Grange attracted more than 3,000 onlookers, and resulted in fastest time being established by P. N. Whitehead (E.R.A.) and S. E. Cummings (Villiers Supercharged) who both returned a time of 30.6 secs. Miss K. Taylor (M.G.) put the women’s record to 38.6 secs. The course had a concrete surface to beyond the first bend. The later runs were made under dismal weather conditions.
Sports cars: 850 c.c. (unsupercharged): H. Prestwich (M.G.), 42.4s.
850 c.c. supercharged and 1,100 c.c. unsupercharged: R Craig (Austin, S.), 42.8s.
1,100 c.c. supercharged and 1 1/2-litre unsupercharged: G. Bagratouni (M.G.), 37.4s.
1 1/2-litre supercharged and 3-litre unsupercharged: Miss Joan Richmond (Triumph, S.), 39.4s.
3-litre supercharged and 5-litre unsupercharged: J. K. Whittaker (Railton), 34.4s.
Racing cars: 850 c.c. supercharged and 1 1/2-litre unsupercharged: E. J. Moor (G.N. “Wasp”), 31.8s.
1 1/2-litre supercharged and 3-litre unsupercharged: P. N. Whitehead (E.R.A., S.), 30.6s.
5-litre supercharged and unsupercharged: S. E. Cummings (Villiers Supercharged, S.), 30.6s.
Vintage Sports C.C.
A 1/3-mile course in parkland surroundings was the scene of speed trials on July 11th at Bramshill near Hartley Wintney, Hants. In spite of rain a good meeting resulted. Interest attaches to the pre-1915 entries which included Eric Giles’ 1914 5-litre chain-driven Bugatti “Black Bess,” a 1911 Rolls-Royce break-down lorry, Clutton’s 1908 12-litre Itala four-seater, E. K. H. Karslake’s 1908 single-cylinder Sizaire-Naudin, Mrs. S. Darbishire’s racing bodied, 6.1-litre 50 Merc., and a 1904 Darracq. The fastest veteran was Clutton’s Itala (25.9 secs.). The best lady was Mrs. Garstin (8-litre Bentley) in 23.4 secs. and N. S. Brockelbank (Bugatti) established fastest time of the day in 20.0 secs.
1,100 c.c. racing cars: Dennis Evans (M.G.) 20.4s.
1,100 c.c.––1 1/2-litre racing cars: A. Baton (Bugatti) 21s.
1 1/2-litre––3-litre: N. S. Brockelbank (Bugatti) 20s.
Unlimited racing cars: F. B. G. Spikins (Hudson) 21.3s.
Up to 1 1/2-litre sports cars: Ivo Peters (Frazer-Nash) 23.6s.
1 1/2-litre––3-litre sports cars : C. G. Fitt (Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.) 23.8s.
Unlimited sports cars: T. B. Plowman (30/98 Vauxhall) 24.4s.
Veterans: C. Clutton (190S Itala) 25.9s.
Ladies: Mrs L. Garstin (Bentley) 23.4s.
Handicap: A. S. Whiddington (Frazer-Nash)
Carson Award for Best 30/98 Vauxhall: T. H. Plowman, 24.4s.
Best Vintage S. C.C. Member: R. A. C. Sumner (Sumner J.A.P.) 20.6s.
The times collectively are very impressive.
Regulations are now out for the classic Craigantlet Hill-climb due to be run off on August 29th.
The course comprises a road with seven bends, some of them acute, and an average gradient of 1 in 16.6, the steepest portion being 1 in 14.4––so that speed will not be restricted to any extent by nature.
There are classes for sports and racing cars up to unlimited capacity, sports cars up to 1 1/2-litres having special classes for novices. The racing classes––in which blown sports ears will run––are divided into, up to 1,100 c.c. and unlimited capacity categories. There is a also a handicap class. Entry fees are 15/- per class for members of the Ulster Automobile Club, which is responsible for the event, and 20/- per class to non-members. There is a handsome cup or trophy available for each class winner.