WOMEN DRIVERS IN WALES

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36

WOMEN DRIVERS IN WALES FIVE COMPETITORS STILL IN THE RUNNING FOR W.A.S.A. WAKEFIELD TROPHY CONTEST

THE chief trials award for women drivers during the year is the Wakefield Trophy, presented to the Women’s Automobile and Sports Association by Lord Wakefield of Hythe. This is a most difficult competition, for three trials are held annually, and to remain eligible for the Trophy drivers must not Jose a single mark throughout the series. If no woman driver completes the three trials with a 100 per cent. performance, the Wakefield Trophy is not awarded. The recent Welsh trial of the W.A.S.A., to which men drivers were also invited, was the second of this year’s series, and as a result the interesting number of five drivers is now left in the running for the Trophy. These are Miss E. V. Watson (Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.), Mrs. H. Wood

(Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.), Miss E. M. Dobson (0.M.), Miss M. Wilby (Frazer-Nash), and Mrs. K. Hague (Riley). Last year at this stage all competitors had already been eliminated, owing to

bad weather on one of the events, and Miss Watson thus retained her place in the Welsh trial as No. 1 in the list of competitors, for she was the winner of the Wakefield Trophy in 1936. The W.A.S.A. event immediately followed the International Six Days Trial, and part of the arduous route in North Wales used by the motor-cyclists was scheduled for the women drivers. The trial started from Llangollen, and on the very first hill, Fron Bache, the International competitors had experienced a lot of trouble on the previous day. For tunately the weather was better for the W.A.S.A., but it was a creditable showing

that, with competition tyres banned—a feature of W.A.S.A. events for years, now endorsed by the R.A.C. manifesto—only two women drivers stopped on the steep, narrow climb. Then came an acceleration test on Allt-y-Bady, the famous hill close to Llangollen. It is now easier than in past years, for the surface is much improved, but cross gullies and a 1 in 31 gradient still present difficulties. The test, in which 20 yards had to be covered in a maximum of 7 secs., was not on the steepest part of the hill, and everyone fulfilled the required time, though Miss M. V. Milne with her Singer coupe only just managed it, taking Of sees. Best times were those of Mrs. H. Wood’s T.T. Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. (41 secs.). and Miss

E. V. Watson’s Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. and Mrs. K. Hague’s Riley (4f secs.). P. S. Hollings, however, one of the few men competitors, stopped with clutch slip on his Morris. After other hills whose principal difficulty lay in the pi-enunciation of their names, all the competitors stopped at a hill called Fron Heulog, but fortunately for them this debacle occurred on a steep

grassy stretch outside the observed section, where standard tyres, on a wet surface, were at a disadvantage. At the top of this hill, competitors had to turn round at the entrance to a farm and retrace their steps for a short distance. One did not turn, and, penetrating into unchartered country, asked the way

of a local inhabitant. The only word of English possessed by this worthy appeared to be “Nowhere ! “but this alone seemed so discouraging that the errant driver turned back. A delightful picnic lunch was held in pleasant sunshine at the foot of the next

hill, Blaen-y-Cym. A watersplash preceded the grassy slope, and the latter got steadily worse and worse, as water dripped off the cars. Thus, though Miss Watson climbed easily, holding the first number, Mrs. Hague experienced such wheelspin on the Riley that it seemed as though she must stop. She just managed to keep going, however, and remained in the running for the Trophy. Miss K. Taylor with her Lancia was not so fortunate, for though she made a good effort, wheelspin defeated her. R. F. Hield with his T-series M.G. also stopped, and thus none of the men competitors was left with a clean sheet. Miss Dobson’s four-seater O.M. went up well, a fine performance for a big car, and Miss Wilby’s Frazer-Nash, helped by its solid

axle, was also successful. Mrs. Wood with the T.T. B.M.W. had too much power, but managed to overcome wheelspin. Miss Mihie had experienced serious trouble with her Singer’s fuel supply, and only just managed to reach the lunch stop. Many competitors, less plucky, would have abandoned the attempt far earlier. Hollings’s clutch was still troubling him, and at Blaen-y-Cym the differential also failed, so he had to retire. He was carrying a spare, however, and by some miracle of engineering skill appeared later at the finish. Miss Bean (Morgan) failed at Blaen-y-Cym, and,

helping as a travelling marshal, got so late that, with her brakes also rather weak, she decided to retire rather than delay the event.

After lunch the route was easier, except for Blaen-y-Cym, but at Dol-yWern Miss Watson, when travelling well, had the fuel supply of her B.M.W. suddenly cut out, so that she stopped. Fortunately the regulations for the Wakefield Trophy only call for the ascent of five hills and success in the acceleration test, whereas six hills were actually listed in the route-card, in case one of them had to be cut out. Miss Watson, therefore, is lucky not to have been knocked out.

The final check was at the top of Allty-Gwernant, above Llangollen, with a glorious view over the valley. Following the check came a special test, to decide the destination of various trophies, apart from the Wakefield Trophy contest.

Drivers had to coast downhill, stop astride a line, reverse back, and accelerate over a final line. The gradient was not steep enough to cause overshooting, and some of the drivers carried out the reverse so adroitly that they had evidently practised assiduously.

Mrs. Hague was particularly clever, stopping with her Riley’s front wheels only just over the middle line, and thus having the minimum distance to reverse. Hers was the best time (17 secs.), which won her the Isabel Sander Trophy and replica, for best performance of the day. R. F. Hield with his M.G. was next best, taking 171 secs., and winning the Association Trophy for the best performance by a visitor. Miss Dobson again showed up well with the 0.3f., taking 19 secs., but Mrs. Wood’s time with the fast B.M.W. was spoilt by a gear jumping out. The team prize was not awarded, as no team finished complete.

RESULTt3 Isabel Bander Trophy : Mrs. K. Hague (Riley).

Isabel Bander Trophy : Mrs. K. Hague (Riley). Association Trophy : it. F. }held (M.0.).

Countess Howe Team Trophy : Not, awarded.

First-Class Awards : Miss E. V. Watecti (FrazerNaeb-B.M.W.), rs .11. ‘Wood (Frazer-Nash-B.11V.), Miss E. M. Dol: Fon (0.31.), Miss hi. iltly (FrazerNash), Mrs. K. Hague (Rilcy), R. F. Hield (M.G.).

THE PEOPLE’S CAR

When we wrote of Germany’s” People’s Car” last month we were misled into thinking that a large engine was being used by early news reports which gave the h.p. as rated at ’24. In actual fact, the engine is a 1.2-litre air-cooled fiat-four, a much more appropriate unit for an economy car. Presumably it develops about 24 b.h.p. We thank the many readers who have written pointing out this error.

JUBILEE

We hear that a feature of the Dunlop Jubilee Meeting at Brooklands on September 24th is very low entry fees and exceptionally good prize money. Apparently the meeting will comprise a series of races over the road circuit and it is said that in some instances a capacity limit of 1,900 c.c. is imposed, presumably to ensure that 11-litre E.R.A.s run in the higher capacity class.

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