Hants & Berks M.C. Speed Trial

Wharton beats the big cars 

This event, graced by perfect weather and impeccably organised, was held at Neil Gardiner’s Burghfield Common estate on July 25th. The course, embracing five banked corners, had been lengthened since 1947 to make it a full quarter-mile. Few drivers were able to get out of second gear, but the faster cars averaged over 37 m.p.h.  Interesting cars included Browne’s Standard V8-engined M.G., Hobbs’ lowered “K3” M.G., the Chrysler-base Cripps Special, and a 90 b.h.p., 12 cwt., single-seater Rover built by P. M. Wilks, son of the Rover director, and C. S. King, the basis being an experimental 1,595-c.c. version of the 1948 Rover with the new engine and coil  spring i.f.s.;  rear suspension is 1/4-elliptic and rear brakes are dispensed with.  Bradnack’s Frazer Nash threw a smoking clutch lining into the public enclosure during practice, and was a non-starter.

Wharton’s Wharton-Special, beautifully crisp and fearlessly handled, made f.t.d. in 23.34 sec., beating Stirling Moss (23.46 sec.), who drove absolutely superbly, getting into third gear in his Cooper 500, which was using Prescott ratios. Norris’ Norris-Special was third fastest, in 23.86 sec., and G. Ansell’s E.R.A., only able to momentarily employ second gear on this course, clocked 24.24 sec.

Leslie Allard made fastest sports-car time, his acceleration immense, beating Burgess’ Allard and Leonard’s astonishing M.G. Onslow Bartlett, fastest in 1947, was slower this time, in spite of his famous anti-roll cornering, and he was beaten by Bremner’s neatly-handled Alfa Romeo. Many drivers had “moments,” but the only car to disturb the straw bales and mount a bank was Matthews’ Jaguar. Brandon was second in the 500-c:c. class, but broke a final-drive joint on his second run;  Coldham’s Cooper broke its timing chain and Saunders’ Cooper its gearbox. The Attenborough-Special and Tooley’s Riley-G.N. broke chains. Strang, a “typewritercover” over his engine, was third fastest of the 500s. Buckler’s unblown Ford Ten Special, now with divided-axle i.f.s., beat the blown Orlebar-Ford Special, Newton’s H.R.G. winning this class from Ruddock’s Frazer Nash. In the smallest sports-car class Gibbs’ 1931-type Riley Nine Special, with 11-1/2  to 1 compression ratio, gave best to the M.G.s  of Lester and Taylor.

Results (times in seconds)

Sports Cars up to 1,100 c.c  non-supercharged 

1st. H.Lester (M.G.) … 25.65 

2nd. G. P. Taylor (M.G.) … 26.61 

3rd.  L. E. Gibbs (Riley) … 27.1

Sports Cars 1,101-1,500 c.c. non-supercharged

1st.  E. J. Newton (H.R.G.) … 25.5

2nd. G. A. Ruddock (Frazer Nash) … 26.19 

3rd.  C. D. F. Buckler (Buckler) … 26.22.

Sports Cars 1,501-3,000 c.c., non-supercharged; 1,101-1500 c.c supercharged.

 1st. L. Leonard (M.G., s/c) … 25.02 

2nd.  T. A. D. Crook (B.M.W.) … 25.19 

3rd.   R. Way (B.M.W.) … 25.59

Sports Cars 3001 c.c. and over non-supercharged; 1,501 c.c and over supercharged

1st. T. L. Allard (Allard s/c) … 24.76 

2nd.  K. E. 0. Burgess (Allard s/c) … 24.86

3rd. J. I. Boemner (Alfa Romeo s/c) … 25.15

Racing Cars up to 500 c.c.

1st  S. Moss (Cooper) … 23.46 

2nd.  E. Brandon (Cooper) … 24.25 

3rd. C. H. Strang (Strang) … 24.4

Racing Cars 501-1,100 c.c. 

1st.  K. Wharton (Wharton, s/c) … 23.34  (f.t.d.)

2nd.  F. W. Kennington (M.G. s/c) … 24.82

3rd.  E. Brandon (M.G. s/c) … 25.31

Racing Cars 1,101-2,000 c.c

1st.  F. A. Norris (Norris-Special s/c) … 23.86 

2nd. G. E. Ansell (E.R.A. s/c) … 24.26 

3rd.  M. H. Christie (A.C.-Nash) … 24.50

Racing Cars over 2,000 c.c.

Only runner : E. Lloyd-Jones (Triangle-Skinner-Special) … 24.29