The Scottish Hill-Climbs
Bo’ness (June 28th)
Some very fine climbs and eight class records broken were witnessed by an enthusiastic crowd of spectators at the Sixth International Speed Hill-Climb at Bo’ness on Saturday, June 28th last. It was a warm, sunny day, with a dry track, and spectators gay in summer attire. Highlight of the day was the magnificent driving of Ken Wharton, first in his Cooper when he made f.t.d., and again in his E.R.A.
The meeting started promptly at 2.30 p.m. with Class 1 (c) for supercharged sports cars. Hamish Wilson, who was the sole entrant in this class, drove his M.G. well, and managed in the second run to beat his own class record of last year by 0.8 sec., his time being 44.69 sec.
Class 2 (b). Sports Cars, 751 c.c. to 1,100 c.c., Non-s/c.
A. M. Calder in his Riley managed to beat his own class record of last year on both runs, the second run clipping 0.28 sec. off the record. Also in this class, Nigel Kennedy’s self-built Burdmonk made it first competition appearance. Its unusual name is made up in this ingenious way: BU ckler frame, FoRD gearbox, MOrris engine and Nigel Kennedy’s initials NK. On his second run, in spite of a certain amount of tail-waggling, he clocked in at 46.98 sec.
lst: A. M. Calder (Riley) 45.76 sec.
2nd: N.A. Kennedy (Burdmonk) 46.98 sec.
3rd: J. F. Borland (Lagonda-Rapier) 47.93 sec.
4th: J. W. Goodwin (Fiat) 48.01 sec.
Class 2 (c). Sports Cars, 751 c.c. to 1,100 c.c., S/c.
Only two entrants in this class made it a little dull and A. H. Craig in his M.G. Special was an easy winner.
1st: A. H. B. Craig (M.G. Special) 43.21 sec.
2nd: T. Blackburn (Lund Special) 48.20 sec.
Class 3 (b). Sports Cars, 1,101 c.c. to 1,500 c.c., Non-s/c.
Ian Hopper in his Hopper Special was unable to beat his own record but made fastest time, although J. N. Lawrence in a Cooper-M.G. was only 0.63 sec. behind.
1st: Ian Hopper (Hopper Special) 42.15 sec.
2nd: J. N. Lawrence (Cooper-M.G.) 42.78 sec.
3rd: Gavin S. Scott (H.R.G.) 44.45 sec.
4th: N. T. Lithgow (H.R.G.) 45.51 sec.
Class 3 (c). Sports Cars, 1,101 c.c. to 1,500 c.c., S/c.
Another record was broken in this class by Ted Lund in his M.G.
1st: Ted Lund (M.G.) 42.62 sec.
2nd: G. A. D. Hammond (Dellow) 47.98 sec.
Class 4 (b). Sports Cars, 1,501 c.c. to 2,000 c.c., Non-s/c.
J. H. Walton in a Frazer-Nash was outstanding among the sports car drivers, and he beat his last year’s record for the class on both climbs; J. D. L. Melvin in another Frazer-Nash also made good time, being only 2 sec. behind. John McCubbin in his Jackal, made by himself, clipped a second off his time — as this happens each year, how many years before he wins his class?
1st: J. H. Walton (Frazer-Nash) 37.66 sec.*
2nd: J. D. L. Melvin (Frazer-Nash) 39.81 sec.~
3rd: John McGubbin (Jackal) 45.39 sec.
* F.T.D. by sports car entered and driven by a member of the club.
~ Class award.
Class 5 (b). Sports Cars, 2,001 c.c. to 3,000 c.c., Non,s/c.
J. R. Stewart with the Silverstone Healey beat his own class record on both climbs, which were most capably performed, and was seconds ahead of the other competitors.
1st: J. R. Stewart (Healey) 41.71 sec.
2nd: W. G. G. Brand (Healey) 44.61 sec.
3rd: C. R. G. Robertson (Morgan) 46.65 sec.
4th: W. S. R. Ewing (Talbot) 47.01 sec.
Class 6 (b). Sports Cars, 3,001 c.c. and Over, Non-s/c.
It was in this class that the first of the two accidents occurred which cast a shadow over the rest of the meeting. Ian Struthers, who usually drives a Bentley, was making his first climb in H. W. Whyte’s new Allard. He entered the Snake Bend at a very high speed and the off-side front wheel struck the bank and wrenched the steering wheel from his grasp. The car mounted the bank, turned slowly over and crashed on its off side on the near side of the road. Although in this case earlier medical attention would have made no difference, it is regrettable to report that many, many minutes elapsed before a stretcher party appeared on the scene, and it must have been quite a quarter of an hour before the ambulance arrived. The Snake Bend can be the most dangerous part of the course and we know will be more adequately covered in case of emergency in the future.
F. S. Mort in a Jaguar made the best time in this class, and Mrs. Sylvia Black, driving the same car, made very good time on her second run, clocking in at 43.31 sec.– a good performance for first competition appearance, and she gained the award of f.t.d. by a lady member of the club.
1st: F. S. Mort (Jaguar) 41.27 sec.
2nd: J. Neilson (Jaguar) 41.60 sec.
3rd: P. Denham-Cookes 42.46 sec.
4th: Mrs. Sylvia Black (Jaguar) 43.31 sec.
Class 7. Vintage Cars
Outstanding in this class was Pat Melville, who drove the old Vauxhall with brilliant precision to break his own class record.
1st: W. P. S. Melville (Vauxhall) 43.12 sec.
2nd: J. Gordon Lockhard 44.17 sec.
3rd: F. S. Stang (Lea-Francis) 45.44 sec.
4th: H. Pelham Burn (Alfa-Romeo) 45.92 sec.
Class 3 (a). Racing Cars, 1,101 c.c. to 1,500 c.c.
Ron Flockhart made best time in an E.R.A. but was not able to break the class record set up by David Hampshire, also in an E.R.A., in 1949. For his performance in this class he received an award for the fastest Scot.
It was in this class that the second serious accident of the day took place. Doctor Chassels, who was driving J. M. Hendry’s Frazer-Nash, also took the Snake Bend at very high speed, and crashed at practically the same point as Ian Struthers. The car was very badly damaged, but fortunately Doctor Chassels himself was not too badly hurt, and when last we heard was making a good recovery. In this case the ambulance was on the spot immediately.
1st: Ron Flockhart (E.R.A.) 37.21 sec.
2nd: A.W. Birrell (E.R.A.) 38.61 sec.
3rd: Noel Bean (Lea-Francis) 48.23 sec.
4th: Dr. J. M. Hendry (Frazer-Nash) 50.81 sec.
Class Zero. Racing Cars up to 500 c.c.
Ninian Sanderson in a Cooper made two excellent climbs and managed to clip 0.5 sec. off the record he set up in September last. Alex McGlashan came a good second on his first climb timing, but made spectators gasp when, on his second run up, he hit the banking on Snake Bend. Fortunately this time all went well and he finished with a damaged car.
1st: Ninian Sanderson (Cooper) 37.80 sec.
2nd: Alex McGlashan (Cooper) 40.22 sec.
3rd: D. P. B. Prosser (Cooper) 40.31 sec.
4th: J. Baird Smith (Cooper) 40.78 sec.
Class 2 (a). Racing Cars, 751 c.c. to 1,100 c.c.
Ken Wharton’s superb handling of his Cooper was a thrill to watch front start to finish, and enabled him to break his own record of last year by 0.1 sec. and gain the award for f.t.d. Bob Haddow, who was last year’s Trophy holder, drove well in his Cooper but was well behind Ken Wharton’s time.
1st: Ken Wharton (Cooper) 34.50 sec.
2nd: R.T. Bedow (Cooper) 38.32 sec.
3rd: J. H. White (Mackay) 40.10 sec.
Class 4 (a). Racing Cars, 1,501 c.c. to 2,000 c.c.
Here again we had an exhibition of masterly driving by Ken Wharton with the 2-litre E.R.A., although he was slightly slower in this than the Cooper. Raymond Fielding in a Bugatti obtained a class award when on his first climb he clocked in at 40.80 sec., and Mrs. Doreen Fielding, in the same car, made two neat ascents in reasonable time.
1st: Ken Wharton (E.R.A.) 35.01 sec.
2nd: Raymond Fielding (Bugatti) 40.80 sec.
3rd: Mrs. Doreen Fielding (Bugatti) 45.09 sec.
Class 5 (a). Racing Cars, 2,001 c.c. to 3,000 c.c.
The only entrant in this class was J. P. Stebberfield in his Bugatti, and he made best time on his first run up, clocking in at 48.85 sec.
Class 6 (a). Racing Cars, 3,001 c.c. and Over
This was the last and, I suppose, the most exciting climb for the onlookers waiting to see whether Dennis Poore would capture the coveted points towards the 1952 Hill-Climb Championship. On his first run he clocked in at 35.90 sec., two seconds behind his own course record. On his second run it looked as though he might just beat Ken Wharton’s 34.50 sec., but he braked rather hard at Snake Bend and was just 0.15 sec. behind, but gained second f.t.d.
1st: Dennis Poore (Alfa-Romeo) 34.65 sec.
Rest And Be Thankful (July 5th)
The magnificent scenery at Rest and be Thankful looked at its best on Saturday July 5th, when the R.S.A.C. held its International Open Speed Hill-Climb. There can surely be no more beautiful spot than this on a brilliant summer day (how very different from last July when all were drenched). Scenery, weather, excellent hill climbing and pleasant companions combined to make a perfect afternoon. The organization was excellent in every way. Stewards and police were most helpful. There was a Medical Officer in attendance and a first aid tent with orderlies and a bevy of attractive nurses ready for emergencies, which fortunately did not arise. The Hillside is a natural grand stand, and it is quite easy to see the whole of the climb from start to finish. Some enterprising spectators climbed nearly to the top of Cobblers, which made it rather hard work for the programme sellers. The three danger spots on this course which is 1,425 yards long, and rises over 400 feet, are Stone Bridge, Cobblers Corner and the hairpin bend at the finish and of course there is always the occasional sheep that has to be driven off the road. Ken Wharton was again at the top of his form and made f.t.d. in his Cooper and second f.t.d. in the E.R. A. thus completing the double.
Class 1. Up to 500 c.c.
Alex McGlashan opened the meeting in his Cooper and came very near to breaking the class record. On his second run he did manage to do so, as did Don Williams, son of Eric Williams in his Emeryson on both runs, but Ninian Sanderson made best time and beat the class record by 3.43 sec. on his second run.
1st: Ninian Sanderson (Cooper) 60.96 sec.
2nd: Don Williams (Emeryson) 62.19 sec.
3rd: Alex McGlashan 63.67 sec.
4th: John E. Wilson (Kieft) 65.19 sec.
Class 2. 501 to 1,100 c.c., Non-s/c.
Cecil Heath the winner in this class gave two excellent performances in his Cooper. Unfortunately, Bob Haddow had a spot of engine trouble to begin with, but on his second climb was only 1.89 behind.
1st: Cecil Heath (Cooper) 62.94 sec.
2nd: R. T. Haddow (Cooper) 64.83 sec.
3rd: J. HI. White (Mackay) 67.95 sec.
4th: N. Kennedy ( Burdmonk) 72.36 sec.
Class 3. 501 to 1,100 c.c., S/c.
Once more Ken Wharton thrilled the crowd as he drove faultlessly over Stone Bridge round Cobblers and the Hairpin Bends to finish in 54.23 sec., a record for the course beating Dennis Poore’s 1951 f.t.d. by 2.09 sec.–a really splendid performance, for which he received a great ovation from the appreciative spectators. Bernard Bradnack in his Cooper made an excellent second climb when he clocked in at 58.94, thus making him fourth f.t.d.
1st: Ken Wharton (Cooper) 54.23 sec.
2nd: B. E. Bradnack (Cooper) 58.94 sec.
3rd: A. H. B. Craig (M.G. Special) 68.65 sec.
4th: R. J. Smith (Turner-M.G.) 71.97 sec.
Class 4. 1,101 to 1,500 c.c. Non-s/c.
This promised to be an exciting class as the Australian Hill-Climbing Champion Keith Martin was out to show us what Australia could do. Bad luck has dogged him since he has been over here and he was unable to compete at Bo’ness. It seems as if it is still following him for on his first attempt he only managed a few yards, and then had to free-wheel to the paddock, owing to the failure of the petrol pump. Before his second climb a local garage had supplied an electric pump and he started off like a rocket. At half-way he had practically equalled Ken Wharton’s time and it looked as if he was to live up to his name of lead-footed Martin. However, disaster came at Cobblers Corner when he skidded into and bent the white railings. Nothing daunted, however, he jumped out of his damaged car, and amid the cheers of the crowd finished the course on foot. He was rewarded by a very welcome cup of tea presented by two or three of the attractive nurses, which perhaps compensated in some measure for his disappointment. Ian Hopper the winner of this class gave a polished performance in his Hopper Special.
1st: Ian Hopper (Hopper Special) 66.72 sec.
2nd: W. Martin (Marilatti) 80.54 sec.
3rd: R. G. Mickel (Singer) 80.71 sec.
Class 5. 1,101 to 1,500 c.a. S/c.
Ron Flockhart in an E.R.A. broke the record in this class by no less than 10.94 sec. Freddy Stang’s Lea-Francis packed up on his second climb at Cobblers Corner and had to be pushed off the road.
1st: R. Flockhart (E.R.A.) 60.45 sec.
2nd: F. S. Stang (Lea Francis) 69.39 sec.
Class 6. 1,501 to 3,000 c.c. Non-s/c.
A new record was made in this class by James F. Gibbon in a Rover Special in which he made two excellent climbs.
1st: J. F. Gibbon (Rover Special) 62.24 sec.
2nd: J.R. Stewart (Healey Silverstone) 63.94 sec.
3rd: J. D. L. Melvin (Frazer-Nash) 63.98 sec.
4th: W. G. G. Brand (Healey Silverstone) 69.49 sec.
Class 7. 1,501 to 3,000 c.c. S/c.
Ken Wharton in Bell’s E.R.A. made the second f.t.d. with such complete control that it made the whole climb look ridiculously easy.
1st: Ken Wharton (E.R.A.) 56.14 sec.
2nd: P. J. Stubberfield (Bugatti) 64.87 sec.
Class 8. Over 3,000 c.c. Non-s/c.
James Neilson in a Jaguar XK120 was the winner in this class and he made two very competent climbs, and just a few seconds behind came G. P. Denham-Cookes also in a Jaguar. Pat Melville driving his beautifully kept Vauxhall, was as ever a joy to watch, and Major A. MacGregor Whitton in his white Topez leisurely drove up the hill.
1st: J. Neilson (Jaguar XK120) 63.89 sec.
2nd: G. P. Denham-Cookes (Jaguar XK120) 66.88 sec.
3rd: A. Moore (Allard) 67.02 sec.
4th: T. M. Tannahill (Jaguar XK120) 67.08 sec.
Class 9. Over 3,000 c.c. S/c.
As at Bo’ness, excitement was great as Dennis Poore tried to better Ken Wharton’s record-breaking run, but although on his second climb he beat his last year’s record by 0.11 sec., he couldn’t beat Ken Wharton’s times, who was left undisputed champion.
1st: Dennis Poore 56.21 sec.