The VSCC at Shelsley Walsh

The Vintage SCC’s annual hillclimb at the famous MAC venue near Worcester took place in good “Wimbledon weather” on July 5th. It opened with a parade of pre-WW1 cars to commemorate the 75 years of Shelsley Walsh, which formed the sobject of a special article in last Month’s Motor Sport. Alvis owners also treated themselves to a special display, to celebrate the birth year of Alvis Limited 60 years ago. The parade was led after some delay by Mark Joseland, the MAC Secertary, driving Collings’ splendid 1903 Sixty Mercedes. The Mercedes was followed by eight other cars, but unfortunately the BL Heritage/Coventry museum 50 hp Yellow Daimler, representing EMC Instone’s first run in 1905, with his son Rupert Instone as one of the passengers, failed on the start-line with fuel feed problems. The other BL Heritage car, the 1908 GP Austin, had some difficulty getting away on its first attempt, and the 1908 GP Panhard-Levassor (see Motor Sport April 1980) was absent, having its faulty water pump rendered non-rotatable, while Rendall’s 1903 10/12 hp Renault was also absent.

However the 1908 GP Itala, a 1910 10/12 hp Allday, belonging to Capt MW Allday, whose uncle had entered one in 1905, the 1912 12/16 hp Sunbeam, which has ben in Mrs Bendall’s family since new, Spollon’s 1913 40/50 hp Rolls-Royce Ferguson Tourer, the Rowley 1913 25/50 hp Talbot, and Landless’ 1914 “Prince Henry” Vauxhall, representing Laurence Pomeroy’s associations with Shelsley Walsh via the 30/98, made a memorable, if patchy cavalcade.

Of the contest itself, there had been two incidents in practice. F Majzub’s type 35 Bugatti hit the bank when its throttle stuck open and was withdrawn with a suspected bent chassis, and the Djinn Special overturned, without much hurt to its driver JH Roberts. The Sixty Mercedes had broken the main leaf in its n/s front spring on its run up from Somerset, and although surgery with a tyre lever effected an excellent repair, caution deprived Joseland of a run in anger on it.

Space limitations preclude a detailed report, but the class winners and holders a new class records are given hereunder. Majzub junior made up for his father’s misfortune by winning his class in the Appleton Special, as forecast by Peter Hull, but it was Donald Day, making excellent starts, who vanquished Footit’s Cognac in the next category, by 1.1 sec in ERA R1B, and broke Moffatt’s record in ERA R3E, by 0.3 sec. Footit was second, Black’s 8CM Maserati third, and Jonty Williamson clocked a stirring 42.1 sec on both runs in the 101/2-litre V12 Delage.

The final racing car class was for back-anchored early vitage machinery and the ever-exciting Edwardians. Parker’s crackling BHD won it, a fine memory of the Davenport days, from Benfield’s more consistant 200 mile Race Alvis. Of the Edwardians, they were placed in the order: Clutton (Itala) 49.9 sec,Walker (Panhard-Levassor) 52.8 sec, Neve (Humber) 54.4 sec. So ended this rather special Shelsley meeting, at which Michael Barker in the 38/25 SS Mecedes-Benz discreetly took 2.5 sec longer on his climb than Bob Roberts in his type 43 Bugatti (44.7 sec) but was the more consistant – both cars from the Midland Motor Museum of course – Rivers Fletcher clocked 50.2 sec on both his runs in the Avis, winning a personnal needle-match with DSJ in Robbie Hewitt’s 41/2-litre Lagonda team car by 1.6 sec, de Cadenet’s P3 Alfa Romeo managed 42.5 sec, and of the girls Miss Rainey (Alfa Romeo 6C 2300) did42.0 sec, beating her father by 0.2 sec. Bunty Clark in Moffatt’s type 35T Bugatti on beaded edge tyres, 4.5 sec, but Howard’s Sprts type 37A Bugatti, seized-up on its first run, and wasn’t seen again.  WB