THE INTER VARSITY MUD-LARK. CAMBRIDGE WIN ANNUAL RELIABILITY TRIAL OVER SEVERE ROUTE.
THE C.U.A.C.’s attempt to make the Inter-Varsity Trial as difficult as possible met with admirable success, for not a single car suceeded in finishing with a clean sheet. A fine drizzle on the day of the event, after rain during the previous week, gave the hills a surface resembling the L.G.O.C.’s famous soft-soap skidding yard at Chiswick. Alms and Crowell were the chief stumbling blocks, and “Woolley and Wild” caused quite a spot of bother. The rest of the hills were fairly easy,
Maiden’s Grove being in surprisingly good condition, and just a bit too dry to be difficult. Conditions at the start were distinctly unpleasant, but the drizzling rain had lost some of its earlier persistence. The yard of the Crown Inn,
Marlow, whence the cars were dispatched on their 56 mile journey to Tying, presented a busy scene. All sorts and conditions of cars were entered by their enthusiastic owners, ranging from 0. Henri’s 1922 3 litre Bentley to G. J. W. Moncrieff’s 1933 J2 Midget. C. W. C. Gough turned up with a Morris Minor chassis, which the day before had been a saloon, and would be again after the Trial. On the entry sheet some of the cars were given additional descriptions, notably the ” Alpine ” M.G. Midget and the ” Targa Florio Replica” Itala (which was reputed to have been purchased by its owner for £4 from a scrap heap). Incidentally, the luckless individual responsible for this entry sheet has not yet learned that Hornets are Wolseleys, not 4′ Wolseys.”
Hill Number One (having a hearty respect for the Censor, we are unable to print its alleged name) caused little difficulty, the surface being gritty and hard under a thick carpet of leaves. A deep gully, running diagonally across the road, threw considerable strain on chassis if taken too fast. The door of Vickers’ Hornet Special flew open under this stress, and as the passenger lost his hat at the same moment, the crew were fully occupied for a moment or two. There being no failures to record here, we then went to Woolley and Wild, arriving in time to see Bic.kford’s Lancia come to a standstill on the further slope. Jack Robinson, who followed on a similar car, made a very good climb, wisely opening out half way down the descent,
and charging up the other side at speed, only changing into bottom on the last bit. He was succeeded by Oliver Bertram, who adopted the same tactics, but who nearly came into contact with the tree at the foot of the hill. Good climbs were also made by A. T. Gamble (Riley 9 saloon), J. H. Baldwin (3 litre Bentley) and H. Leith Ross (Hillman Wizard). The fastest climb we saw was made by R. B. Watson (Type 40 Bugatti) who took the dip of the hill at a rousing pace, both front wheels leaping into the air about a
foot. Then some large heavy cars arrived, and failed. Having pushed a couple with great effort to the top, we espied the Arrol-Aster in the distance, and beat a hasty retreat. Ucumunstuck was not living up to its name, so Alms was our next objective. The “notorious gradient was taking its toll ” as people love to say, but everyone was full of admiration of Thorpe’s climb on his ” Alpine ” M.G. Midgets One of the first to arrive, he drove quietly up the hill, although his passenger got out of his seat near the top and bumped up and down on the tail. Then followed a depressing sequence of failures, brightened momentarily by A. C. Fairtlough, who nearly got up on his Salmson, failing within a yard or two of the end of the Observed Section. Most cars climbed as far as the “cannons,” but a few got well beyond, notably Sutnner’s ” blown ” Austin, Vickers’ Hornet Special, Johnston’s Frazer Nash, Hopkins’ Frazer Nash, (three up), and Robinson’s Lancia. In the dickey of Goosens’ Ford two men were bouncing about for fun ; there came a big bump, and then there was one ! The
said passenger landed heavily, at about 20 m.p.h., but only received a shaking. Just when we were beginning to doubt whether anyone else would get up, PigeLeschallas appeared with his old 2 litre A..C., and made a model climb, which put many modern sports cars completely in the shade. Finally came Bertram, who made a luridly exhilarating ascent. The ” 30/98 ” charged up in grand style, taking most of the available road, but Bertram handled the car with great skill and determination. His three rear-seat passengers did not look very happy, but they retained an expression of frozen immobility even when the railings drew uncomfortably near. Maidens Grove was disappointing, there being only one or two failures ; the fastest climbs were probably those of D. G. Hopkins (Frazer Nash) and A. C. Fairtlough (Salmson). The timed ascent of Lewknor was likewise easy, but these two hills were only the calm before the storm, the latter consisting of Crowell
The chalk surface here had not the firmness of Maidens Grove, and the speed of cars was reduced by wheel-spin on the lower slope. By the time the slippery bit between the banks was reached the cars had not enough speed left to rush it, and if they succeeded in getting through here the long grind up the embankment stretch gradually sapped their power. Then came the soft, leafy mud in the wood at the top of the hill, where the wheels sank in six inches, and tired engines began to lose their “pep.” Altogether a very nasty proposition. !4CAppropriately enough the Cambridge Secretary, A. C. Fairtlough, was the first to surmount the bill under his own power, his handling of the Grand Sport Salm
son being very well-judged. But this good example was not followed by the remainder of the field, the majority of whom failed half way up. Much time was lost while competitors reversed slowly down the hill, and this delay was not helped by some rather belated signalling by the marshal at this point. This series of failures was broken by R. C. Vickers, who climbed steadily to the top on his Wolseley Hornet Special. His success was due to the careful use of a well tuned engine which gave plenty of smooth power at low speeds. Many gallant onslaughts on the hill were made. Robinson made a racing start on his Lancia, with cut-out open, but was baulked by Beaver (Alvis) who insisted upon being pushed to the top. The Lancia returned to the foot for another stab at the hill, but failed half way. In reversing the back wheels dropped into the ditch, but so smooth was the chalk that the front of the car was easily swung round, and Robinson was able to drive down in a forward direction. None of the Frazer Nashes
got up, although Hopkins and Watkins both reached the beginning of the wood. Bertram made a valiant effort on the
Vauxhall, but failed half way, where his back wheels dropped into the ditch.
Unluckily the car came to rest against a tough sapling, which required to be moved before the car could regain the road. The sapling proved to be extraordinarily flexible, and resisted the prolonged efforts of driver, passengers and onlookers to snap its trunk. When this wrestling match had been in progress for some time, the marshal at this point, who had observed the uneven contest the whole time, remarked that he had an axe in his car. . . .
Right at the end ” Pige ” appeared on the scene and climbed slowly, yet without a waver of hesitation, on his veteran A.C., thereby securing the distinction of being the only man to climb both Alms and Crowell. The sight must have been full of chagrin to many owners of snappy 1933 sports models.
Kimble Lane was in a particularly beastly state, the grey mud being a foot deep in parts. Two old Amilcars and a Riley failed, but for the rest it seemed rather a pointless way of getting one’s car unnecessarily muddy. Right at the end two extra deep puddles caused driver and passenger of small two seaters to leap into the air simultaneously, which looked rather amusing, for no sooner had they recovered from the first throw than the second was upon them.
By the time the last competitors reached Kimble Lane darkness was descending, largely owing to the long delay at Crowell. But now Tring was comfortingly near, and the last observed section on the Course, Hawridge Hill, was taken in most cars’ stride. Back on the main road once more, the ” Rose and Crown” was finally reached, everybody being hours late, but quite happy after suitable refuelling with sausages and bacon and eggs. Many were the tales told of adventures and difficulties encountered during the Trial, and two are worth recounting. Beaver’s Alvis ran out of water early in the trial, but by dint of using the oil in his auxiliary tank the engine was prevented from receiving violent damage. Incidentally, this car was used by the Alvis team for practising for the 1926 Essex Club’s Six Hour Race. Faulkner’s old Itala lost its sump drainplug on a rock, and was driven some way
on. a cup-full of oil ! H.N.
(Results continued on page 89).
INTER-VARSITY RESULTS. The following are the results of the Inter-Varsity trial held last Saturday, November 12th :—
Cambridge, 56.8; Oxford, 30.6 (figure of merit).
Best Performance : Tie between A. C. Fairtlough (Salmson C.) and J. G. Pige-Leschallns (2-litre A.C. C.). Veterans’ Cup : J. G. Pige-Leschallas (A.C.).
May Cup (best undergraduate) : A. C. Fairtlough (Salmson C.). Falkner Cup (best 850 c.c. car) : T. A. W. Thorpe (M.G. Midget C.). Fairtlough Cap (best 1,500 c.c. car) : A. C. Fairtlough (Salmson C.). Maw Cup (best unlimited c.c. car) : 0. H. J. Bertram (30-98 Vauxhall C.).
Team Prize : C.U.A.C. Students’ team—T. A. W. Thorpe (M.;. Midget), A. C. Ilairtlough (Salmson), and R. W. Johnston (Frazer-Nash). First Class Awards (in order of merits) : J. G. Pige-Leschallas (A.C.), and A. C. Fairtlough (Salmson)—tie ; T. A. W. Thorpe (M.G. Midget), 0. H. J. Bertram (Vauxhall), J. M. Kenion (Wolseley Hornet) and D. M. McQueen (M.G. Magna)—tie; D. 0. Hopkins (Frazer-Nash), J. A. Robinson (Lane.),
E. C. H. Goossens (Ford), G. J. W. Moncrieff (M.G. Midget), G. B. C. Sumner (Austin S., 0.), L. ButlerHenderson (Frazer-Nash), R. M. Mere (M.G. Magna 0.), J. B. Carver (M.G. Midget), B. T. Ails-man (Morris Minor 0.), 12. E. Tongue (Riley 0.), R. C.
Vickers (McEvoy Wolseley Hornet Special), C. W. ‘ Gough (Morris Minor), R. W. Johnston (FrazerNash), E. J. Kehoe (Morris Minor).
Second Class Awards: 3. H. Baldwin (Bentley), R. C. Porter (Riley), R. Bickford (Lancia), A. T. Gamble (Riley), H. Leith Ross (Hillman 0.), A. E. Scroggs (Trojan 0.).
No Award : G. H. C. Jones (Amilcar), T. A. Frazer (Amilcar), R. A. Beaver (Alvis), R. B. Watson (Bugatti), N. A. Watkins (Frazer-Nash 0.) — Brookhouse (Aniilcar 0.).
*All drivers ” Cambridge ” except where ” Oxford ” is indicated by “0.”