IN running the Experts Trial last month the Mid-Surrey A.C. had the difficult task of finding hills severe enough to test even the most seasoned drivers and cars to the limit. The organisers very rightly consider that hill-climbing is the essence of trials driving, but in order to give the results a definite basis they naturally included three special tests— in case of ties.

The event was “by invitation” only, and all the competitors were people who had gained at least nine first-class awards in a selected list of trials. It followed, of course, that this Experts Trial was regarded by everyone as a sort of unofficial championship, and drivers were out to give of their very best. Twenty-seven starters assembled at Dunster, where there was considerable excitement about the route, which was not disclosed until an hour or so before the start. An examination of the routecard showed it to be a mere 34 miles in length, but containing no fewer than eight observed hills—to say nothing of the three special tests aforesaid. And the hills—only two of them ever used before, and the rest of unknown quality. Starting order was decided by ballot, which, after all, is realik the fairest method.,

After three miles the first hill was sighted, Slades Lane. Immediately the competitors became aware of the nature of their job that day, A few yards from the foot of the hill the gradient mounted to 1 in 3, the surface being mud through which projected slippery rocks. The problem was to gain enough speed to rush this section, but having done so the competitors were then faced with a long climb, about half-a-mile, which gradually slowed the majority of cars. Then, right at the top, a loosely-surfaced right-hand corner administered the coup-de-grace to many who were successful in climbing so far. Actually eleven cars stopped on Slade’s Lane, J. Orford (Austin) and J. A. Bastock (M.G. Midget) being among the notables who failed. Particularly good efforts were those of C. A. Anthony (Aston Martin), F. A. Thatcher (M.G. Magnette), and M. H. Lawson (Singer).

The next hill was Ashwell, which presented no tricky difficulties yet failed about one-third of the drivers. The big cars found it a teaser owing to the narrow width, and both the Fords (driven by Miss Richardson and C. G. Fitt) failed for this reason. Probably the best climbs were those of F. R. G. Spikins (Singer, with solid back axle) and H. Laird (McEvoy Special). Kersha,m I and H followed. The first section gave fresh heart to many people by allowing everyone to scramble up. But the second part brought 16 cars to a standstill, including such old hands as Orford (Austin), F. A. Thatcher (” N” type

-Magnette), R. J. Richardson (Austin), T. W. Dargue (Riley). Clean climbs were made by the M.G.s of Bastock and Macdermid, the Singers of Langley, Avery, Richardson, Spikins and Patrick, Laird’s McEvoy Special, Marsh’s Triumph and Anthony’s Aston Martin. The next two hills were a good deal easier, Howeton and Kemp’s Lane claiming as victims C.G. Fitt (Ford V8) and J. A. Bastock (M.G. Midget) respectively. Two special tests were then held on the

main road over Dunkery Beaeon. These were to be taken in conjunction with the timed ascent of Cloutsham (rather a joke, that) to eliminate ties. On the two main road tests Laird scored the most marks in the first, with Spikins and March one point behind. In the brake test Patrick and Langley were the best. Now came the stiffest hill of the whole trial, Cloutsham, horribly steep, rocky, and including a difficult S bend. One of the first to try was A. R. Langley (Singer Nine), and he registered the only clean climb of the day. He had obviously been there before, and picked a definite course with certainty. His handling of the car on the upper reaches was first-class, and he is to be congratulated on his success. After a good many failures had followed with regularity, we began to wonder whether anyone else would get up at all. Several people looked hopeful, notably J. A. M. Patrick (Singer), Miss Richardson (Ford V8), F. R. G. Spikins (Singer) and R. A. Macdermid (M.G. Midget), but all came to rest. The very last man to go up was Henry Laird, and we expected

fireworks. We got them all right, for he rocketed up the hill at a terrific speed, keeping his car straight with consummate skill. Just when everyone thought he had succeeded the unfortunate driver was seen to stop, within one yard or so of the finish ! There was only one more hill, Downscombe, a straight affair, very rough and slippery. After eight people had been removed the field drove back to Exford,

where they arrived in the middle of the afternoon.


Gliksten Trophy.—A. B. Langley (Singer). Low Trophy (runner up)—H. Laird (McEvoy Special)

Mollano Trophy (one-make team).–A. 13. Langley, H. 31. Avery, W. J. E. Richardson (Singers).

Billiards Trophy (club team).—A. H. Langley. J. A. M. Patrick (Singers), H. Laird (McEvoy Special).

No Failures.—A. B. Langley (Singer). One Failure.—C. Anthony (Aston Martin), (C), R. A. Macdermid (M.G.) (C), H. M. Avery (C), W. J. B. Richardson (C) (Singers), K. G. Marsh (Triumph) (C), H. Laird (McEvoy Special) (C),

Two Failures.—J. A. Bastock (S, C), F. A. Thatcher (K, C) (M.G.$), M. H. Lawson (K, C), A. H. Langley (K, C), F. R. G. Spikins (C, D), J. A. M. Patrick (A, C) (Singers).

Three Failures.—J. G. Orford (S, K, C), R. .T. Richardson (S. K, C) (Austin), Miss S. Richardson (Ford) (A, K, C), A. W. F. Smith (M.G.) (5, K, C).

Mere than Three Faitures.—T. W. Dargue (Riley) (S, K, C, D), E. Quero (Singer) (S, A, K, C, D), W. J. Milton (Austin) (S, A, K, C, D), G. W. Olive (Standard) (S, A, K, C, D), M. W. 13. May (Alvis) (S, A, K, C, /3), C. G. Fitt (Ford) (A, K, H, C, D), V. H. Tuson (Fiat) (5, A, K, XL, C, 13).

KEY. S=Slade’s Lane. XL= limps Lane, A= Ashwell. C= Cloutsham.

K=Kersharn II. D=Downscombe.