THE INTER-‘VARSITY TRIAL CAMBRIDGE AGAIN THE WINNER INTERESTING TESTS ON MIDMERE—MAIDEN’S GROVE AND WHITELEAFCROWELL TAKES ITS TOLL.
Aii)N.D very considerably by their motor-cycle entry, Cambridge again defeated their rivals in the annual inter-varsity scramble in the Chilterns at the end of last month. Nine out of the ten motor-cycle entries hailed from Cambridge, and only 11 out of the 48 car-drivers were Oxford men. A Cambridge victory therefore, seemed inevitable, but the ” other place ” put up a very stout show. The damp and misty weather, seemingly inseparable from the Annual Trial, prevailed throughout.
Owing to structural alterations at the ” Crown,” Marlow, the start was given at the “George and Dragon,” and from 10 o’clock onwards a steady stream of competitors were sent away at intervals of one minute. They were a representative lot, sports cars of all sizes and ages, and quite a few American machinesbywayofcontrast.
Gentle Rise was the deceptive name of the first hill, encountered 31 miles from the start. The most exciting incident here was provided by A. R. Porter, with a wellkept 3-litre Bentley. He approached the sharp corner much too fast, struck the bump in the middle of the road, and shot straight into the hedge, to the intense consternation of his two passengers. He was extricated undamaged, and proceeded on his way. Several people failed, in fact the following : R. B. Collie (Delage with five up), G. F. Bennett (Lancia), R. A. 1VlacRobert (Riley), J. G. C. Ruston (Chrysler), the aforesaid Porter, J. C. Smith. (Austin), D. B. Tubbs (supercharged M.G. Midget), and G. B. C. Sumner (Ford V8). Another 41 miles brought the competitors to Midmere, at the foot of Shillingridge. Wood. This was . a timed climb, starting on the level about 50 yards before
the corner, which was very slippery. One (or two people were a little wild here R. de Y. Rateson (A.C.) and A. M. Scott, Aston Martin) being two we noticed. One of the neatest on the corner was D. G. Hopkins (Fraser Nash), with NV. H. Aldington as passenger. Once round the corner the surface easily provoked violent wheelspin, and a fast climb was therefore
largely a matter of good driving. W. B. M. Fraser made fastest time on his supercharged ” L ” type M.G. Magna. Other climbs worthy of mention were made by J. V. Jarvis Read (Aston Martin), R. E. Tongue (Singer), K. D. Evans, for once deserting M.G.s for a perfectly normal
Ford 8 h.p. saloon, and R. P. Stewart on a fast but somewhat unsteady Fraser Nash. P. N. Whitehead’s Brooklands Riley emitted clouds of blue smoke of the same colour as his car. After dealing with Low Rise, with its deep ruts at the foot, and the perennial Ucumunstuck, the competitors arrived at Maiden’s Grove. Here the procedure was
to accelerate from a standstill round the corner to the right, stop with the front wheels over a line, reverse back, round a corner, and about 50 yards beyond stop once more, and finally accelerate round to the right once more, making the climb of Maiden’s Grove itself. The whole manceuvre was timed by the eagle-eyed Lionel Martin, and the cars were started in racer style by a national flag. After a few people had roared round the first corner the surface became very torn up, and the smaller cars scraped their undersides on the gravel to the accompaniment of weird noises. A good deal depended on the quickness of changing direction, and some drivers were extremely rapid in this, albeit a little brutal with their gear-boxes, like Oliver Bertram (Singer Nine). Most of the Frazer Nash drivers lost time in engaging reverse gear, but the old 3-speed models were as fast as any. D. B. Wallis (Le Mans Singer) was very good, but had the misfortune to knock off the ignition switch near the top of the hill, while fully engaged in holding his prancing steed on its proper course. J. G. C. Ruston (Chrysler) atoned for his failure on Gentle Rise by a neat and calm performance. F. R. F. Taylor revealed himself as a poor reverser, and drove his ” P ” Midget firmly into the bracken. R. J. B. Seaman (Ford V8) was one of the best, and his V8 Ford was amazingly quiet as it rushed up the hill. Porter’s Bentley was well-driven, in spite of a door flying open, and the rear passenger slamming it heartily on to the driver’s arm. Both Bentleys, driven by Porter and J. H. Fleming, were very fast
on the hill, rounding the bottom corner at speed. Before moving on to the next hills we saw a very snappy performance made by J. E. Sharpley (Frazer Nash).
Lionel Martin’s timing revealed that fastest time had been made by W. B. M. Fraser (M.G. Magna), with Sharpley 1/5th secs. slower. Third fastest was P. L. Doble (M.G. Midget “P “) in 30 secs. dead. R. P. Stewart (Frazer Nash) anticipated the starting flag, and D. H. Murray (Frazer Nash) stalled his engine on the line. Only two cars failed on this hill, ‘Wallis’s Singer and C. H. G. Proctor’s Trojan.
After a quick lunch at the “Lambert Arms” the competitors tackled a stopand-go test on Lewknor, which was not too difficult as the surface was fairly dry ; in any case the results did not count as the marshals lost some of the figures 1 Then the cars slid and swayed along the grassy Roman Road to the foot of Crowell, where fearful tales of the hill’s condition were told. Certainly at the bottom it was extremely muddy and soft, preventing a rapid get-away. Higher up it was bad enough to stop many people with wheelspin, but careful driving reaped its own reward. W. B. M. Fraser, last year’s Cambridge secretary, led off with a fine climb on his blown ” L ” type M.G. Magna ; D. H. Murray (Fraser Nash) and K. C. McGuffie (M.G. Magna ” K ” both made good climbs, but the majority of people needed a little assistance right at the top, where the wood begins. Andrew Fairtlough, former Cambridge secretary makes his usual clean ascent on the old A.C. with
three up. G. F. Bennett (Lancia) failed early and reversed down the hill, as did a Frazer Nash with a burnt-out clutch. The Trojan nearly did it, finally coming to rest high up in the wood. Good efforts were those of the two Aston Martin drivers, J. V. Jarvis Read and A. M. Scott, with high geared cars. Probably the fastest climb of the day was that of
D. G. Hopkins, who thoroughly enjoyed keeping his foot down and working furiously at the steering wheel. He disappeared in a cloud of flying stones and mud. J. C. Smith had covered the greater part of the trial with a run big-end on his Austin Ten, but he struggled along and got some distance up Crowell, but he finished in the ditch and had to be hauled to the summit. Only one more test remained, and that took place on Whiteleaf Hill. The drivers had to accelerate down hill, pull up astride a line, and get away again across another line a few yards farther on. It might have been easy, but the road had just been made up with a generous carpet of loose gravel, on which the cars skidded for yards at a time. Overshooting could be adjusted by reversing, but this had disastrous effects on the time. Fastest man was
D. H. Murray (Frazer Nash) with a very neat 6* seconds. K. C. McGuffie (M.G. Magna) and A. M. Scott (Aston Martin) shared second place with 6* seconds. And so to the ” Rose and Crown,” Tring, where an exhaustive ” postmortem ” was held on everyone’s performances, good and bad, humorous or otherwise. Tea, and later beer, was consumed in vast quantities, and a really good
day’s sport ended. The organising secretary, H. G. Conway, is to be congratulated on a well-run and cheerful event. PROVISIONAL RESULTS. a
1. The Motor Cycling Cup, won by Cambridge, 108 marks to 99 marks. (Marks : Oxford, Cars 99; Bikes, 0. Cambridge, Cars, 55; Bikes 53).
2. May Cup (Best Resident Car), A. M. Scott.
3. Veteran’s Cup (Best Veteran Car), D. H. Murray.
4. Birkin Cup (Best Resident Motor Cycle), J. C. Dykes.
5. Faulkner Cup (Best Resident 850 c.c. Car), J. B. Towi iley.
6. Fairtlough Cup (Best Resident 1,500 c.c. Car), A. M. Scott.
7. Maw Cup (Best Unlimited Car), A. R. Porter.
8. Founder’s Cup for the Best Performance by a Resident. Oxford Competitor, J. E. Sharpley.
9. Team Award—Nos. 14, 18 and 58.—Fraser, Fairtlough and Bertram.
Fastest Times on Maiden’s Grove Special Test.— W. B. M. Fraser, 29.2; J. E. Sharpley, 29.4 ; R. L. Doble, 30.0. Average : Small, 34.4; Large, 35.2.
Fastest Times on Midmere Acceleration Test.— W. B. M. Fraser, 31.0; D. H. Murray, 34.2; P. N. Whitehead, 35.4. Average : Bikes, 52.4; Small, 44.4; Large, 45.8.
Fastest Times on Whiteleal Brake Test.—D. H. Murray, 6,2; K. C. McGuffie, 6.8; A. M. Scott, 6.8; and J. C. Dykes, 6.4; H. M. Jager, 6.6. Average : Bikes, 8.0; Small, 8.4; Large, 8.8.
First Class Awards (98 marks).
in c.c. Marks.