THE THATCHER TROPHY TRIAL
Rain played a most prominent part in the Thatcher Trophy Trial held recently in the Chilterns by the Great West Motor Club. Mr. Paul Hardy’s very sporting sixty-five mile course, including in its length the old favourites Crowell, Maiden’s Grove and Lewknor, was rendered almost impassable in several places owing to the torrential rain which had fallen during the previous week and which hardly abated during the. trial itself. The stop and restart test on Lewknor had to be abandoned as a result, but interest was not lacking as there remained seven -observed hills and four driving tests.
Grassy Bank, the first of the hills, stopped ten of the forty entries mainly through inability to get away from the line. No ‘”run” was possible at its straight muddy Slope and the beginning of the non-stop section soon became more difficult than the hill itself. Ford VSs with comp. tyres made light work of it however, and N. G. Watson also went well on a Frazer-Nash, but after R. G. Kingsmill had churned things up with his 2-litre Lagonda the escape road was used more than the hill. Hogwash, strange to say, was climbed easily in spite of the rain, but Midmere, the next observed section, made up for this by stopping seven cars, including P. G. Silcock’s M.G. Midget and T. Leather’s VS Ford saloon equipped with
enormous ” comps.” E. G. Little and his three passengers nearly bounced their ancient M.G. off its springs in an effort to get up, but all to no avail. Incidentally he made good in the driving test at Maiden’s Grove, the next on the list, where competitors used the well-known cross tracks to drive forward round a right-angle turn, reverse back up this second road then drive forward into the continuation of track one, all in as quick a time as possible. By magnificent handling Little worked the old M.G. round in 33 seconds which was considerably better than at least a third of the entry, the best times going to C. M. Anthony (Aston-Martin) 26 seconds and N. G. Watson (Frazer-Nash) 27 2-5 seconds.
After this came the round-about at Sloe Gin which consisted of motoring round a “green” in the middle of a wood then climbing the exit lane. The green had turned into a morass for the later competitors and even number four, G. B. Crewe, took 5 minutes to get round.
Next, a new hill was introduced, Devil’s Staircase, a short, steep muddy incline which failed six cars. Among them being the Morris Minor of T. Wagner which had been going particularly well. The one and only Crowell was left till after the lunch stop and was preceded by a brake test and a restart test on
Lewknor which had to be abandoned. Conditions were good for the brake test as the road was hard and roughened, but still several over-slid the stopping-line.. Best was S. Allard’s ex-T.T. VS Ford which showed astonishing acceleration and equally amazing braking powers, his time from start to stop being 17 seconds, 2 seconds better than M. N. Ambrose (Morris Minor) who in turn was 2 seconds faster than Freddy Thatcher on his Magnette.
After this came a short, nasty little section called Mud Pies and then Crowell. The rain had done this no good at all, as no less than fifteen of the thirty attackers found to their cost, but T. Wagner shot up at speed with his game little Morris, likewise A. T. K. Debenham on his Singer Le Mans, Good climbs were also made by F. J. Coyne, M. N. Ambrose and, right at the end, K. D. Jopp on another Morris Minor and thus the Thatcher Trophy Trial was brought to a close.
Thatcher Trophy : M. N. Ambrose, (847 c.c. Morris lkt Runner-up : F. A. Thatcher, (1,287 c.c. M.G. Magnet Team Prize : F. 0. S. Cook, F. A. Thatcher (1,287 c.c. M.0. M14411(0(10
First Class Awards • A. ‘1’. K. Dchenham (072 c.c. Singer) ; F. A. Thatcher (1,287 c.c. M.G.) ; N. Watson (1,490 c.c. Frazer-Nash).