THE INTER-‘VARSITY TRIAL
AN EASY WIN FOR OXFORD ON A RAIN-SOAKED COURSE. K. D. EVANS WINS
OXFORD VETERANS CUP., YARBURGH-BATESON (A.C.) DOES DITTO IN THE “TABS.” Rain seems to make no difference to
the Inter-‘Varsity Trial. Annually it pours with rain, annually certain hills become almost unclimbable, this year competition tyres and non-standard axles were barred, yet in spite of everything the ” Inter-‘Varsity ” was, to our mind, quite the most enjoyable trial of the year. Taking leave of the much used Chilterns, the Cambridge University Automobile Club decided this year to break new ground in the Hindhead district of Surrey. They also hit upon the bright idea of dividing the course into two sections with the start, lunch stop and finish at the centre point of the figure eight, Hindhead. Thus half the entries attacked section “A” before lunch and section “B” after lunch, while the other half reversed the process and tackled “B” in the morn ing and “A” in the afternoon. This of course did much to prevent delays, as there was a longer interval between com petitors and it also gave ” back numbers” a chance to attack at least one set of hills while they were still in a fairly
decent condition. For purpose of clarity we will treat the course as one complete circuit and follow the fortunes of the various sportsmen on their sixty-four mile drive. The first hill on circuit “A,” Begley Farm, proved an immediate justification for the figure of eight plan. Although not very steep, the rain had turned the leaf mould surface into a curious sticky compound, which combined with the length of the hill, resulted in twenty-nine failures out of the sixty-five who attacked it. Cambridge suffered bad losses here, for I. 0. F. Peters, the new resident secretary, failed on his Frazer-Nash when
near the top and was joined by K. Buckley (3-litre Bentley), A. C. Fairtlough (2-litre A.C.) and the Hon. J. C. C. Cavendish (Ford V8) all in fairly rapid succession.
R. E. Tongue could not do any good with his V8 Ford, in contrast to R. V. C. Bolster who made an excellent climb with an old bull-nosed Morris Cowley. Fastest was probably K. D. Evans on the two
seater trials model Magnette, while good climbs were also made by J. Sharpley and N. G. Watson both on Frazer-Nash cars. The points on this hill certainly seemed to go to Oxford. At Cosford Hill, twelve miles farther on, an acceleration test was held over 150 yards of rather slippery lane against a considerable gradient. One could not help feeling that with the ban on non-standard
tyres and axles, Frazer-Nash cars would be at a tremendous advantage here as, of course, they have a standard ” fixed ” axle. Such proved to be the case and honours were taken by D. H. Murray of the Cambridge Veterans who beat N. G. Watson (Cambridge Resident) by two-fifths of a second, while third was another Frazer-Nash handled by J. R. B. Hartnoll for Oxford. Blind Lane, the third test on circuit “A,” proved comparatively easy in spite of its sticky condition. Although only a few made really fast ascents, Kenneth
Evans being among them, the total number of failures was only three. Absters Hollow of “Jack and Jill Trial” fame was the final hill of the first circuit. Although it started the day in quite presentable condition it gradually became more and more difficult until late in the afternoon, when it was almost impassable. Great credit goes to the valiant flag-wagging marshals who kept the hill clear and to Michael ” Tyre-shedder May who succeeded in getting almost to the top with his Alvis in spite of starting in the dark after everyone else ! His adventures with tyres must form a story all of their own, but once during the course of the (lay he was seen to be travelling very fast on a steeply cambered road with his near side rear wheel shod with a diminutive high-pressure tyre and
An anxious moment for K. D. Evans (M.G. Magnetic) who won the Veterans Trophy
the offside wearing an immense low-pressure cover, the Alvis adopting a most unusual list in consequence ! However, to return to the hill. A first-class climb was made by J. K. Sharpley with his Frazer-Nash and also by A. A. Millard on a similar car. A Cambridge Veteran R. de V. Bateson, got up very quickly on a 2-litre A.C. followed by Lord Avebury (11-litre Singer) an Oxford Veteran. Both E. W. Bass and I. F. Connell had very bad tuck, the former’s Lancia saloon travelling very well until just before the top, while Connell apparently could not get his bottom gear to stay in when near the finish. The Oxford secretary, A. R. Phipps,’ made a clean, fast ascent with his smart Aston-Martin. The lunch check at the Royal Huts `Hotel, :Hindhead, was very welcome for those who had kept up sufficient speed to spare the time to get something to eat. Cars doing section “A” in the morning were nearly all in up to time, but as the lunch hour came to a close and only a few
straggled in from the Petersfield district it was obvious that serious happenings had taken place on the “B” circuit. It was with much foreboding that the morning’s “A” section competitors set off to cover this new ground. A six mile run via the village of Liphook brought them to Scotland Hill, where the second timed section of the trial was situate. The two hundred yards or so of ground to be covered was on a slight upgrade with a fairly sharp right-hand bend at half way, after which the gradient increased. Once again Frazer-N ashes showed off their immense advantages under these conditions and the three fastest times were all made by drivers of these cars. Unfortunately for the back markers the course soon began to get cut up on the bend and there was naturally a falling off in the times. N. G. Watson (Cambridge Resident), the second man through, made a really clean getaway and on the undisturbed surface of the corner was amazingly fast, though just as good was 0. H. Murray, although he was quite late in the day. Watson clocked 11 seconds and beat Murray by
one-fifth of a second. These two fast. Nashes were followed by two others who both clocked 12 seconds and tied with a Ford V8 driven by P. N. Whitehead. The Nash drivers were A. A. Millard and G. Treverton, while near the end came J. Sharpley on a similar car who also managed it in the same time. K. D. Evans again performed well for M.G.s but his getaway was not quite as clean as the faster men and his spin on the line cost him valuable seconds. Oalcshott, the next hill on the list, had been improved greatly by the rain, for apparently it had previously been covered with a coating of chalk slime and this
bad been completely removed by the rain with the result that it only stopped one -competitor. Immediately after Oakshott was a hill christened ” Unterturkheim ” which under slightly dryer conditions would have been the high light of
K. Buckley (3-1itre .:13entley) ” making tea” on Begler,,Farrn. Marsha’ Is and onlooke” aresupplying the necessary motive power. the trial. Unfortunately the rain had turned this very difficult hill into au impossible one. Although the start of the non-stop section was naturally on the hill itself, competitors Were allowed to start from the tarmac road which crossed at right angles at the bottom. This meant surmounting a low bank and approaching the slope via what was now a very flourishing morass instead of just a muddy lane! The first to the attack. W. M. Peel with his hearty little FrazerNash, managed to crawl through the Slime and all eves watched his progress towards tha first bend. For a couple of hundred yards the course wended its way between the trees, then it took a sharp left hand bend and rapidly became steeper. Just as it reached its maximum grade the chalk surface began to take on a pronounced V shape in section with the result that anyone lucky enough to -get so far, simply got stuck with two wheels in a kind of trough full of chalk slime, while the other two were four or five feet up a steeply cambered bank ! Taking into consideration the age of his car and the diminutive size of his tyres, Peel made as good an attempt as any of the afternoon. He struggled manfully round the bend and actually managed to get half way up the V section before spin put an end to his efforts. J. B. Webb on a Magna got just round the bend before spin stopped him too, but J. D. imThurn (A. M. Special) and at least ten others including R. M. Procter’s Ford Ten saloon simply could not get out of the morass. Kenneth Evans, with a mighty effort, managed to get just about as far as Peel, half way up the V, when too much power at the rumble end stopped him likewise. By this time Chief Marshal A. C. Dobson was beginning to consider cutting the hill as conditions were obviously becoming worse and considerable delay was being caused. The fact that some of the ‘Varsity students had to be ” in bounds” at Cambridge by eight-thirty meant, of course,, that there could be no delay on this trial. A decision was quickly reached when M. W. B. May arrived on the scene with his Alvis. He decided to tackle the hill and proceeded to do so right manfully I Unfortunately his tyres, either by punctures or design, were running at a very reduced pressure and by the time the Alvis had been fought half way up that treacherous V one at least decided it had had enough. It burst and Michael was left with another old tube on his hands and an Alvis half way up
a very steep slope. Thereupon Cyril Dobson abandoned the hill and the entry moved on to the ” final degradation.”
To the word Steep, its name, one might have added long and very slippery, for it was both. So long indeed, that it was divided into two parts, the upper section of which proved very difficult all day while the lower one became easier. The Most noticeable ascent of the day was by Richard Bolster’s Morris Cowley, which sailed serenely to the top while many an expensive trials model floundered along behind the towing horses. Evans was again very fast indeed and Andrew Fairtlough also made a good climb with the A.C. A much applauded effort was made by John imThurn with his old A.M. Special but J. F. Eber had three attempts on a Vale during a lull in proceedings, but on each attempt stopped with fuel starvation. Shortly after this a bunch of failures resulted in one of the horses ” blowing up.” However he was quickly replaced and proceedings came to an end with eighteen successful climbs of Steep and only four clean sheets for the day’s run. The very welcome meal at the finish at the Royal Huts Hotel, was interrupted late into the evening by the occasional
trival of some straggler and when all but few had left for home, there was heard the sound of an Alvis and the announcement was made that a Mr. May had checked in at the bitter end.
“The Antocar ” Trophy : 1, Oxford University, 1,152 marks ; 2, Cambridge University Veterans, 1.057 marks : 3, Cambridge University Residents, 1,056 marks.
Winning Oxford Team :1, 3. K. Sharpley (FramerNash) (100) ; 2 K. 1). Evans (M.G.) (100) ; 3. A. It. Phipps (ASton-Martin) (100); 4, J. R. B. Hartnoll (Frazer-Nash) (95) ; 5, Lord Avebury (Singer) (95); 6, W. M. Peel (Frazer-Nash) (95) ; 7, H. M. Berresford (M.G.) (05) ; 5, J. G. C. Ruston (Wolseley) (95) ; 9, J. E. B. Simeon (M.G.) (95) ; 10, G. F. Stooks (M.G.) (94) ; 11 P. Hall (Wolseley) (94) ; 12, It. Bream (M.G.) (94).
Residents Only : 1, Oxford University, 1,106 marks : 2, Cambridge University, 1,056 marks.
Team Prize :1, Cambridge Chains (1. 0. F. Peters, A. A. Millard, N. G. Watson. all Frazer-Nashes), 200 marks, aggregate on Scotland 35s.; 2. Oxford Chains (J. K. Sha,rpley, J. R. B. Hartnoll, W. M. Peel, all Frazer-Nashes), 290 marks, aggregate on Ssolland 411s.