DONINGTON AFTERTHOUGHTS That great Grand Prix at Donington is still the foremost topic Of discussion…
ONE-POINT VICTORY FOR CAMBRIDGE
A DIFFICULT COURSE FOR THE INTER-VARSITY TRIAL : ONLY ONE CLEAN PERFORMANCE of rain on the night before the Inter-Varsity Trial, held as usual in the Hindhead
Peterfield area, made the course so difficult that two hills had to be abandoned, while another was climbed successfully by only one driver out of the forty-five entries.
Cambridge, who last year broke a series of Oxford victories, repeated their success on November 19th, but the margin in their favour was the narrowest possible, the scores being Cambridge University 700 marks, Oxford University 699 marks.
Oxford had a much larger entry than has been the case for several years, particularly of resident or undergraduate members—a welcome revival. By far the strongest contingent, however, was that of the Cambridge Veterans (members who have gone down), who supplied no fewer than twenty-two drivers.
The main issue of the Inter-Varsity contest has always lain between the resident members, and the scoring sides were composed of six resident and two veteran members from each University, the best performance on either side to count. Thus the maximum total of marks possible was 800.
So still was the event that only R. E. Tongue, of Oxford, retained his full complement of 100 marks, driving one of the new eight-cylinder Allard-Specials. Only six other drivers retained 95 marks, these being :— .
Cambridge (Veterans) : K. N. Smith (Frazer-NashB.M.W.), N. G. Watson (Ford), F. G. H. Minter (M.G.).
Oxford (Residents) : E. N. Bunting (M.G.). (Veterans) : D. H. Tindall (Aston-Martin), H. W. Inderwick (Batten-Special).
Competition tyres and non-standard solid axles were barred, as has been the practice of the C.IT.A.C. since 1935, and the muddy hills thus provided a stern test of driving.
The course was arranged on the doubleloop or figure-of-eight principle, first used by the Cambridge club. Odd numbers took one circuit in the morning from the start at the Royal Huts Hotel, Hindhead, returning to the same point for lunch. Meanwhile the even numbers were tackling the other circuit, and after lunch the two contingents changed over. This arrangement is calculated to avoid much delay, by preventing the whole entry from piling up at the foot of one hill, and also allowing a two-minute
interval between the competitors owing to the alternate starting order.
R. E. Tongue’s success was particularly noteworthy, for although he had the most trials-worthy car in the event, he had had little opportunity to get used to the Allard-Special, the very power of which makes skilful handling necessary to avoid wheelspin. He had huge tyres, which could be run at a very low pressure. These no doubt helped Tongue to make the only clean climb of Hatchfarm Hill before this morass was cut out. Hatchfarm can be taken in two sections, and even last year, in much drier conditions, only four competitors successfully climbed
both. This year, even the downhill sections on the approach to the hill and after leaving the summit were so deep in mud that cars were grounding heavily, and the unique spectacle was seen of cars being towed downhill ! The first competitor to try the hill, A. C. Fairtlough (Cambridge Veteran), driving a sports two-seater A.C., came
to grief early. Endeavouring to gain speed on the slippery lower stretches, he struck a tree, and then pulled a valve out of one of his rear tyres, so that there was a long pull for the tow-gang till the middle section was reached, where there is a short flat stretch. Here a kind of telephone exchange had been installed, with connections both to the start and to the top of the hill, each about a third of a mile away. Fairtlough changed a wheel and proceeded to the
top section, where he pulled off both tyres; and then the car became firmly embedded in the mud on the downward slope after the summit. No amount of heaving would move the car, and. meanwhile other drivers were getting stuck all over the hill, so that the two tow-gangs had to move rapidly
from place to place, and soon became exhausted.
The situation became desperate, for even when cars were lugged over the summit, they could not get by Fairtlough’s foundered A.C., and were likely themselves to sink in the same bog. With considerable resource the marshal In charge of the top section went off and found a tractor at a neighbouring farm, and by its help the A.C. was at last extricated. It was therefore decided to abandon the attempts, but before the hill was closed down R. E. Tongue was allowed to try the ascent with the Allard, if he chose to do so. Tongue was undaunted, and stormed through the mud of the lower
section. The telephone operators reported his violent arrival at the half-way stage, and then he set out to attack the top past, of even greater difficulty, for the steepest section of the slippery gradient is preceded by a sharp left-hand corner. Tongue slithered into the corner, using the bushes on the outside as a kind of banking, and triumphantly breasted the rise. The tractor was waiting to lend a hand in the bog which followed, but the Allard scorned such assistance, and got through this, too, under its own power.
The Allard had considerably more ground clearance, as well as greater power, than most of the competing cars, and where Tongue had led, it was not possible for others to follow. The Oxonian was thus avenged on Hatchfarm Hill, where last year he struck a boulder at the side of the track and wrecked his car. The overnight rain had also rendered Abester’s Copse impassable, for this bill, lying on private property, has a grassy section at the bottom with a sharp turn through a gate, and it was not possible on the soft ground even to get started properly. It was cut out when
only one car had tried it. Abester’s Copse is situated near the better known Abester’s Hollow, which latter, unfortunately for trials folk, has now been deemed to be a bridle path. Both these hills were on Circuit A, but their omission was compensated for by the unexpected difficulty of Cotchet Farm. Here cars were made to start on another grassy section, and though by skilful throttle control it was certainly possible to get going, the difficulty was such that
twenty-eight drivers lost marks. The remaining bill on Circuit A, Begley Farm, provided an interesting enough climb, but, mercifully, caused only seven failures. Circuit B was running more to schedule, though here again there was plenty of difficulty. The worst obstacle was the redoubtable Steep Hill, sometimes called Lythe Hanger. This, like Hatchfarm, was divided into two sections, but only Tongue, with the Allard, and P. J. DaviesCooke (Cambridge Veteran), driving an H.R.G., managed to climb even the lower section. Tongue continued his successful career on the top part, but Davies-Cooke had the bad luck to fail within a few yards of the summit. Since these were the only cars to reach the top section at all, the marshals and the horses provided had a dull time at this point. All the rest of the competitors reversed down the lower slope into a quarry, where they turned round and, he road being kept clear for them, made
their way back again. This certainly saved a great deal of time, for, in spite of the entire entry except one failing, the system, perfected over a number of years, worked so well that there was little delay. M. W. B. May, who was secretary of the C.U.A..0 as long ago as 1928-29, and who has been competing in trials since that time, and even earlier, charged the bank on one side of the lower section, and burst a tyre, and then cannoned off the opposite bank, bursting the other rear tyre. His Alvis, with the 2-litre engine which first saw service in the DoubleTwelve, and which has since been run in innumerable races, then came to rest, with the rear wheels spinning inside the
covers Amid much laughter, the car was got into the quarry.
D. C. Stenning (Cambridge Veteran), with a Lagonda Rapier, was making a good attempt when one of the doors came open and jammed on the bank, while K. N. Smith (Cambridge Veteran), driving a Frazer-Nash-B.M.W., very nearly got to the top of the lower section. D. H. Tindall (Oxford Veteran), with his Aston-Martin, also made a fine effort. Unterturkheim also caused many failures, and. here only seventeen were
successful. Amongst the best climbs were those of Tindall’s Aston-Martin, H. W. Inderwick’s Batten-Special (Oxford Veteran), N. G. Watson’s Ford V8 (Cambridge Veteran), and H. J. Budd’s Alfa-Romeo (Cambridge Resident). There was no rule causing passengers to
remain normally seated, and on the tail of Budd’s Alfa-Romeo, R. E. A. Mason, the Cambridge Treasurer, had adopted a most uncomfortable-looking position,. hanging almost head downwards, so that it looked as though at any moment hemight dive off. The passenger on 0. M. Williams’s Rover (Cambridge Veteran) was seated inside the luggage boot, where he was more secure, but equally uncomfortable. The Rover made a good climb.. . G. Kinsey-Morgan (Cambridge Resident), with a Frazer-Nash, just kept going through the observed section, and H. M. Bibby (Cambridge Resident), with an M.G., also cleared the section but subsequently stopped, and marshals had to. be despatched to his assistance. The remaining hill on Circuit 14,, Oakshott, stopped about half a dozen competitors. At Cosford, on Circuit
Tongue’s Allard and B. D. Acland’s M.G. (both Oxford) made the begt time, while at Scotland Hill, where Lionel Martin wa& in charge of the time-keeping, Inderwick’s Batten-Special was best. RESULTS
“The Autoear ” Trophy : 1, Cambridge University, 700 marks ; 2, Oxford University, 699 marks..
Cambridge Team (Residents) : G. Kinsey-Morgan (Frazer-Nash), 90 marks ; H. J. Budd (Alfa-Romeo),. 90; H. M. Bibby (M.G.), 90; T. E. Llewellyn-Lloyd (Ford), 87; K. R. G. Tamkinson (Hillman), 80; R. B. Collie (Cresta), 73.
(Veterans) : K. N. Smith (Fra.zer-Nash-II.M.W.),. 05; N. G. Watson (Ford), 95.
Oxford Team (Residents) : E. N. Bunting (M.G.), 95 ; 1). C. Kennedy (Ford), 90; R. M. Witney (M.G.). 85 ; R. G. Sykes (Rover), SO; E. S. M. Wade (Vauxhall), 79; R. H. N. Smith (Austin), 75.
(Veterans) : R. E. Tongue (Allard-Special), 100 D. H. Tindall (Aston-Martin), 95.
Team Prize: R. E. Tongue (Allard-Special), 100; A. C. Fairtlough (AC.), 90 ; M. W. B. May (A Ivis), 90.. Cambridge Trophies :
May Cup (best Resident) : G. Kinsey-Morgan (Frazer-Nash).
Veterans Cup (best Veteran) : K. N. Smith (FrazerisTacth-B.M.W.).
Maw Cup (best Resident over 1,500 c.o.) : H. Budd (Alfa-Romeo).
Fairtlough Cup (best Resident, 1,500 c.o.) : H. M.. Bibby (M.G.). Falluler Cup (best Resident, 850 c.o.) : not awarded._ Oxford Trophies :
Founder’s Cup (best Resident) : E. N. Bunting (M.G.).
Evans Cup (best Veteran) : R. E. Tongue (AllardSpecial).
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