This sprint event is enjoyable for several reasons. It is in the best tradition of pre-war sprint motoring, the course being a sporting one on private property; the road is narrow but well-surfaced, with some very tricky corners and this evens up times between diverse types of cars. The venue is in a very beautiful part of Sussex, the officials are exceedingly cheery, spectators have a good view from safe vantage points in the adjoining fields and the entry is nicely varied.
This sprint at Bodiam New House Farm, in Guinness country, is an Elva benefit. In 1955 McKenzie Low made f.t.d, in an Elva-Ford and last year S. Lewis-Evans did so in an Elva-Climax. So this time the Elva van brought two Elva-Climax sports cars to defend Bexhill honours. In practice Bolster broke a half-shaft on the car Lewis-Evans, in G.P. overalls, was to drive but it was repaired in time for Stuart to make a fantastically skilful ascent in 30.4 sec. — f.t.d. again. In practice Frost’s Lotus-Climax had done 30.0 sec., but in the event he took off at the Hump and ploughed down much fencing before entering a field, damaging the car too badly to run again. Only Lewis-Evans got below 31 sec. but Henrotte’s 500-c.c. Ettorne racer clocked 31.4 sec. on one of its few trouble-free runs, Bolster did a fine 31.6 sec. in the Elva and Mallock an astounding 31.8 sec. in his Ford/Austin, which seemed to be out of control most of the time but which its enthusiastic owner willed to stay on the road — he had drastically lightened the car in the Paddock, even to borrowing a rn/c. battery from an unsuspecting spectator! It is high time someone gave Mallock a trial at the wheel of a really fast car.
Conolly’s Buckler just beat Salkeld’s Aries in the small sports-car class. The Aries has a tubular frame, VW suspension front and back, an Ariel Square Four 1,000 engine, fan-cooled, at the rear and fibreglass body.
Greig’s very smart Morgan Plus Four demolished much opposition in the 2-litre sports-car category, clocking 33.6 sec. on both runs, and Mrs. Normay’s TR3 hard-top just beat Mrs. Whitehead’s ex-Fitzwilliam M.G. MGA to the Ladies’ Prize. Robertson damaged his TR2 when it spun into the bank round the second corner and Oxborrow had a hair-raising escape from serious injury when his TR2 spun before the corner and went through the straw bales in slow motion, to remain poised on three wheels above a very deep, wet ditch. Siryer’s Volkswagen won the class for closed cars up to 1,300 c.c., clocking 40.2 sec. each time. Hart’s VW, a local self-drive hire-car (!), was second and it was no coincidence that Volkswagens beat Simca, Ford, Hillman Minx and Morris Minor 1000 opposition. The fastest VW even beat Kerr’s modified Ford Anglia. Nor was it coincidence that Denis Jenkinson’s hard-used Porsche 1,500 won the large closed-car class, to which it had been transferred, against Monro’s Bristol, Fotheringham-Parker’s Austin-Healey hard-top and Walter’s Lancia Aurelia 2,500. The Lancia tied with the Porsche on its last run but as its time had been missed, so that it gained additional practice, and as its aggregate time averaged 35.4 sec., whereas the little Porsche clocked exactly 35 sec. each time, Jenkinson was the moral victor; the Porsche was also faster than a Sunbeam Rapier and many of the Triumph and M.G. MGA sports cars! We mention this to show what an excellent chance a well-driven normal saloon has in today’s club speed hill-climbs.
Dennis Milton’s very “hot,” Weslake-tuned Austin A35 was beaten by 0.8 sec. in the next class by the fine driving of D. R. Rawson in a Sunbeam Rapier. Other interesting competitors were a supercharged PB M.G., McInerney’s ex-Tuson Fiat Balilla of Brooklands’ memory and Rolfe’s nice pre-war Aston Martin Ulster.
This is another fixture well worth while putting in your 1958 diary, whether you be spectator or potential competitor. — W. B.
1st: S. Lewis-Evans (Elva-Climax) 30.4 sec.
2nd: G. A. Henrotte (Ettorne 500) 31.4 sec.
3rd: J. Bolster (Elva-Climax) 31.6 sec.
4th: Major Mallock (Ford/Austin) 31.8 sec.
Open Cars up to 1,300 c.c.: P. V. Conolly (Buckler) 38.4 sec.
Open Cars, 1,301-2,000 c.c.: A. M. Greig (Morgan Plus Four) 33.6 sec.
Open Cars, 2,001 c.c. upwards: D. L. Buss (Triumph) 33.2 sec.
Sports/Racing Cars: S. Lewis-Evans (Elva-Climax 1,100) 30.4 sec.
Closed Cars up to 1,300 c.c.: A. D. Siryer (Volkswagen) 40.2 sec.
Closed Cars, 1,301-2,000 c.c., and Special Closed Cars: D. R. Rawson (Sunbeam Rapier) 38.0 sec.
Closed Cars, 2,001 c.c. upwards and Gran Turismo Cars: D. S. Jenkinson (Porsche 1,500) 35.0 sec.
Warren Trophy (fastest lady driver): Miss P. Normay (Triumph TR3) 37.6 sec.
What’s Brewing at Berkeley’s?
Finding ourselves near Biggleswade last month we paid a visit to Berkeley Cars Ltd., makers of Britain’s smallest sports car.
Their Sales Manager told us that since production of this front-drive, two-stroke plastics miniature sports car commenced in 1956 over 800 Berkeleys have been made.
After the initial 150 cars Excelsior engines were adopted. Export orders have been received from the U.S.A., Peru, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, Malaya, New Zealand, Australia, Greece, etc. So great has been the interest that from seven agents at the time of last year’s Motor Show Berkeley now have agents throughout the country and in Ireland. Complete cars are shipped for export, only those for Eire going C.K.D.
For the American market sealed-beam headlamps were faired into the nose but recently American users seem to be convincing the authorities that the normal recessed headlamps are legal in the U.S.
Production of the three-cylinder Berkeley 500 is due to commence in the New Year. The present output of approximately 40 cars a week is composed of 328 c.c. two-cylinder models. By January next output is scheduled at 70 cars a week, and by March 1958 the Biggleswade plant should be producing 100 cars a week.
There is no intention of entering a works team in competition events but help can be extended to private owners who wish to enter them for races and rallies after purchasing their cars. Goddard Watts intends to race a Berkeley 500 next season, after his good showing this year with one of the smaller models. — W. B.
Film Review — “Three-Pointed Star”
One very wet morning during the Motor Show we visited Wardour Street, that curious London thoroughfare devoted to the film industry, where old men wheel containers of films about on trolleys and young women receptionists dream of becoming Hollywood starlets. Here we saw the Boehner Productions film “Three-Pointed Star,” which publicises Mercedes-Benz cars and commercial vehicles. The film is partly in colour but incorporates excerpts from old black and white newsreels of past races. Some of these are too brief to provide full enjoyment but some remarkable shots of an early Targa Florio are included. This Mercedes film is rather too long, because it takes us not only through history but to each of the Daimler-Benz plants to illustrate the construction and test methods employed. It is fun to see the antics of the all-wheel-drive Unimogs made at Gaggenan (and surely half-cousins to our Dumpers?) and good use is made of some elegant Edwardian Mercedes from the Stuttgart museum.
It is pleasant to see that Daimler-Benz believe in making use of their splendid motor-racing record in publicising their products. — W. B.
We have received, through the generosity of a reader, two Monogram Four Star Plastakits. No. P12 makes up into an Indianapolis racing car with working steering, while driver, mechanic, pit toolbox, etc., are included, and the hinged bonnet lifts to reveal a dummy engine. No. P1 makes a very detailed scale midget racer, with dummy Offenhauser engine, outside hand pump, axle radius-arms, instrument panel, etc. These high-quality kits come from Monogram Models, Inc., Chicago 32.