This year the R.A.C. Trials Championship has been moved from its customary date in December to March 23rd, 1963, thus bringing about a most unusual state of affairs, where competitors will be striving for points in the Championship Sporting Trials during January, February and March, to qualify for the 1963 Championship, whereas the Championship for 1962 has yet to be decided. So far all but one of the qualifying trials have been run, the last of the twenty events being the London M.C.'s Gloucester Trial on December 2nd. To qualify a competitor requires to gain two placings within the first two in any of the qualifying events or three placings within the first six. At the time of going to press the following drivers have qualified to compete in the Championship event, which is down south this time at Vintners' Park, Maidstone, and the surrounding area of Baxley Downs: Peter Highwood (Canhi-Ford), Percy Barden (P.A.B.-Ford), Ivor Portlock (Cannon-Ford), Rex Chappell (Cannon-Ford), Lol Hurt (Ford Special), John Harrison (Harford), Charles Pollard (Cannon-Ford), Geoff Newman (Cannon-Ford), Bernard Dees (Cannon De Luxe !), Edward Harrison (Harford), Cuth Harrison (Harford), Mike Cannon (Cannon-Ford), Gordon Holdrup (Cannon-Ford), Colin Taylor (Cannonball-Ford), Eric Jackson (Cannon-Ford Mk. IV), Tony Marshall (CannonFord), Billy Warr (Warr IV), Ernie Chandler (Chandler-Ford) and David Render (Cannon-Ford). A total of nineteen, an improvement of one over last year's total. In addition it is feasible that by the time this appears Gordon Simpson (Cannon-Ford) and Ken Lindsay (Cannon-Ford) will have qualified.
It is interesting to note that all cars are using the side-valve Ford 100E 1,172 c.c. engine, in either single or dual carburetter versions, thus pin-pointing the supremacy of this rugged little unit for this type of work. Experiments have shown that more costly engines such as the comparatively high revving x,29oc.c. Coventry-Climax engine does not provide sufficient low-down torque and the 1,192 Volkswagen engine mounted in the front of a trials car to comply with the Trials Formula has only met with moderate success in the hands of Northern driver Ken Lees.
Undoubtedly the most successful driver this season has been Rex Chappell, Champion for the last two years. So far he has gained six first places, and has finished within the first four places on four occasions. His nearest rival has been Ivor Portlock who has gained three wins, one second, six thirds, one fifth and two sixth places. With events sometimes attracting over fifty entrants such results must clearly show that some drivers have got " it " and others have not!
Aside from the R.A.C.-sponsored Championship is the British Trials and Rally Drivers' Associations' Gold Star Championship which is based on a driver's consistency throughout a given number of events, rather than the single event which forms the basis of the R.A.C. Championship. In addition another Championship, known as the Junior Trials Championship will be run by the B.T. & R.D.A. the day after the R.A.C. Championship, at the same venue and using the same hills. Sheep farmer Mike Cannon has inspired the current trials car design trend with his highly successful Cannon-Ford cars, which used the solid Ford Eight or Ten front axle and the old Ford
type rear axle, still retaining the Ford " A " bracket for location but using tremendously large coil springs at the rear with a transverse leaf spring and telescopic dampers at the front. Brakes are the normal Ford drums to which a " fiddle " control has been fitted to operate on either rear wheel according to the driver's wishes.— E.L.W.
Volkswagen breaks round australia record
A Volkswagen has convincingly beaten the round-Australia record, which was held by an Austin Freeway in 9 days, 6 hours, 22 min. Driven by R. Christie and J. Dunlop, the VW I200 took 7 days, 6 hours, to min., an average speed of 46.5 m.p.h., inclusive of stops, for the arduous 8,104 miles. Apart from a clogged oil-filter, which gives a clue to the conditions, the car gave no trouble, although two punctures, collisions with kangaroos and a leak in an auxiliary fuel tank caused minor delays. Following on their Safari Rally victory this achievement should convince any doubters that the Volkswagen is one of the toughest, most dependable cars you can buy.
The World Wide season continues with the South African races in December, including the Grand Prix on December 29th where nearly everyone in the Grand Prix circus seems to be going, and where Gary Hocking is driving for Rob Walker. Then the scene moves across the Southern Hemisphere to New Zealand for the series of races in January followed by some Australian ones in February. These races are to Formule Libre and the New Zealand G.P. is to be held on a new circuit built at Pukekohe about 30 miles south of Auckland where the New Zealand G.P. has previously been held. Of particular interest in this race is the entry of the Ferguson 4-w/d fitted with 2.7-litre CoventryClimax engine, and to be driven by Graham Hill. It is being run by the Rob Walker team with a Ferguson technical man in attendance. If Graham Hill makes as good use of the advanced Ferguson as did Moss on its last public appearance, he should return for the 1963 European season with disturbed thoughts about the new B.R.M. cars. - D. S. J.