This year’s Presteigne Rally and Trial, postponed a fortnight at the mercy of the RAC, escaped continuous rain but ran into frosty fog, although mainly run in autumnal sunshine. The road-section and Concours d’Elegance on the Saturday attracted 26 entries, of whom only Miss Bendall’s Fiat and Col. Gresham’s Vauxhall failed to turn up. The fog caused a few to lose marks for late arrival at the quaint and welcoming town of Presteigne, the biggest defaulter being Bowyer’s Series I Lancia Lambda, although Messenger’s AC was nearly as late.
The Battes, father and son, had brought their Delages, one a 14/40 with GA boat-tail body, the other an earlier DI with six-seater Auto-bineau touring coachwork. Much admired was Warburton’s 1923 3.8-litre Crossley, which the owner has not discovered much about. It has a bulbous-aided Crossley two-seater body, a fine exhaust rumble, what sounded like metal-to-metal brakes, and it could be a 20/70. McDonald’s 12/50 Alvis with early Wilkinson-replica duck’s-back body, Mrs. Pilgrim’s 1930 Austin with one of the last alloy saloon bodies, Pell’s fabric two-seater 4-1/2-litre Bentley, Malamatenios’ Cunard-bodied 40/50 Napier in immaculate order, Box’s 1927 Jovvett tw-oseater, Marsh’s very original-looking 3-litre Bentley, Condon’s AC and others were soon the centre of attraction to the Welsh onlookers. Mrs. Jeddere-Fisher had punctured a tyre on the Lancia Theta and Roger Collings, proved his enthusiasm by arriving in his 1923 replica-bodied s.v. Aston Martin, doing the tests, then driving to Worcester, where he just caught the London train, to attend the Bentley DC dinner.
The tests took place in the yard of the disused station and Mrs. Cherrett carried the day, winning the Talyllyn Trophy for best show in concours and tests, in her 1928 1-1/2-litre Alfa Romeo. Sawers must have done the tests exceedingly well, for he gained a First Class Award in a 1-3/4-litre James Young Alfa Romeo so tatty externally and internally as to give the beauty-show Judges apoplexy. Harper’s 1928 Chummy Austin 7 also gained a First Class Award. Second Class Awards went to Mrs. Pilgrim and Condon, Third Class. Awards to Collins (1921 Star), D. Macmillan (Rolls-Royce) and Marsh.
The Sunday Trial had been somewhat altered this year. Crug was re-introduced and the grouped hills on the common revised. The dry Welsh summer made matters relatively easy but the stop-and-restarts were tricky, especially that high up Heyope hill. There were also five retirements, including Kain’s Bugatti, but not before it had “cleaned” three sections to win the Winder Trophy, a consolation prize for having done particularly well until the gearbox main shaft broke, Winder’s Alvis Speed 20-powered Lea-Francis, a very “fresh-air” special, lost a core plug which put water in the sump but not before it had gained an award. Harris’ Austin, Jones’ 30/98 with a run big-end and MacKay’s Alvis non-started but Jeddere-Fisher’s 30/98 survived having a valve cap from its E-type engine try to escape via the bonnet-top on the way down and it managed the muddy start of Heyope better than the other 30/98s; Smith’s long-chassis 7/17 Jowett two-seater also got wheelspin as soon as it saw the gradient. The Rev. Newman’s Chummy Austin was in good form, if hot of clutch, Clutton seems to have become charmed (or inured ?) to low-powered vintage motoring, as he was very determinedly conducting Tony Jones’ Chummy Austin for the second year running, and Griffin not only had the audacity to compete in an o.h.c. Morris Minor sun-roof saloon (with oversize back tyres) but took a Second Class Award in it. Pat Stocken was going splendidly in her 1924 Trojan, the Ruby-engined Vernon Derby was there, and Hawkins again spent much time working on his Riley Nine Special, which has three SU carburetters, a water gallery to cool the exhaust valves, and a foot-warmer for the passenger, but all to no avail, as he retired immediately. An incredible number of spectators turned up to watch the ascents of the last hill, The Smatcher, where Mrs. Hill’s AJS took the Smatcher Trophy. Her husband’s well-known Alvis Silver Eagle carried three passengers, Thomas’ 1927 Chummy Austin looked standard even to tyre dimensions but carried extra equipment in the form of fire extinguisher and bulb-horn, whereas Bradshaw’s M-type MG had a non-original body and big back boots. Brooklands-style silencers were sported by Fletcher’s beetle-back Alvis and Robinson’s Lea-Francis, and Giles’ Frazer Nash, which made a very neat quiet ascent of Heyope, had an ingenious hand-brake “ratchet”.—W. B.
Presteigne Trophy:H.F. Moffatt (‘Brescia Bugatti).
First Class Awards:H. Spence (Lea-Francis), J. F. Blake (Alvis), W. S. May (Frazer Nash), and C. J. Benddal! (Vauxhall).
Second Class Awards:R.F. Griffin (Morris), J. A. Griffiths (Austin), Mrs. P. Stocken (Trojan) and J. W. Rowley (Vauxhall).
Third Class Awards:C. A. Winder Lea-Francis), F. G. Giles (Frazer Nash) and W. M. G. Marshall (MG).