VSCC Lakeland Trial

November 11th: Held on a rather a grey, misty day, with occasional very light rain, the Lakeland Trial this year was a tough event taking in no less than 14 hills, these included a completely new batch of four hills set in the Setmurthy Forest. The maximum score on each hill was 20 marks, and two of these new hills, called Slethary and Isel Hill, were the only ones to bring the markings for the winner of the trial down to single figures.

The 70-car entry (there were only three nonstarters) was divided up into two classes, Class A being for “Specials and Certain Short Wheelbase Cars” and Class B being for “Other Models”. This meant that in Class A  Frazer Nashes and the hotter Austin Sevens predominated, whilst Class B was largely the preserve of the more standard sports and touring Austin Sevens and the 30/98 Vauxhalls, there being ten of the former and five of the latter. It is amazing how evenly these two very different types of car were matched in this particular competition, thus providing some extremely good sport.

The winner overall, by quite a large margin, proved to be not a trials special, but the attractive and versatile 1937 Meadows-engined TT Replica Frazer Nash of Peter Still. Peter drove this car all the way from his home in Somerset and back to give lie to the jokes about the unreliability and impractability of chain-drive ‘Nashes, although in his case it is only fair to add that much of his success is due to his own brilliant driving ability and car preparation. His total score of 231 out of 280 was well ahead of the two runners-up, no mean practitioners themselves, Barry Clarke in his special 1928/36 trials Austin Seven with 214 marks and Nigel Arnold-Forster in his 1925 Anzani-engined Frazer Nash with 202. These three were the only entrants to score over 200. It was extremely pleasing to see no less than two 1925 Grand Prix Salmsons taking part in a VSCC trial, brought down from Scotland by Messrs. Nahum and Sudjic, the former scoring the best marks of 123.

Roy Adnams scored 144 points in his stark 1929 windscreenless Austin Chummy, rescued from a circus without an engine and rebuilt in a week specially for the trial. It was alleged to have persistently gone round in circles until there was a big bang and its doors fell off during its working life, but the only circus trick it performed in the trial was to put its fan through the radiator when a marshal applied his weight to the latter component. Fortunately another marshal just happened to have a spare Austin Seven radiator in the boot of his modern car. Roy’s score just got him into the awards list, behind the 1936 Riley-engined Vernon-Derby of Anthony Costigan with 150 marks.

A highly popular winner of Class B was Richard Parker, who has been trying for years in the Lakeland in his 1928 Austin 7 fabric saloon. His score of 150 enabled him just to pip John Rowley in his delectable 1920 E-type 30/98 Vauxhall two-seater with 145 — surely the only 30/98 on the road today proudly bearing its owner’s BRDC badge. John Blake’s standard Chummy Austin returned a splendid 144 points, the same as the Adnams car in the other class, but without the advantage of a circus background. The OE 30/98 Vauxhalls of Tony Jones and David Marsh tied with 120 marks, but had to give best to Mike Hirst’s open four-seater 12/50 Alvis with 134 and Threlfall’s indomitable 1928 Ford A Tudor saloon with 125 marks, a car, presumably, with a Shakespearean rather than a circus background.

During the trial the wife of the owner of a well-known Lea-Francis Special who was passengering for the umpteenth time admitted to being in her 60th year, and added “I first got into this car when I was 16!”  And so, for your reporter, it was back to the South in Tony Jones’s 1923 30/98 when a spell at the wheel proved that indeed it is, to quote the manufacturers, “a sporting car which has never known a superior” even on the motorways. — PMAH



Kirkstile Trophy:  P W Still (1937 Frazer Nash).

Kirkstile Plate: R M Parker (1928 Austin).

R.P. 1951 Cup: B M Clarke (1928/36 Austin 7).

1st Class:  R J Clark (1937 HRG); N Arnold-Forster (1925 Frazer Nash); J W Rowley (1920 Vauxhall); J F Blake (1927 Austin).

2nd Class:  T D Boyce (1928 Frazer Nash); R G Winder (1927 Austin);  H Spence (1930 Frazer Nash); L J Stretton (1927 Frazer Nash); M U Hirst (1928 Alvis); T J Threlfall (1928 Ford); D R Marsh (1925 Vauxhall); A D Jones (1923 Vauxhall).

3rd Class:  N P Costigan (1930 Vernon-Derby);  M T Joseland (1916 Frazer Nash); D Johnson (1933 Frazer Nash); R Adnams (1929 Austin); J A Lang (1926 Austin); D G Laxton (1924 Austin).

Hartley Cup (Marshalling & Organisation):  Mrs. Rosemary Smith.