Monte Carlo, January 23rd.
Stavanger, in Norway, proved to be the most successful starting point in the 14th Monte Carlo Rally. Weather conditions again rendered Athens and Bucharest routes impossible. Since the rules of the 1935 Monte Carlo Rally had been announced, Umea and Stavanger had been freely tipped as the most successful starting points, and to-days list of arrivals has justified this prophecy. There were 30 starters from the Swedish control, while 26 were found to brave the rigours of the narrow road from Stavanger, and in each case 23 finished without penalisation. Twenty-six started over the revised route from Palermo, but conditions proved difficult and the list was already much thinned before the ears had left Italy, and only 12 finished with clean sheets. Among these, R. Pelham Burn, on a 1i-litre Riley, was the only British competitor. The run from John o’Groats presented little difficulty, and out of the 27 starters, 18 finished without penalisation.
Apart from the greatest number of starters, Umea produced the two most favoured cars in the Rally, the 2.3-litre Alfa-Romeo, driven by Trevoux and Chinetti, and Donald Healey’s Triumph “Dolomite.” Both cars had no difficulty, needless to say, in the wintry conditions of Sweden, but Healey’s run was brought to a speedy and highly alarming conclusion when his car collided with a train at a level crossing in Denmark. The Triumph was completely destroyed, but the driver and mechanic were thrown clear and escaped with a shaking. Another English driver, H. E. Symons, on a supercharged N-type M.G. Magnette, collided with a cyclist in Copenhagen, but was able to continue after convincing the police that the cyclist was at fault.
Conditions in Sweden varied from warm weather and thaw in the north to snow, fog and cold in the south. There was also fog in Denmark and snow in Germany.
Even as far south as Brignoles the cold was intense. The Stavanger Contingent met with much bad weather, and the snow and ice encountered on the first part of the
journey made the winding road between -Stavanger and Oslo even more severe than usual. From Helsingborg they followed the same route as the people from Umea. The junction of the roads was marked by considerable confusion, as the ferry service between Sweden and Denmark was seriously disorganised by the large number of cars awaiting transport. It was anticipated that the LubliaVienna section of the Palermo route: where the cars had to ascend several passes in the Dolomites, would give trouble, but at least 7 cars failed to reach Padua in North Italy. From what one
gathers here, the Futa and Radicofani Passes provided much of the difficulty, while the South Italian roads are still bad enough to cause trouble to unprepared cars.
News from Athens and Bucharest is still hard to come by, but of the 4 starters from Bucharest, none reached Belgrade. Rupert Riley (Riley) retired at Lamia in Central Greece where his car went off the road and went over the edge of a mountain pass, and the Dragoman Pass is expected to be the cause of the failure of the others. Lwow, that curiously named town in Poland, again proved the Waterloo of the Bucharest entries, for the snow on the only road was nearly six feet deep, and nothing but a caterpillar sledge could hope to get through. It is confidently expected the figure of-eight test to morrow, Trevoux and Chinetti will secure premier honours with their Mille Miglia Alfa-Romeo. After that, a keen struggle between the Railton Terraplanes of Ribeira-Ferrara and S. C. H. Davis and the numerous V8 Fords is certain, while Symons’ blown
Ridley’s Triumph, and Hobbs’ Riley may also provide a welcome British victory. The final order of the Monte Carlo Rally was this year determined on the results of an easy-starting
test, for which a maximum of 5 marks was awarded, and a Figure of Eight test for demonstrating acceleration, braking and lock, in which marks for the total time were deducted from a maximum of 100. The tests, though of a slightly ” gymkhana ” nature, seemed on the whole satisfactory, but brought about a surprising result through eliminating both Trevoux on the Alfa-Romeo, and Symons on the M.G. Magnette. Ridley’s performance in the Triumph was very creditable, while Whalley again succeeded in capturing fifth place on his Ford.
After the arrival of the cars on Wednesday morning, their bonnets were sealed and they were placed in a” closed park,” actually a railed-off enclosure on the Quai de Plaisance until the next day. There were 103 cars in all, and they went through their starting tests in batches of twenty or so, and were then sent round to the start of the ” Wiggle-Woggle” on the Quai Albert I. Cathcart-Jones was the first to make hie appearance at the” Figure of Eight,” and went through the manmuvres. quite
steadily. A Chevrolet followed, carrying out evolutions with the usual American “Atlantic Roll,” while a following Chrysler failed to complete the “8,” and had to reverse. Then the first excitement occurred, for Grant Ferris, who had taken through an old 3-litre Bentley from Stavanger, approached the first reversing point at speed, locked a front wheel and skidded into the stands, bringing down a complete section, and throwing several spectators on to the track. They were not badly hurt, but the track was flooded with water from the burst radiator.
Whalley ‘on his Ford was not disturbed by this ; bumped manfully on the sandbags in the reverse and shot round the “Figure of Eight” with no sway at all, thanks to his almost solid shock absorbers. In contrast to him was a little supercharged Peugeot, which had two shots at reversing and skated all over the place on the “round about.” Lahaye’s Renault stood out as the best so far, making the manceuvres fast and without skidding ; likewise Schell’s Delahaye. In contrast to these were most of the American cars, notably a Studebaker,
which squeaked, rolled and touched the sandbanks in the most sickening way. The Fords, of which there were many, did not seem on the whole as fierce as last year’s cars ; while the Singers, which took the ” Figure of Eight” in second, were not spectacular. A Fiat was noticeable for the remarkably small turning circle it displayed.
The easy-starting test had, so far, not given much trouble, but many of the cars had been left with the chokes in, with possibilities of flooded cylinders ; and Hobbs and Griffiths on Rileys, and S. C. H. Davis and Ribeiro Ferreira on the Railton Terraplanes seemed to have difficulty in starting. Symons on the M.G. Magnette was most unfortunate of all, for he found his battery switch had in some unaccountable way got switched off, but with commendable sangfroid he thought out his problem and the motor leapt into life at the touch of the starter. This group also were unlucky with the
” Figure of Eight’ test, for Hobb’s car was well handled but seemed rather sluggish; Griffiths’ lacked reverse, causing him to get out and push it ; while Davis found one of his front brakes locking approaching the first braking point, and he bumped the sandbags heartily. It was nothing, however, to the manceuvres of his Portuguese colleague, who skidded completely round, knocked over the first beacon, reversed back over it at speed, and drove away smiling at the disapproval of the officials. Symons was very fast up to the first reverse point, where he came gently against the sandbags ; again very rapid through the ” 8,” but rammed the bank down at the bottom end. He found afterwards that a ball-race had cracked, possibly through strains of the llama trip and the hard locking-over occasioned by the” Figure of Eight.”
A group of British competitors then held the field, headed by Ridley, who made a polished display. Lord de Clifford (Lagonda Rapier) equally neat, but lacking in acceleration ; and’ Browning, on the big Graham, which he got round without reversing. Madame Siko made good use of her Triumph ; Minshall fairly lashed in the gears of his Singer ; ‘Moore took his A.C. through quickly without being spectacular ; while Icessels was neat and rapid on a Hilhnan Minx. In contrast to these cars Carriere’s supercharged Peugeot was incredibly noisy but not noticeably faster. All was then set for Trovoux on the 2.3 Alfa,. which appeared on paper a certain winner. It .got away quite slowly but approached the stands going well. As
soon as Trevoux touched the brake pedal, however, the off-side front wheel locked, and the car charged straight into the sandbags below the stands. No damage was done, but one could not help feeling sorry for the rather forlorn figure who stepped out and surveyed the end of his hopes.
After a good run by a closed Rover, driven by Wilhnott, which showed a surprising lock and very powerful brakes, Miss Allan too made a competent run on her A.C. saloon. The test was then dominated for some time by large American saloons of various unsuitable makes, which dipped, squeaked and shuddered in their usual distressing manner. At the same time, one must admire the skill of the drivers, who cornered with such abandon, quite indifferent to the fact that their front wheels and their fat tyres were at all angles to the bodywork. One of the best efforts was made by Count Lubienski, who took his large open Panhard car round with surprising skill and without reversing, quite undeterred when his front bumper fouled the front tyre.
About this time, too, there seemed a surprising run of bad driving, some people omitting to make two turns on the ” Figure of Eight” or to reverse ; while Van Marken, on a Talbot ” 105,” forgot all about the turns and drove to the end of the course before realising that something more was required of him. A numerous band of drivers from John o’Groats brought proceedings nearly to an end, but nothing spectacular was noted amongst them. The chef d’reuvre,
the V.8 Ford motor coach, was left to the end, and though its manceuvring was not too rapid, as may be imagined, the obstacles did not suffer badly.
Comparing the test with that of last year, the small turning circle seemed to work quite happily without imposing impossible conditions on the cars, and the general formula gives little cause for complaint. We have still to find a large car quite the match for the continental touring car, or are our drivers perhaps a little lacking in clash ? Anyhow, Triumphs have again proved the quality of the British small car, which is something well worth doing.
1. Lahaye-Quatresous (5,540 c.c. Renault) S.
2. Ridley (1,232 c.c. Triumph) U.
3. Mme. Schell (3,312 c.c. Delahaye) S.
4. Guyot (5,540 c.c. Renault) T.
5. Whaley (3,622 c.c. Ford) S.
6. Linders (3,622 c.c. Ford) U.
7. Bakker (3,622 c.c. Ford) T.
8. Rouxel (1,465 c.c. Peugeot) S. Starting points :—S. = Stavanger. T. = Tallinn. U. = Umea.
LIGHT CAR CLASS.
1. Ridley (Triumph).
2. Rouxel (Peugeot).
3. Husem (Fiat).
4. Minshall (Singer).
Mme. Marinovitch (Ford). Mrs. Molander (Plymouth). Mlle. du Foust (Triumph). Miss Allan (A.C.) .