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GREAT WEST M.C.
The Great West Motor Club opened the 1936 season with its Hayward Trophy Trial on January 12.
A seven-mile course was tackled twice, the start being from The Cricketerrs Arms, Bagshot. Bagshot Common caused much bother. F. A. Thatcher (M.G. Magnette) and W. L. Jackson (Frazer-Nash) were outstanding on the first section, and again on the second section, where W. E. C. Greenleaf’s Ford Ten was also good. Only one first-class award was secured—by Jackson’s FrazerNiash.
RESULTS Tankard : H. A. Nash
Hayward Tankard : H. A. Nash (Talbot). Ladies’ Award : Miss D. Tilt (Triumph). Team Award : A. C. Westwood, R. Sandford and
S. G. Tett (Balilla Fiat Team). First-class Award : W. L. Jackson (Frazer-Nash). Third-class Awards : A. C. Westwood (Fiat);
S. G. Tett (Fiat); D. Palmer (Ford VS).
BUGATTI OWNERS’ CLUB
As is customary, the Bugatti Owners’ Club has announced its fixtures for the complete season’s activities.
On Sunday, April 5, the Opening Rally will take place at The Haycock at Wansford, the previous venue at Malvern being too far from London for some members’ motors. This event allows members to re-unite after the winter, mellowed by a good lunch, and it counts towards the Victor I,udorum Trophy. It is usually followed by an impromptu hillclimb or appearance contest.
On May 17th, the seventh MonteHoniton-Carlo Rally will be run off, in which competitors choose their own starting points and routes to Honiton, and endeavour to cover a really big mileage. Arrived at Honiton, the cars are checked for mechanical shortcomings, as on the Monte Carlo Rally, and then compete in a speed hill-climb in the grounds of Mr. Richard Marker’s beautiful estate. Competitors then proceed to Siclmouth for lunch. As this interesting event was not too well supported last year, provision is to be made for those who wish to drive direct to Honiton and merely run in the hill-climb.
June 20th is reserved for a Speed Hillclimb, which will probably be a really ambitious event, on real Shelsley lines, at a venue about thirty miles from London.
July 12th will be occupied by a Gymkhana on a piece of ground off the Barnet By-pass, and August 15th is reserved for the Lewes Speed Trials. On October 24th and 25th, the Welsh Trial will be held, competitors rallying to Wales on the Saturday and tackling the 200-miles trials route on the Sunday, which embraces some very severe hills but avoids mud-sections. The very adventurous 200-mile trial by night will once again be staged on November 21st, with the Annual Dinner-Dance on December 4th.
A few new members continue to be elected each month. ” Bugantics ” is now in its fifth volume, the January, 1936 issue containing an account of the Night Trial, an article entitled ” Bugatti Types I Have Owned,” by K. W. Bear, last year’s Victor Ludorum winner, and the twelfth article of W. Boddy’s ” Special Bugatti Types ” series, which deals with Mr. L. G. Bachelier’s 4.9litre supercharged Grand Sport. Hon. Sec. : E. L. Giles, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair, W.1.
STANDARD CAR OWNERS’ CLUB
The South-Eastern Section of the Standard Car Owners’ Club reports a successful and enjoyable season in 1935. The 1936 programme is new under consideration, and four new members were elected recently. A benefactor wishing to hide his, or her, identity under the nom de plume of ” Norma ” has presented a special cup for the best performance by a member of the South-Eastern Section during 1936.
A working system has been drawn up, finishers and marshals in the year’s competitions not being overlooked. Hon. Sec. : C. C. W. Burrage, Grand Buildings, Trafalgar Square, London, W.C.2. Telephone : Whitehall 2201.
The Sunbac club announces that its well-known and popular trials will be repeated this season, including the Colmore Cup, the Colmore Trophy, the Team Trial, the Sutton Cup Trial and the Vesey Trial. In addition, invitations are anticipated, as has been the case in the past, from the N.W. London, Light Car, Singer, Bristol and M.G. Car Clubs.
The Colmore Cup and Cohnore Trophy Trials are due to take place during February, but definite fixtures have not been allotted in the R.A.C. Calendar. Gen. J. D. Woodhouse, 10, Warwick Chambers, Corporation Street, Birmingham. Telephone : Mid. 5255.
The ” Exeter ” was in good, traditional form this year, the rain, which fell in real ” Hollywood ” intensity all night, adding to the difficulties of the run. And those who say that no mechanical trouble overtakes competitors in modern trials must have been surprised when thirty-six competitors failed to check-in at the finish. So far as the writer of these notes is concerned. the Twenty-First ” Exeter ” will long be remembered, when lesser trials have been forgotten. Taking over the task of navigator in a saloon Ford Ten, a restful, post-Christmas week-end seemed assured. Ales, a mile or two beyond Exeter, after we had been on time at every check, and had made good use of our 21-hours breakfast stop in the town, the head-gasket decided that it had had enough of an alloy head and 5
lb. of supercharge, and it ” blew ” forthwith between cylinders one and two. Back in Exeter, the crew parked in a deserted garage and took the blower off, removed the head, fitted a standard C. of A. gasket, replaced everything, changed the ” comp.” tyres and washed in twoand-a-half hours. We set out again expecting to reach London town at a reasonable hour, first bidding good-bye to Tenbosch, whose Balilla Fiat was in the same garage and sans rear axle—the result of an argument with solid rock beyond Simms.
Needless to relate, the standard gasket ” blew ” beyond Shaftesbury, and we spent a wretched night chewing gum and filling-up every ten miles, finally covering the last fifty miles on the water trapped in the cylinder-block. We got to London at 4.30 a.m. on the Sunday, and straightaway went to sleep—the first for some forty-five hours. I heard, subsequently, that Tenbosch beat us to it !
Apart from the Fiat’s bent rear axle and the L.M.B.-Ford’s blown gasket, Manton’s old 3-litre Sunbeam, which had twin rear wheels, broke its axle, Denis Evans’ Magnette sheared a crown wheel,. Denyer’s Lea-Francis a differential pinion, and Summerfield’s Midget vital parts of its gear-box.
Once again the scare is going round that trials are proceeding in the wrong uirection, and that their future is far from rosy. Personally, I believe that there is very little amiss with the smaller events, which are well supported, save that there are far too many events, the results of which are of short-lived interest. In an interesting article in a contemporary, a writer showed that the classic contests fail to attract a ‘1 repeat ” entry year by year, and he quoted figures to prove that this was serious.
However, it should not be overlooked that whereas members of the smaller clubs are often content to run in trial after trial in company with fellow-members throughout the season, the classic M.C.C. events attract many Of those who take the sport more seriously, and who often take up racing after gaining experience in these big trials. That may account for quite a considerable reduction in the number of former competitors, while expense is another item, those persons who have had one shot at a ” classic ” not always having the wherewithal to run regularly in events occupying a whole holiday week-end and embracing, with the return run, a rather expensive mileage. As to trials conditions, I feel that little can be done. Some of us may feel that screaming good motors up muddy grades gets a bit stale after a time. Yet, short of running a three or four-day event over
the worst Welsh or Scottish hills, with numerous special tests thrown in, it is absolutely impossible to reproduce the conditions prevailing fifteen years ago, when sheer gradient conquered, and more than half the entry fell out with severe mechanical trouble. And it is certain that very few private owners would welcome the expense arising therefrom. So we must continue to enlist the aid of mud and slime as a ” stopper.” But I do think that “freak ” driving and special tests might be reduced in number, their place being taken by lengthy sections of timed-acceleration tests. Providing that speeds do not tend to rise to speed hill-climb level and, in particular, that big-engined motors and the ” blown brigade ” are in some way handicapped, a long timed section is surely a finer test of car and driver than fifteen yards from a stand-still tackled on equal terms by the whole entry? But organisers must remember that an accident would be very unpleasant ” in the wilds “• with no aid in the vicinity, apart from ” putting paid,” in all probability, to the most active branch of motoring sport. Long, timed runs should only be staged on steep hills having no sharp drops away from the road, and if spectators arrive, marshals should be sent to look after them. Timing of longish sections stands a chance of being accurate ! Reverting to the article referred to above, I felt the writer’s ideal of more normal hills, and the banning of solid axles, ” comp.” tyres and special ” slimevanquishing ” equipment generally, to be good, but sadly impractical. The modern
car, with efficient engine and very low gear-ratio, is not easy to defeat ! And ordinary hills of sufficient severity would, I imagine, be difficult to find so situated that a trial could pass over them without inconvenience to other traffic. It would be interesting to have readers’ opinions or. these matters, and suggestions for a course which, without embracing freak surfaces and slime, would ‘be in any wa‘y worth tackling with modern cars. Retirements no longer add to the honour of coming through clean—how many. occur in the normal, short-distance trial?
No, the route itself must provide the hazards, and I see little possibility of dispensing with slime and/or bad surfaces.
Not that slime, is slime, cannot be interesting to tackle. Indeed, there is no accounting for the variations that mudsurfaces can assume. In the recent N.W. London versus Kentish Border Match Trial, I was passenger in a Centricblown M.G. Midget with solid axle. Normally this little car is a very effective job over a trials course. Its engine was in good fettle, with plenty of revs., the comp. tyres and weight carried were as usual, its driver right on form. Yet, with the slime as it was on that day, our motor just wouldn’t play ! Is it any wonder that so many methods are adopted by trialsrnen, or that the trials ” star ” is ever changing? Just at present, the overbored M.G. Magnettes with mild supercharge seem the most effective hillflatteners, with the totally-different, light, unblown Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.s their match in everything save short acceleration tests against the watch. The VS
Ford, too, if a shade temperamental in the matter of spinning its wheels, has had a good and effective innings! Yet who knows what the position will be in six months time?
The new 4.4 Morgan is attracting interest as a possible trials car. Its initial appearance in the ” Exeter ” resulted in a Premier with no apparent fuss at all.
An interesting entry in the Great West M.C. Bagshot Trial was F. R. G. Spikins’ Spikins-Hudson-Special, which had a supercharged, much modified Hudson straight-eight motor, and ran with twin rear wheels. It will be run at Shelsley and elsewhere. Another trialsentry intended for sterner stuff was K. B. Shaw’s British Salmson, which is destined for Brooklands, in the N.W. London match event.
” Can route-cards be dispensed with to improve trials “? questioned a writer a few weeks ago. This writer says quite definitely ” no “! It is poor fun to lose the route in a trial, because marshals do not wait for one at the hills and special tests. Route-card reading may amuse the navigator, but is usually worrying to the driver, who is fearful of going astray and more or less obliged to rely upon shouted instructions from a seemingly indifferent passenger—who, poor fellow, is only doing his very best. Personally, I am always mighty relieved when a trial on which I am going as passenger (ballast-ed I) turns out to be
a ” follow-my-leader affair.”