Reports of Recent Events, February 1947

N.W.L.M.C. Gloucester Trial
The results of this classic event were as follows. We commend to other clubs the grading of awards so that cars in different capacity classes were on an equal footing.
Gloucester Cup: M. Wick, 3,917-c.c. Allard.
Committe Cup: Best performance over 1,100 c.c. and under 2,000 c.c.: W. P. Uglow, 1,496-c.c. H.R.G.
Thomas Challenge Cup: Best performance by a car under 1,100 c.c.: K. Wharton, 900 c.c. Wharton “Special.”
Team Award: North-west London M.C. “A” team: S. H. Allard, 3,917-c.c. Allard; M. Wick, 3,917-c.c. Allard; and G. L. Burroughs, 3,622-c.c. Ford.
First-Class Awards: S. H. Allard, 3,917-c.c. Allard; H. Birkett, 747-c.c. Austin; K. C. Delingpole, 1,497-c.c. H.R.G.; D. Murkett, 939-c.c. M.G.(S); K. Hutchison, 3,622-c.c. Allard; E. J. Newton, 1,496-c.c. H.R.G.
Second-Class Awards: G. N. Mansell, 3,917-c.c. Allard; E. W. K. Lund, 930-c.c. M.G.(S); K. J. Murton, 1,496-c.c.; T. C. G. Butler, 1,991c.c. Starkadder Special.
Third-Class Awards: A. M. R. Mallock, 747-c.c. Austin; C. Yates, 1,172-c.c. Austin; L. Parker, 4438-c.c. Allard; W. V. Kethro, 847-c.c. K.K. “Special”; G. W. Best, 939-c.c M.G. (S).

Bristol M.C. & L.C.C. Half-Day Sporting Trial
The first hill, Downton Lane, preceded by a slow-running test over a mere two feet. This caused 13 failures, small cars with fierce clutches being at a disadvantage; most of the Allards displayed excellent docility. The three sections of Uplands were in fine fettle, but C. C. Evans’ Starkadder (A.C. Six-engined 1923 G.N.-Special) went up them splendidly, as did Best’s “PB” blown M.G. and Murkett’s H.R.G.
Best Performance: G. W. Best, 939-c.c. M.G.(S).
First-Class Awards: K. E. 0. Burgess, Allard; C. C. Evans, Starkadder “Special!; C. A. N.May, Ford “Special.”
Second-Class Awards: L. Parker, Allard; J. H. Appleton, Allard; K. J. Murton, H.R.G.

Chiltern C.C. Tourist Trial
This event, held regularly before the war, was arranged so that family saloons could compete fairly against sports cars. There were three special tests and a six-mile observed section over which a 17-m.p.h. average had to be maintained, in a 20-mile route. 41 entries came in, and only two non-started. Hancock’s Singer won the Open-Car class from Eckett’s M.G. and Taylor’s M.G., while Derrick’s Standard scored amongst the closed cars, beating Tett’s Morris and Johnson’s Triumph.

Hants & Berks M.C. Night Trial
This event was notable in a number of ways. In the first place, considerable onus was placed on a good navigator, as the route could only be followed by knowledge of the grid system of location, but this enabled batches of cars to be sent along different parts of the course, so minimising delays and inconvenience and also preventing competitors from becoming completely lost, as happens with a fixed route indicated by a route card. Then a distinct attempt was made by Holland Birkett, the organiser, to amuse the customers by taking them to checks in eerie and unusual places endowed with “local colour.” Thus the instructions named a 12th-century castle, the South Gate of Calleva Atrebatum, a centre of pre-historic civilisation, a railway station, a famous beauty spot a gibbet and a haunted mill with “floor unsafe for mortals.” Not only did passengers have to be efficient map-readers, but they were kept busy checking in — and one hopes warm thereby — for access to one check was via a five-barred gate and through a field, to another along a canal tow-path and stile. The railway station had been disused for some seventeen years and competitors drove along the remains of the line and checked-in between the platforms, at a control manned by a marshall in station-master’s uniform and using correct lamp and flags. The centre of historic civilisation was manned by two witches stirring a cauldron. In case it is thought that this trial resembled a comic event, it should be emphasised that there were two observed hills and a special test. Moreover, most of the controls were approached via difficult going which, although not observed, could make a competitor late at the next check. Failures in these areas were dealt with by other competitors who were baulked — as in the Monte Carlo Rally. The special test was an acceleration test through a long water-splash, stopping astride a line (with wet brakes). Competitors were only failed if they needed assistance after stopping in the splash, any method of self-rescue being permissible, and times were taken merely to sort out ties. An interested spectator was Colonel Sutton, who was responsible for the waterproofing of vehicles in Monty’s armies during the war! 46 entries were received, ranging from Hill’s 1912 Hispano-Suiza, four-up, through a 1921 Crossley and Packman’s 1927 Trojan (with full crew of B.O.A. navigators!) to modern machinery. At the finish of the 120-mile route at Fargoe Camp, where a meal was served, many tales of adventure were told, until people tended to droop into their sausages and mash. Davies sheared the fabric coupling in his Type 55 B.M.W.’s steering column, but slickly put in a spare, only to crash later. Willment’s Austin Seven ran into a bank and broke a king-pin, and Park’s Lancia “Lambda” got badly bogged off the route. The water-splash stopped a Ford Ten, Wadsworth’s Ford V-8 “Special,” Jane’s shortened Lancia “Lambda,” and a “12/50” Alvis. Wadsworth used his starter, the Alvis crew pushed out, but were hours restarting, the others had to be towed. Wharton, with full crew in an Austin Ten “Cambridge” saloon, was very impressive, and Welfare (Austin Seven) and an M.G. crew waterproofed their engines. Best time here was by Wharton in 15.2 sec., while Welfare, French (Austin Seven), and Urquhart (S.S.) took 16 sec., and Moore’s Lancia “Aprilia” 16.2 sec. Packman’s Trojan took 18.2 sec., in spite of changing up, and Hill’s Hispano-Spiza 19.2 sec.

Urquhart and Moore both faltered momentarily after entering the water at speed; average time of those who took the test was 20.8 sec. Competitors were blessed by fine weather and a moon, but retirements were frequent, including Richards (Triumph) with electrical failure, and Maton’s Morris Eight which broke its crankcase. There were some refreshing features about this trial and although it provided a distinctly novel and amusing night’s sport it was not by any means outside the realm of serious motoring competition. We hope this unique trial will become an annual fixture of the Hants and Berks M.C.

Best Performance of the Night: E. Brandon (M.G.-T.C.), 65 marks lost — his navigator also receives an award.
First-Class Awards: L. M. Bellamy (F.W.D. Citroen), 121 marks lost; R. Hellyer (Singer), 131 marks lost; T. Bellm (Ford Eight), 137 marks Lost; P. Clark (Nordec-Ford, o/c.), 142 marks lost.
Second-Class Awards: Simpson (P.B.-M.G.), 147 marks lost: J. French (Austin Seven), 156 marks lost; Dr. Ewen (Delage), 161 marks lost, 19 sec. In test; W. Hill (Hispano-Suiza), 161 marks lost. 19.2 sec. in test.