The 750 M.C. and W. Hants & Dorset C.C. combined to hold their All-Corners’ trial on Army ground near Christchurch on January 17th. The organisation fell on the broad shoulders of Arthur Mallock, himself a keen builder of 750 Formula cars. An excellent entry of 55 cars was obtained, divided into seven “specials,” 20 sports or special cars, 15 normal cars driven by experts and 13 normal cars driven by novices. Incidentally, superstition seems to be less evident these days, for once again a No. 13 ran, Tokely’s M.G. Magnette carrying this number.
The hills were steep and, after a dry winter, sandy of surface. Many of the normal cars found them virtually impossible and would have faired better with a run at the “sections,” as we proved by entering a Ford Popular, but certainly the hills were hardly of a damaging nature. Finding one’s way about the ground was quite difficult but the terrain lends itself admirably to this form of competition and some complicated and amusing special tests were staged in the quarry, normal cars being diverted to easier routes than those taken by the “specials,” simply by moving portable barriers.
At first, delays on “sections” caused hold-ups and it was an hour from starting-time before we attempted the first hill. Later things improved, and as dusk fell the finishers began to come into Hurn Airport for an excellent M. of C.A. tea.
A team of Volkswagens made an impressive array in the normal/experts category and they certainly showed up the English cars on this severe “cross-country” motoring. Michael Burn’s elderly example did very well indeed. Another impressive normal car was A. J. Home’s 1940 Standard Eight drophead coupé, its head dropped to reveal a charming girl passenger. Collins drove his doorless 1931 Austin Seven saloon with verve, A. Partridge handled a 1927 Austin Seven Chummy and E. Carter seemed to find his 1927 Austin Seven coupé better suited to level going. Where Javelin failed the VWs ascended strongly and a very fine show was put up by H. G. W. Kendrick’s 1953 Ford Popular, aided by snowgrip-type back tyres. Of the “specials,” David Small’s went well in spite of being sans cooling fan, and Walters, driving the ex-Onslow-Bartlett car with Vauxhall engine inclined on its side and a new radiator layout, was another effective performer.
Three-speed gearboxes were at a distinct disadvantage and in the thick sand of the special tests only the trials specials progressed efficiently, although one M.G. Midget was outstanding.
Surprise of the trial was the vast 6 1/2-litre Bentley fabric saloon, with enormous tank, driven by W. Nicholson. Not only did it ascend seemingly impossible sections, it accelerated up many of them! Jesty was finding his open Morris Minor apt to jib at seemingly easy sections and our Ford Popular did nothing to distinguish itself beyond gaining three out of four marks at the fourth hill. A. Baker’s Land Rover performed as his Land Rover generally does — most commendably.