A REALLY DIFFICULT ” GLOSTER “
THE 14 OBSERVED HILLS CAUSE ENDLESS DELAY. THE TRIAL FINISHES 5 HOURS LATE. MUTTON, OLD HOLLOW, JUMPER AND NAILSWORTH LADDER ALL TAKE A HEAVY TOLL. TRICKY CONDITIONS AT THE SPECIAL TESTS ON BISMORE, OLD HOLLOW AND FERRIS COURT.
THE planning of a good trial is no easy matter nowadays. If the weather is fine, and the hills correspondingly dry, the whole thing can easily become a ” walk-over” for modern sports cars equipped with competition tyres. The two ways of remedying this are by having special tests, and by increasing the number of hills. But the latter method can wreck the best-laid organisation should heavy rain fall, reducing time-schedules to a farce.
This is what happened in the London to Gloucester Trial last month. C. F. Dobson, of the N.W. London M.C., had planned a really good course, with three observed hills during the night section and eleven more the next day. In addition there were four special tests, and the whole route was 211 miles in length. But we have not mentioned the rain, which assisted Dobson to a most powerful degree, some of the hills being so bad that the long trail of cars fell more and more behind their time schedule until the last man was no less than five hours late in arriving at the finish. Rain was coming down in bucketfuls at Staines, where the competitors assembled at the Bridge House Hotel, the starting point. Bearing in mind that the weather during the preceding week had been far from good, seasoned competitors anticipated the ordeal before them with distinct misgivings. Out of an entry of 172 cars, all but 10 turned up on the night of December 8th. Of
these, 72 were members of the promoting club—a good figure—and the rest came from the invited clubs : M.G., Singer, Sunbac, Cambridge University, Light Car, W.A.S.A., and Brighton and Hove Clubs. Maiden’s Grove, as usual, was the first hill to be climbed, and in spite of the gay time, but took it all as part of the rainy conditions this once-difficult gradient day’s, or rather night’s, work. Then came did not cause a great deal of trouble. Old Stanway, where a restart test involving
It was here that the Evans trio met with disaster with their new team of ” N ” Ma.gnettes, for Doreen’s car was boiling badlyand refused to climb. Investigation in rain and darkness revealed electrical trouble, so Denis and Kenneth towed the
car to Oxford, regretfully abandoning the trial. Rain, nothing but rain, made the halt for coffee at Chipping Norton more than usually welcome for those with open cars. Hardy Laird and his wife in the very-open McEvoy Special were having a far from
acceleration for 20 yards in a minimum time of 8 seconds was held. The dark and desolate scene was illuminated by the glare of several headlamps mounted on posts, and the marshals dealt with the big field with commendable expedition. The gradient was not steep enough to stop many people, but S.S. were marked as failures. Henry Laird, just to show how little he cared for the rain, shot away like a rocket and was quite the quickest of all. One more hill had to be faced before the breakfast stop at Cheltenham, viz., Kineton, but no one had much difficulty in getting up. The only other incident of the night run was the long battle against loss of water waged by R. C. Morris (Alvis) whose lament might very well have been—” water, water everywhere, and never a drop for the car.”
The hearty breakfast provided by the Plough Hotel, Cheltenham, put new life into everyone, and spirits soared even higher when it was seen that the rain had actually ceased. And so to Bismore, for a special test which put an immediate end to the hopes of many as far as premier awards were concerned. The surface was sticky, and the cars had to accelerate to a point half-way up the hill and stop between two lines. Then, without any signal, they had to restart and continue nonstop to the top. The timed section came to an end when Lord de Clifford dropped his flag just before the left-hand bend. As was to occur throughout the trial, the early numbers had the best of the surface, and soon a nasty pit developed on the right of the restarting point, into which many a back wheel slipped and spun wildly. Actually 30 cars could not restart and had to be pushed, while 25 more were inaccurate in pulling up between the lines and getting away. Probably the fastest climb was that of J. H. Summerfield, with his supercharged ” P “type M.G. Midget, while other good performances we noticed were those of
Mrs. Needham (Ford V8), H. B. Shaw (M.G. Magnette), H. Laird (McEvoy Special) and several other M.G., Singer and Ford drivers.
Hutton came next, and those who remembered the hill from 1932 were quite aware of -what they were in for. A queue quickly formed at the foot of the hill while failures were slowly removed. In all 70 people stopped, mostly through being unable to gain enough speed to climb the gradient immediately following the right-hand corner. The later numbers were still further troubled by deep ruts on the corner itself, which reduced their speed and left them in an unprepared state to tackle a really .steep ascent. Too much speed, however, only resulted in striking the wall, which was accomplished by R. G. Percival (Ford VS) and J. F. Orgee (M.G. Midget). It was difficult to single out individual climbs for mention, but Laird (McEvoy Special), J. A. M. Patrick (Singer), H. M. Avery (Singer), and the rest of the usual Singer representatives, J. D. Barnes, J. R. H. Barker, and A. B. Langley all madv fast and confident ascents. As a whole the Singers, Fords and M.G.s were good, and we liked the climbs of Guy Warburton (Vauxhall 30/98) and F. S. Hutchens (Wolseley Hornet).
QuarhOuse, hard by, was not difficult and allowed the disjointed field to join up a bit once more. About a round dozen failed, but Ham Hill did better with 33 stoppages. This hill was more to the liking Of Frazer Nashes, which were undisturbed by the mud, and roared up in grand style.
The next hill was some distance away, but soon caused congestion and delay. Old Hollow is quite bad enough as an observed hill when wet, but Dobson had decided to stiffen things up by holding . a restart test on the steepest section. The trouble was that Many people could not even manage to reach the restarting line An early number was again an enormous advantage, and the fastest times were made by those in the first
half of the entry. Quickest of all was Miss P. Good ban, with her Singer, a most creditable show. She handled her car with determined skill. As the day wore on the surface grew steadily worse, until even Ford V8’s were finding extreme difficulty in getting away.
Terrible tales had been told of Juniper Hill. In a trial a few weeks previously no one had succeeded in getting up. The hill proper was in such a terrible state, however, that the lower by-pass lane was used, a row of arrows and
notices giving warning to the competitors not to attempt the deep mud under the trees. But the by-pass was very tricky, and the delay soon mounted up. The first few cars climbed without a failure among them, but then the usual tale of stoppages was told. Starting right by the main road the gradient was sufficient to cut down speed, to say nothing of the mud. Many people set off in ‘fine style, flat out in low gear, but after a while the hill echoed to the unmistakable ” sawmill ” sound of wheels spinning in the mud. R. C. Morris placed his passengers on the tail of his Alvis, standing on each side of the chassis frame, but even this did not prevent wheelspin. Then W. G. Lockhart bogged his Talbot ” 10 s” quite firmly, one wheel slipping down the bank. Concentrated man-power finally removed him. The Fords came up well, C, G. Fitt being among the best. The two ” stopping ” places on the hill were half-way up, where the gradient stiffened, and right at the very top, within a yard or so of victory. D. P. M. Hall (Frazer-Nash) was caught in this way after going well, but another Nash driven by John Tweedale did not get so far. He came past the point where we were standing driving confidently and with care. A few yards further on, however, the car gave a little sideways hop through meeting a bad camber and in a trice the whole outfit had slipped over the foot-high bank and was turning over. It disappeared from sight, apparently to roll down the hillside to the roadway again, but when we arrived on the scene the car was found to be on ” all fours,” having made one complete revolution. Tweedale was still in his seat, while his passenger was sitting on the ground caressing a bruised leg. The windscreen, which was
fortunately up, had saved the driver, and the aero-screens were not even cracked ! After this the drivers came up with a fixed do-or-die expression on their faces, while the passengers edged away
D at their elbows. R. A. I.G.) gave his usual good we noticed that the rial drivers found the hill their capabilities. J. W. ) made a model Climb, nuch throttle ; the Morris by W. E. C. Greenleaf made the hill look easy ; (M.G.) just got up, after hiding of the steering wheel ; ier was first-class with a ” type Magnette ; H. M. ) was as geed as anyone ; (Bayliss-Thomas) roared .dliam held up proceedings ig time when her Ford V8 Lys into a gully ; and R. E. failed through waving cis.
After the Inn, the coin side of Chelt. near Prestburl section was pi and altogeth narrow lane, sharp left-ha them. Locklwith his Talb( difficulty.
Ferris Cour reverse side and the sarc An unusual f The man-wit top of Bism see both the finishing poh The hill was i last year. 1′ the hairpin w mud, which sl On the °the] approached danger, so dec the bank. Cars with change up in the starting li and up once second bend, the majority in low gear a was extremel his Singer Nir style. F. A. procedure, b on the bend firing slightly Fastest of all while other Miss Richards driven by A. f plenty of ” pep ” could to second gear after leaving no, down again for the bend, core on the stretch up to the which ended the run, but of drivers preferred tO stay Le whole way. FL M. Avery y snappy with the gears of le, getting up in magnificent Thatcher essayed the same at nearly came to a halt . His Magnette was mis, and upset his gear-change. was J. R. H. Baker (Singer), ;ood climbs were made by on (Ford 8V), Frazer-Nashes S. Whiddington, N. V. Terry,
t was then tackled, on the of the valley to Bismore, le officials were on duty. aethod of timing was used. h-the-watch stood at the pre, from where he could root of Ferris Court and the it on the second hairpin. a a very different state from his time the loose stuff on ‘as thickly coagulated with owed the cars tremendously. hand the bend could be really fast without the :eptive last year, of ramming (Sin from the tiro] Macdermid (1‘? display, and experienced t well within Bishop (M.G. without too Minors driver and T. Wagm Mrs. M. Riley considerable w F. A. Thatcl very nice ” N Avery (Singer W. J. Howai up ; Mrs. Ne( for a very lox slipped sidewa Sandland (Sin to some frien :heck at the White Swan petitors drove to the other mham to tackle Mill Lane. v. The start of the observed aced high up, by the quarry, .er 31 people found the vith its slippery surface and nd corner, too much for iart again held up things Dt, which was removed with
A Motoris t’s Diary.
A good dh equipment motoring seri the market published by House, Boro As its name s diary are co Association, The can rhe Tables most compr includes mar the British Is try is a useful item in the I motorists who take their :ously. One of the best on ; the A.A. Motorist’s Diary, Charles Letts & Co., Diary ugh Road, London, S.E. I. ,uggcts, the contents of this moiled by the Automobile and the information it therefore be depended upon. for Cost Records, etc., are ehensive, and the diary ty pages of road maps of
D. H. Murray, D. P. M. Hall, W. J. Green, and R. P. Stewart. Warburton was again quick with his ” 30;98,” and D. M. McGregor made an outstanding climb on an M. G. Magna. Half-way through the trial a stream overflowed at the top of the hill and ran down the whole way, loosening the surface. The last cars, by the way, had to climb in the dark.
Station Lane was easy and did not stop anyone. It is a longish hill, muddy and bumpy, with two bends. Iles Lane has lost its sting. A couple of years ago. cars floundered and stuck in all directions, and the horses were in constant demand.
But this time a mere six failures were all that could be recorded. Finally, the exhausted competitors arrived at the most difficult hill of the lot, Nailsworth Ladder. The marshals here had the wearisome task of dealing with cars that arrived at widely spaced intervals, and their job lasted until 8 o’clock that night instead of the scheduled 3 o’clock ! Fortunately the Ladder has very good facilities for disposing of failures. Those who stop low down can be reversed and sent down again. If they stop higher up, there is plenty of room for an army of pushers to gather round the car, and there is no danger of cars becoming bogged or ditched and consequently blocking the fairway. The surface was in a pretty bad state on December 9th, causing quite a lot of
Austin Seven Owners get together.
The Austin Seven will rank in history as a. classic car. Ask any owner ; he is certain to be enthusiastic. Now these owners, or at least some of them, have combined themselves into a Club, and the first general meeting will be held on January 5th, at 6.30 p.m., at 13A, Exchange Mansions, Muswell lull, London, N.10. An Acting Committee has already been formed, composed of Messrs. VV. Gallucci, R. Gallucei, and E. ClaytonSmith. Mr. Clayton-Smith is the Acting
wheelspin. And of course it steadily deteriorated as the day wore on. There were many good climbs, and special praise must be given to four ladies in Miss Richardson, Miss Goodban, Miss Daniell and Mrs. Riley, for making the best of bad conditions. The Ladder suits V8 Fords, and they all shot up in that characteristically silent fashion. The Singers had a good many successes, as did M.G.s, Singers and Frazer /Cashes. Baker and Langley on Singer Sixes were fast, as were Avery and A. B. Langley On Nines. ” Captain” 13arnes failed, however, owing to a lack of competition
tyres, and A. H. Langley was caught in the ” wheelspin patch” on his Nine. M. H. Scott (M.G. Magnette) made a good M.G. climb. And so it went on, long after darkness fell, while the ” Bear” on Rod borough Common received the finishers with hospitality most welcome after their long and arduous journey. It was only natural that fatigue and the long deluge should give rise to a certain amount Of criticism of the trial. But a later view revealed the difficulties with which the organisers had to contend. In their efforts to make the trial a memorable one they planned a rout which, but for the excessive rain of the preceding days, would have been nicely discriminating in its results. Unfortunately, the 1934 ” Gloucester” will chiefly be remembered for its delays—and Old Hollow I Secretary, and all enquiries should be sent to him at the above address
This is final.
After reversing their previous decision as to the winners Of the Inter-Varsity Trial, the Stewards of the Meetinghave found a fault in the formula, with the result that Oxford have been declared the winners after all ! They win by 99 marks to 53. In the words of the .C.U.A.C. Secretary : “This is final.” But what would happen if some inquisitive person should find another ” undiscovered ” fault in the formula ?