VINTAGE SPORTS-CAR CLUB COTSWOLD TRIAL, NOVEMBER 27th
This annual invitation event attracted twenty-six entries, including four teams entered by the Vintage, Harrow, United Hospitals and Bugatti Owners’ Clubs. The placing Was in this order, the Vintage carrying off the S. C. H. Davis Cup by one mark. The team consisted of Miss Barbara Marshall’s assorted G.N., Denyer’s stout Lea-Francis and Heal’s
xersatile 30/98. Harrow had the misfortune for one of their team to park his sump on a stony prominence and the Bugatti Club team included Lind Walker’s fast 1k-litre G.P. Bug. running, complete with dope ! It was one of the very few cars to rise up Gypsy Lane without assistance. This hill incidentally proved the undoing of all the larger cars and outstanding climbs were made by Denver and Biggs with his blown 2-litre B.M.W. Miss Marshall only failed by the narrowest margin. Stony Lane only failed the Bugatti and at a special test at the top Biggs, Harris (M.G.), Denver and Heal were the four best, in that order. Heal’s performance was particularly good, considering the size of the car, and most of the big cars, including Bonne-Hills and Shakespeare’s saloon Bentleys, got into
fearful contortions. ” Porky ” Lees (erstwhile of ‘Nash fame) was also good on his 41-litre Bentley.
At the acceleration test WindsorRichards and Heal’s 30/98s did well to beat the blown B.M . W., which was third. Biggs made the best performance of the day, followed by Denyer, who wins the Harold Powell Cup. Other provisional award winners are as follows :—
Harris (M.G.), Miss Marshall (G.N.), Heal (30/98), Baddeley (Austin), and Chiridge (Frazer-Nash).
CHILTERN CAR CLUB
There were se,. ellteCD entries for the flaw Cup Trial held on the 4th of last month, but two non-starters reduced the field to fifteen cars. The start was from the Lambert Arms Hotel at Aston R.owant at 2 p.m. and competitors drove to a stop and re-start test on Bald Hill, where best times were put up by I). Kane (M.G. Eight s/c), 101 secs., H. Wood (Frazer-Nash-B.M.W. 16), 15.1 sees. This was followed by another timed test on the cross roads at the bottom of Maidens Grove, which consisted of a series of forward and reversing movements on the rather slippery ground. Five competitors lost marks by not carrying out the test correctly and best times were put up by B. D. Acland (M.G. ” N ” type sic), 24 secs., E. N. Bunting (M.G. 7), 26f secs., C. W. Taylor (M.G. 10 sic), 20, sees. The last movement of this test carried onto the short but sharp ascent of S4nindess with its chalky surface well inttrsected
by ruts. The hill was not in very bad condition. in spite of the passage of sixty cars over it on the Friday night and only two competitors failed here. The next hill was Scrubbs, where the observed section was arranged so that the cars had to make a sharp left hand turn before getting onto the mud at the bottom of this hill. This section, which has a very easy gradient, was not nearly as sticky as it can be, however, and only recorded.
two failures. Had this mud extended for a few yards further, though, four .other competitors would almost certainly have been brought to a standstill.
The next non-stop section, Widmere, was also in a mild mood and the only competitor to fail here would probably have climbed without difficulty had he not tried to take the corner at the bottom too fast and gone off the track. The last hill, however, was a very different story., This section, Seagi aye’s Farm, was a mass of thick mud on a fairly steep gradient and although several ears ploughed their way most of the way up, only one, H. Wood (Frazer-Nash-B.M.W.), made a clean climb. The short afternoon was drawing in rapidly by the time the last car attempted the ascent, but it was only a few miles: to the finish at the King’s Arms Hotel, Amersbam. The Daw ellp was won by E. N. Bunting
(M.G.). First-class Awards went to E. Wood (Frater-Nash-B.M.W.), B. D. Acland (M.G.) and C. W. Taylor (M.G. Fie), Second-class Awards to Miss M. V. Betts (M.G.),, S. E. Harman (M.G.), R. F. Meld (M.G.) and Third-class Awards to M. Zwick (Ford 30), D. Kane (M.G.).
The Club’s annual dance will be held on January 20th, 1939, at the Cartwheel, Amersham, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The next motoring event is the Mixed Trial on February 19th, an all-day tiial with non-stop observed sections in the morning and special rally type tests on
private ground in the afternoon. Five clubs have accepted invitations to take part, the M.G. Car Club, Junior Car Club, North-West London Motor Club, Standard Car Owners’ Club and the Ford Enthusiasts’ Club. All particulars can be obtained from the Chiltern Car Club, King’s Arms IlOtel, A mei sham, Bucks.
THE ROAD RACING CLUB’S CALENDAR FOR 1939
1.-;//1 April. -oronat ion Trophy for
racing-cars :–two heats and final—three group handicap.
Coronation Vase for sports-cars :short race—group handicap.
20th May. Sydenham Trophy for racingcars :—two heats and final—three group handicap.
Sydenham Vase for sports-cars :–short race—group handicap.
1st July. Crystal Palace Cup for racingears :–two heats and final-1,500 c.c. Scratch.
Crystal Palace Vase for sports-cars :— short race—group handicap.
12th August. Imperial Trophy for racing-cars :—two heats and final—three group handicap.
Imperial Vase for sports-cars :—short race—group handicap.
7th October, London Grand Prix for racing-cars :–two heats and final—three group handicap.
London Vase for sports-cars :—short race—group handicap.
N.B.—London Grand Prix date.
CITY AND GUILDS M.C.
The City and Guilds M.C. held a quite ambitious trial on December 17th, with two starting places, as far apart as the ” Ace of Spades” and Stafford, competitors meeting at I3icester. Old Hollow was to be tackled at about 5 a.m. but all but one competitor got lost and when the hill was finally located the marshals were partaking of a very ineffective two-shillings’ worth of food at the ” Bear” and so this bill was voted as cut out. Thereafter, the trial started in the best ‘varsity tradition as to time, i.e. when everyone was ready, and was conducted on a follow-my-leader run, led by Clerk-Of-the-Course H. L. Riseley (Hillman Minx saloon.) who was also a com petitor. The first hill was Ham Mill, divided into ten sections, as were the other gradients. Most of the Northern starters were missing, and we heard of one who had motored through the hedge in the night and of one who had lost the bottom bits of his Austin Seven’s carburetter. A Vauxhall Ten saloon with remarkably flexible suspension found the rocky outcrop in section one and failed and showed no very ready inclination to
restart. An onlooker said he expected the plug gaps were too wide. The Hillman got up well, Gordon’s 1925-type Morris Cowley tourer made section two, aided by a fairy on the hood, but dashed backwards after stopping, two Austin Seven chummies stopped where we expected they would stop and the only really good car climb was that of M. Laudet’s Wolseley-Hornet. T. N. Blockley (B.S.A. solo) and H. N. Toomey (Royal Enfield solo) lent the expert touch amongst the two-wheeler element. Nails
worth was attempted next. We saw Landet ascend nicely, but everyone else amongst the car entries seemed either to have become lost again or to have failed, and a B.M.W. motor-cycle fell over during its climb. Why competitors got so easily lost is not easy to explain, because the Guilds’ men had provided excellent blue-prints of the whole area. Incidentally, numbers were not used, identification letters indicating the particular University represented being employed instead. The trial led on to Station Lane and concluded at the ” Plough ” at Cheltenham. It
was hardly a serious event but very good fun and, for MOTOR SPORT, an excuse to go down yet again to a piece of country of which we are especially fond. RESULTS
First-Class Awards : M. P. Laudet (WolseleyHornet) ; H. L. Riseley (Hillman-Minx).
Second-Class Award : D. Baddeley (Austin Seven).
A USEFUL TYRE?
In trials circles a tyre is being discussed which would seem to have great possibilities for standard tyre trials, if the R.A.C. does not ban it—and they had not done so last month. This is one of the Bata range of covers, made by the great Czechoslovakian shoe firm, who also build the Bata Zlin XII low-wing monoplane. . . .
The examples we saw were the 5.25″ x 16′ Bata Cord Pneu. pattern, on the back legs of a Hillman Minx. Naturally, it is the tread which is interesting. Other types of tread bear a strong resemblance to already well known British designs. These tyres are handled over here by Atlas Importers, Ltd., 20, Eastcheap, E.C.8.
FORD ENTHUSIASTS’ CLUB
The Ford Enthusiasts’ Club held a successful trial on December 27th on private W.D. ground at Camberley, which is reported at some length elsewhere in this issue. For 1939 an ambitious programme of events is being planned. It is hoped that the Croydon driving-test meetings will be continued and that the
social side will be developed. K. N. Hutchison finds he no longer haa time to act as joint secretary with Sydney Allard, but W. Bod.dy is now assisting with much of the organising and secretarial work. S. Harman and P. G. Hooper ware elected as members during December. The new subscription rate is 10/6, with an entry fee of 2/6. There is no social membership. The car badge costs 7/6, and buttonhole badges are available at 1/6 each.
Hon. Secretary : S. H. Allard, 15, Millbrooke Court, Putney, S.W.15.
The North-West London M.C. made some rather sad mistakes over this year’s London-Gloucester trial, which up to now has been a classic. They made standard tyres compulsory, yet inserted sixteen observed sections, some of them extremely stiff even for comp. shod special cars. They used a route card which confused lots of competitors after the entire entry had been led badly astray by local tampering with route markings— which shows what is thought of trials in this part of England. Will future organisers of Gloucestershire events please rely on good route cards only ? They had too few marshals, and travelling marshals in cars unsuited to the route. As a result, very unfortunate delays resulted. At one hill we saw an unfortunate lady sprayed from head to foot with slime while ascending to her home— because no marshal was present to warn her of an approaching car. Doubtless her view of trials underwent modification from that which she had expressed to us a moment earlier. The N.W.L.M.C. is the premier slime-storming club but
the Gloucester was far from being an object lesson to smaller trials-organising bodies. In fairness, one must record that the need for silent, careful driving was emphasised in the programme almost to the point of monotonous repetition. We will refrain from a long report of an event that is by now out of date and perhaps better forgotten. Hutchison motored some miles in the night with one front wheel running free, following a fall into a ditch which broke a steering connection. This was eventually mended by Soames, with the aid of a local welding plant. Guy Warburton won the Gloucester Cup with the original Allard-Special and the victors in the capacity classes were P. S. Flower (M.G.), F. H. Bacon (Singer), W. P. Uglow (H.R.G.) and M. S. Soames (Allard-Special). Soames had Allard’s new VS pointed-tail car. Miss Barbara Marshall (Anzani G.N.) was the best lady, and N. J. Ebdon (M.G.) the best
novice. The Allard Tailwaggers ” won the Team Award, which is becoming a habit. There were lots of lesser awards. The Club has abandoned its Team Trial.
The R.A.C. was inundated with applications for 1939 Fixtures and abandoned the meeting of Club Secretaries which it had intended to hold on November 30th. Instead, it has apparently approved every application for fixtures up to March 81st, with the exception of trials on Sundays in black-areas where Sunday trials are
not well received. Organisers of such trials have the option of changing day or locality. Fixtures for the remainder of the year will be dealt with by the end of March. Bad clashing seems inevitable, but a meeting of secretaries would surely have eased matters. At all events, we hope the R.A.C. will again issue those excellent fixture booklets, even though two editions will now be necessary. It was astonishing how many well known drivers were unaware of the existence of this extremely useful publication, last season.
It is interesting news that the British Trials Drivers’ Association has definitely Introduced a Trials Star for 1939 events. The Star will be awarded to the driver gaining the greatest number of marks during the season’s trials driving. So very complicated is the system of scoring that we are relieved to hear that the B.T.D.A. will issue a provisional mai ks analysis at intervals, and, for our part, we fear we shall be entirely in their good hands. Isn’t it curious that the hardlyserious art of storming slime requires such a complicated system to determine an outright winner, whereas the season’s leading road-racing and track-racing drivers are much more easily picked ? Would trials be better if this were not the case ? The Star is a most interesting innovation and gives rise to speculation as to who is our leading slime-stormer. Guy Warburton is driving exceptionally well just now, but the M.G. and Austin boys are essentially outstanding. There isn’t much you can teach Sydney Allard, Soames is very very good and will undoubtedly improve with every fresh trial in which he starts, and what of Hutchison? A friend of ours who goes to nearly all trials mentions the consistent awardnetting of P. S. Flower, with a smallengined, not very young, motor. It is an interesting topic and we give herewith the B.T.D.A.’s system for awarding a Trials Star for the 1939 season—it may be very instructive to sonic of our sliderule readers but tons it is only productive Of a fuzzy-buzzy head :
Ordinary Events : Wherever the Begs. for an event provide a Premier Trophy or similar award determined by an Order 01 Merit irrespective of class (i.e. Best Performance), or when such can readily be determined from the Official Results (using method of settling ties stated in the Regs. for example), marks towards a B.T.D.A. seasonal Star total shall be allocated on the basis of :—
One mark for every competitor officially listed as a starter, less one mark for each competitor placed above the B.T.D.A. star claimant in order of merit. Other Events : When no Order of Merit can be determined, but when first and second-class Awards were made, irrespective of c.c., h.p., club or other groupings (e.g. most M.C.C. events), the following shall be the basis :—
First-class Award Winners : Each will receive a number of marks equalling percentage of competitors not gaining first classes, divided by two.
Second-Class Award Winners : Ditto . . . of competitors not gaining second or first classes, divided by two.
Third-Class Award Winners : Ditto . . . of competitors not gaining third, second or first classes, divided by two.
Trials not coming under either of above shall either be struck out of the eligible optional events or marked at the discretion of the Committee, such marking to be referred to all members interested for approval.
No bonus marks for Trophies, Team Awards, etc.
Claimants at end of season may put in their TEN best scores by above marking out of the list of Trials approved for the Star competition.
‘The Experts’ Trial marks will be doubled.
The Chilterns Trial will be held on January 22nd, starting from Beaconsfield at 11 a.m. and finishing at Amersham. A fifty-mile course will embrace several new hills. Twenty per cent. of the starters will get first-class awards and second-class awards go to twenty per cent. of the remainder. Details from :—
F. L. M. Harris, 30, Holborn, E.C.1.
THE E.R.A. CLUB
A well known daily paper motor-writer has published the statement that Humphrey Cook has declared that he can no longer run the E.R.A. team during 1939, and that, in consequence, the team will be disbanded. We believe that the true position is that E.R.A. funds are getting low, and that after this year Humphrey Cook may feel obliged to withdraw his very generous and essentially sporting support. In that case, only public contributions could keep the official E.R.A. team alive. Meanwhile membership of the E.R.A. Club swells the amount handed over to the gentlemen of Bourne every year by this unique club, so that membership is more than ever to be
encouraged. It would constitute a worthy New Year’s present to yourself or a friend.
The Harrow Car Club will hold its Film Show in South Harrow on January 12th. Capt. Eyston and George Monkhouse will be present.
Well, we had to get home rather promptly (I won’t write quickly) after riding with Hutchison through the Experts’ Trial, and did so by leaving Minehead at 10 p.m., three up in the hack Austin Seven coupe, and getting in at 8 a.m on the Sunday morning with both the passengers soundly asleep. You may argue, if you wish, that this only represents an average speed. of 17 m.p.h., but then we proceeded across the latter bit of Salisbury Plain in the pale light of dawn with the writer blowing down a tube, to puff the dregs of fuel that remained in the well-nigh empty tank through to the carburetter. The Austin must run Mostly on air, because we did some ten miles in this fashion. Then there was the evening when we proceeded optimistically into Sussex to survey a course for a map-reading contest and had the headlamps fail on strange roads in darkness and torrential rain, so that the hastily appointed co-driver said tersely that the rear light was a power more brilliant than the sidelamps, which was only too true. He said even more pungent things when the dashboard became illuminated by an electrical bonfire after
midnight. Later, engine roughness suggested that the gasket beneath the alloy head had blown and a hard evening’s work replacing the standard head led to the discovery that there was just nothing at all amiss in that department, and that the bad running was due to the fact that the rubber buffers beneath the front engine bolts had succumbed to age and repeated closings of oil and had ceased to exist as rubber buffers, so that the engine was all but loose in the chassis —a wonderful car, the Austin Seven. Spirits were restored by a winter afternoon’s run to Aldershot in one of the latest Ford Eight saloons, which was something of a revelation as to the average which the modern baby will achieve if you really push it, while the Girling brakes work very nicely indeed, though the proximity of first gear to reverse still reveals the skill, or otherwise, of the driver.
A day’s journey to Cambridge with an A.B.C. car-engine as a silent passenger On the way up led to our making acquaintance with an early Buick and a very beautiful pre-war four-cylinder F. N. solo motor-bicycle at a small garage, and of unearthing a small two-cylinder Renault of 1011-12 vintage at another garage. At the latter establishment a very old ‘Morgan tricar and a Waverley Six coupe with very cleanly-designed engine were also reposing. So far, the winter 1938 has been conducive of less motoring adventure than previous winters, but most emphatically one’s personal motor-cars are not laid up on wooden blocks, enshrouded in vaseline and dust-sheets. So one can live in hope ! Meanwhile, work can proceed on a small and purely personal book entitled ” Automobiles—Their Shortcomings,” as more and more friends reveal experiences of the sadder sort that they have had with interesting cars, both ancient and not -so ancient. Need it be said that this work will never find its way to a publisher’s desk or even see the interior of such
gentleman’s waste-paper basket ! But contributions, if authentic and definitely established as failings peculiar to a specific make and model, will be gratefully received. It’s better fun than collecting match-box lids . . . Naturally, you do not miss the ” Gloucester” if you can help it, though it seems an unlucky run for us, for in 1936 we had every adventure possible, going down by night in a Brough-Superior, and seeing nothing at all of the trial save a few trials motors sailing past our starved car the London side of Bicester, while last year in the Riley we came right on the sad accident near Kineton. This time we said, quite firmly, that we definitely would not turn out, but finally gave in when it was explained that a nice closed Ford Ten death-box would be used to convey us westwards. Well, without any time for sleep, we started and on the back seat of that Ford it was bitterly cold. But the driver said he could never keep awake in a death-box unless he has most of the glass wound out of the way, and it seemed better to be cold than rolled on. “The Anchor” at Shepperton looked essentially cosy, but no sooner were we in than we were out again and en route for the first floodlit hill. This wasn’t terribly entertaining and was rendered worse by the arrival of two friends who had coaxed our hack Austin Seven down to see the fun, but
only just. They reported that it was running like a London-Brighton veteran. And they took a cruel delight in emphasising the hardships of motoring to Gloucester by night in December, though we subsequently discovered that they ” took nearly as long to return to London (which is why a 1935 engine is now installed in this particular Austin). The night run was very chilly, even though we at last persuaded the man at the helm to almost completely wind up the windows—it was not until about 2 a.m, the following morning that we discovered that he had very quietly wound out the screen as he wound up those side windows . . . Breakfast we took at a lorry-drivers’ establishment, and a very clean, excellent and sufficient breakfast it was—allowing for the fact that any breakfast is good at 6 a.m. I cannot recall where this cafe Ls, but it is just beside a garage on whose roof reposes a tattered Fairey biplane and in whose showroom we saw our first Standard Eight open tourer: Prior to this we had investigated by-ways in which to snatch forty winks and had come upon a house at the foot of quite a trials hill, all in darkness, but with a light burning in the garage—was an enthusiast at work at this ungodly hour rebuilding a special motor or had a fug-box driver rushed out of the lock-up in such haste as to forget the switch ? To such a low ebb does the human-being descend in the early a.m. that at the time it seemed quite vital to know the answer ! We were down early, for the modern Ford certainly can get a move on. After breakfast there was just time for a little railway photography, and then into the hills. At the end of one of the usual long spells without any sustenance save that provided by Mr. Cadbury, we appeared ready to sally London-wards, only to find that a friend’s skeleton trials Riley Nine that we had planned to tail thought otherwise. First of all it would not start, then it required a wheel change, then it twice ran out of petrol, and finally it displayed signs of fuel starvation, so that we both got home at 2 a.m. on the Sunday—still with the
Ford’s screen open. Much later that morning, for both parties slept late, our modern machinery refused to commence, until engineers had been phoned for and, arriving with a Ford V8 A.R.P. firetender, had towed it all round the locality. After lunch, however, we went sleepily on to another trial, winter brightness immediately turning to rain and a big.. end shedding its very necessary white metal (don’t tell me Ford uses leadbronze ?) so that glumness descended on. the party. However, at least we could count yet another week-end completely devoted to sporting-motoring. The following Sunday we optimistically rose early and prepared to venture into Kent to observe one more trial, only to find that our friend had the cylinder head. off his Riley, having recently replaced
No. 2 big-end. He optimistically said we should soon be starting, but, although everything fell back into position ever so nicely, while we admired Riley design when the motor was a motor-car again the dynamo refused to behave and, the battery being flat, that was that. However, by the next Friday all Was reported well and we were bade go to Gloucestershire again, commencing at 2 a.m. on the Saturday morning. As the hood, or what remains of it, was observed to be erect, we said we would go. At 4 a.m. filling up at the local garage preparatory to getting away (alarum clocks sometimes play these tricks) that hood was carefully and irretrievably furled by its fond owner. Off we went and duly made “The Bear” on Rodborough Common where, for 2/a head, we partook of their two-course breakfast, the first course sausage and bacon, the second rolls and butter, no bread and butter or toast was forthcoming in spite of frequent requests. So to the hills and, this time quite early, a track for home. Then the fun commenced, for it turned icily cold. The road up from Rodborough, via Witney and onto the excellent Oxford By-Pass to the home-country is a good one, but the Riley, stiff of big-end, was not allowed to exceed 40 m.p.h. Several 4i-litre Bentleys and a chauffeur-driven RollsRoyce came past, silently taking their occupants London-wards at an impressive speed. A special bodied Lancia, driven by a warmly-coated lady, made to-andfro expeditions between Witney Aero Club and a destination unknown. Here a silver painted B.A. ” Swallow” prepared to take two tough persons up into the forbidding and increasing murk. That road, under a snow-laden winter sky, might well have stirred the pulse of sports-car enthusiasts. Nothing existed as an excuse for dallying, traffic was sparse, and speed seemed not only
desirable, but sensible. A Big Six Bentley roared by as we filled up, and a Ford V8 going the opposite way was most certainly in the late ” seventies.”