An Enjoyable Bristol M.G. and L.C.C. Roy Fedden Trophy Trial

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C. L. Bold’s Bold-Special Makes Best Performance in Classic West Country Event

The Bristol M.C. & L.C.C. can be relied on to organise good events and so it was on December 10th, when they held their Roy Fedden Trophy Trial. They were not responsible for the bitter weather and sleet showers!

Seventy-one entries were received and were divided into up to 1,100 c.c., 1,101 to 2,500 c.c., and over 2,500 c.c. classes, blown cars in the first two categories going up one. Besides Sir A. H. R. Fedden’s Trophy six other important awards were to be won, as well as first-class awards for the next best 10 per cent. of starters and second-class awards to the next best 15 per cent. A figure-eight course eased congestion, a circuit being tackled by half the entry in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.

The usual cheery gathering assembled at the “Cross Hands” inn at Old Sodbury, the officials preparing to depart to their chores in a Jeep, a bull-nose Morris-Cowley and on motor-cycles.

In the grounds of Little Sodbury Manor House a short, steep mud-lane with a right-angle turn up a bank at the top provided the first teaser, getting to the start being more than many competitors could manage. Here Hartwell’s Hillman Minx “Bluebottle” failed low down—it was having trouble with its clutch and matters were scarcely improved when its front wheels rubbed on the bulbous headlamp cowlings on full lock. Bollom’s Dellow showed how it should be done, as did Cracknell’s Fostin in a fine spray of mud, and Waring’s Dellow, whose trailer awaited it at the finish, made its usual polished ascent. Neither Ostroumoff’s Dellow nor Cox’s Dellow had any trouble, but Evans’ Dellow took the corner too sharply, failing on the hump in spite of going to astronomical revs. Mrs. Mayne used similar tactics in her T-type M.G. but stopped at the top, a fate which befell the V8 Cuff-Special.

We now motored cross-country (which is part of the fun of spectating at trials) to Fort and Breakheart. Fort is a greasy, steep woodland track which stopped Bollom in section four and Mrs. Mayne also, but while we watched the Fostin went up strongly, Ostroumoff with intense concentration, and Evans as if it were a timed climb. Cox was not quite so neat, his Dellow’s tyres at very low pressure but, its blower whining merrily.

We arrived at the notorious but interesting Breakheart to find plenty of onlookers perched precariously on its sloping banks or in the trees and only seven clean ascents recorded. Spin defeated Cuff half-way up, the “Bluebottle” Hillman seemed to have lost all its power save for one rather disheartened pony, but Barton’s Barton made a gallant effort, to which Breakheart’s notorious ledge put a stop. Bullivant’s Riley Special then became literally scotched by the ledge but Tolman’s Ford Ten-engined Betsy made a grand run in spite of “moments” after bouncing off the ledge. Roberts’ Allard, spinning tyres steaming, stopped after the ledge, and the Sleeman got up by sheer bouncing incentive by the occupants, front wheels leaping high from the ledge. Waring had his bothers after the ledge deflected his Dellow but he is too experienced to let that sort of thing fail him; Waldren’s Dellow lost way after a bad gear change and the ledge did the rest. Incidentally, the Dellow entries numbered a dozen. Wooton’s Austin Seven was thrown up the bank by the ledge and failed, but sheer power pulled Burgess’ blown Mercury-Allard out of the same predicament. Readings’ Lancia Lambda was caught properly by the dreaded ledge, its tyres turning from grey to red before our eyes as they bit into the soil. Roberts’ Robros Special, a very brief Morris Minor, had a simply horrible time at the ledge (pardon the frequent reference to it!), bouncing so much as to cut the passenger’s lip. Waldron then took his Dellow up with spinning back wheels but the Price Special came to rest suddenly when clear of the ledge. Imhof did his usual trials Grand Prix that far, and then bounced tinnily to it standstill, while Parkes in his coupé Allard had one look at the famous hill and drove back the way he had come!

For us the afternoon produced Green Lane, a motor-cycle section of repute, approached down a long, very slimy lane that could have been itself observed. This hill was great fun, even for the diesel-engined Fordson tractor! Nineteen had climbed clean in the morning, but now both Readings and Parkes stopped low down. When they had been hauled clear Burgess made a racy climb, Imhof got up well, engine revving phenomenally, and Wahlron went up even better. The Robros was brought up by forceful bouncing, but the Holt V8 struck a tree and although it promptly restarted unaided, a fine show, alas, failed at the top. It was grand fun for Wooton, who selected a lower ratio at the psychological moment in his Austin Seven and, bouncing with his navigator, got to the lop. Finally, Price, and Best in his M.G., made splendid ascents.

Short of a brace of reporters, an observation balloon or, if you are really affluent, a helicopter, one body is unable to see all the hills in a trial, and we had missed Widden and Alf’s Delight, and only caught a glimpse of Upper Doynton, where Holt did more damage to his car, as our Ford Prefect motored past it on a main road. We called in at Clee Grass, however, where Parkes was again in trouble with his Allard, and then returned to the finish to await the results. They hinged on the Special Test but it is not our intention to publish times. Suffice it to say this was a first-class trial, more enjoyable, as a personal opinion, than similar events confined to freak gradients on Army ground. The souvenir programme was a reflection of the quality of the trial it self.—W. B.

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