Ford-Ten-Engined Specials Supreme
The Gloucester Trial run by the North West London M.C. was the 31st in a series run by this 45-year-old club. The “Gloucester” is one of the more out-standing trials of the year, and drew the large entry list of 83. Newsreel and television cameramen were present, scuttling from hill to hill throughout the day.
It was a wet, windy morning when the first cars arrived at the Anchor Hotel for a 9 a.m. start. Scrutineers checked each car in turn before they were allowed to run, and cars began leaving at 9 o’clock at the rate of one a minute, with a five-minute interval after every ten.
Leaving the hotel, a six-mile run brought entrants to Cold Slad. Those who remembered the dry, easy hill of the R.A.C. Championship Trial had a shock at the amount of mud which had appeared and, to make matters worse, the local farmer had diverted a fast-running stream down the road to “pep things up” as he so adequately put it! Difficulty was found in getting to the start at all, but 35 clean climbs were recorded.
At the top of the hill special tests were held in which Ken Wharton excelled, giving him the few extra marks which won for him the Gloucester Challenge Cup.
Longridge, the next hill, was very slippery, and only seventeen cars made the grade, and there were long delays as the failures were winched to the top.
Juniper was difficult but became easier as the day proceeded, enabling seventeen to make clean climbs. The worst hill of all was Breakheart, near Dursley. Two right-angle bends and three steps near the top proved a stumbling block to all except eleven. Those who were successful took the corners wide and came over the steps diagonally, so letting one wheel up at a time. Nearby, Forts I and II were being coped with quite well. Thirty-two climbed Fort I and every competitor climbed Fort II. Nailsworth, with its rock ledges, was slippery to start with, but dried off later, and only 22 failed. The last two hills were finished with the help of headlamps, but they did not prove difficult.
Ken Wharton, G. R. Holt, T. C. Harrison and C. Corbishley had clean cards at the end of the day, and of these Ken Wharton gained the Cup on his special test result. Owing to the fact that the other three drivers had cars in the same class as Wharton, they had to be satisfied with first-class awards, as the other two cups were for the winners of the other two classes.—M. J. T.
This tough classic is further reported in the pictorial centre-spread of this issue.