22 Entries Contest 1954 Championship over New Course in Kent. George Newman Proves the Winner
This year’s R.A.C. Trials Championship was contested over a new course near Maidstone by 22 selected exponents of the art of modern slime-storming, as follows: —
The “sections” used were of excellent variety and were neither chassis breakers nor deep in mire; mostly they relied on gradient and leaf mould, besprinkled with difficult corners, to test the ability of competitors and cars. On one “section” Pat Atkinson had the misfortune to roll his Atkinson down a bank, but he and his passenger escaped injury and, after fitting a new steering wheel, he continued with the trial, climbing the next “Section” clean amid loud applause.
The Maidstone and Mid-Kent M.C. arranged the hills and very efficiently marshalled the event.
The first “section” started on hard ground and became a steep leaf-mould ascent between high banks — it was here that Atkinson overturned. Cryer’s Trident failed about half-way in spite of very-nearly deflated rear tyres. Lawson failed early, Harrison got very little higher and then Broadhead went well for half the distance. To prove it wasn’t impossible; Barden, following up his victory in the “Gloucester,” made a model ascent. R. Chappell not only stopped half-way but, the tractor’s rope being applied to the cross-bar on his Cannotton, which mounts the front shock-absorbers, this was neatly removed! A pity, because this is a beautifully-finished trials car, although everyone looked exceedingly smart at the commencement of the Championship Trial.
Hollingworth got all the way up this A1 “section” in splendid fashion, and E. J. Chandler, assisted by an expert passenger, failed near the top. G. J. Newman used “blipping” tactics, and climbed well, while a splendid conquest of A1 was accomplished by R. W. Faulkner and R. W. Phillips. Both Hughes and the cigarette-smoking Pettit stopped at the very point where the Atkinson somersaulted.
The next “section” in the A-group was an easier climb and “3” wasn’t unduly difficult, but A4 was a long climb ending in a very steep, final assault. Here Broadhead succeeded but the engine of his J. C. B. was boiling like a kettle at the summit.
Jenkins’ Ford/Austin just failed, Barden was excellent, Cryer stopped low down, as did Lawson, but Harrison, starting slowly in his Harford, put up a very fine show, accelerating away to a clean finish. E. J. Chandler was a failure, Wilde only just cleared the crest and Hollingworth’s Oliver stopped right at the top. Both Newman and Chappell climbed faultlessly, the former’s lady passenger adopting sidecar-racing tactics for the corner. Before we left this “section” we saw Phillips and Atkinson climb clean, Faulkner’s Paul fail at the summit from lack of power, and Pettit sprag his Deeford on a tree before reaching the steep part.
Altogether the 1954 R.A.C. Trials Championship was a great success, the weather fine but cold, the hills a fair and interesting selection, the marshalling extremely efficient and Col. Barnes acting as Judge for the R.A.C., the scoring system being dependent on the actual point at which competitors came to rest on the various “sections,” with no special tests.
Practically all the entry relied on Ford Ten power units, but A. J. Lilley lent a vintage aspect to proceedings with his V-twin J.A.P.-engined R.M.S. II.
Goodyear tyres were popular with the competitors to aid rear-wheel grip.
P. S. Hughes’ neat “special” was called a Harfeach for the good reason that one side of it was painted yellow, matching the passenger’s oilskins, and the other half silver.