The London M.C.’s Gloucester Trial, in its day second only in importance to the M.C.C. Exeter but of recent years a tough event in the slime-storming calendar, started on December 4th at 10.30 a.m. from the George Hotel at Birdlip.
The entry of 29 can be considered excellent in the present stage of specialised trials machinery, much of which, incidentally, came to the start by van, trailer and lorry. Apart from three Dellows the entry comprised the usual Ford Ten Specials, some with others with normal front axles, of which that on G. E. Turner’s was liberally drilled, the exception being R. Davis’ Austin Seven Special.
The same group of slimy, leaf-mould lanes in the hollow of a field formed the pièce de résistance, as in previous years. This time the going was very heavy, even the approach to this secluded spot being along a waterlogged lane and over a very muddy field.
Odd numbers took a different route to avoid congestion and throughout the organisation seemed excellent, competitors being back at “The George” by 2 p.m.
On the first “section,” a stiff climb up a slimy bank, twenty competitors got all the way up, although L. Newey’s Cyrilbold Special wouldn’t even leave the start. The next “section” was much tougher and the best climb by P. A. Barden (P.A.B.) probably won him the trial. R. W. Faulkner (Paul Special II) beat him on Ballengers and Lilley, Lawson and Imhof did slightly better up Henwood Loop, but Barden was so consistently good that he lost only 27 marks, beating Imhof to the Gloucester Cup by six marks.
Two cars retired, B. M. Barford’s Dellow, which at one time looked as if it would decorate the terrain of Henwood until next year, and E. J. P. Reynolds’ Dellow.
Observing at this point, we saw the splendid-effort by Imhof and his passenger in just getting their Imhof Special up the first “section,” the neat ascent of Michael Lawson’s Lotus, which took the curving approach to the steep bit quite slowly and the failure with spin, to the whine of a blower, of N. V. Terry’s Dellow. Faulkner’s climb just failed after an enormous effort and the unleashing of bags of urge. On the second “section” here, Newman and Cannon were observed high up and on another acclivity Newman again demonstrated his excellent blipping tactics in his Cannon VII. R. Davis hadn’t got the Ford V8 carburation to the liking of his Austin Seven engine, J. C. Broadhead’s Ford Special tended to misfire at high r.p.m., and J. C. Smith was in dire trouble with his Chandler, loss of the radiator filler cap sousing the plugs every time he accelerated. Two special tests were included, the first acceleration through an S-bend, the second a reversing affair, to decide ties. Barden and Broadhead were fastest in the former, Atkinson and Chappell in the latter.
Twin S.U.s and a four-branch exhaust were noticed on the Imhof Special, and the winning, once-white P.A.B. had cycle-type front mudguards turning with the wheels, and four-branch exhaust. Imhof’s car came in a van, its owner driving down from the S.C.C. of Norfolk dinner the previous evening in his souped-up Ford Zephyr which he now uses in place of an Allard.
Gloucester Cup: P. A,. Barden (P.A.B.)
Thomas Challenge Cup: R. W. Faulkner (Paul Special II).
Committee Challenge Cup: A. G. Imhof (Imhof Special).
First-Class Awards: M. H. Lawson (Lotus). A. E. Marsh (Dellow) and M. R. B. Cannon (Cannon V).
Second-Class Awards: G. J. Newman (Cannon VII), J. C. Broadhead (Ford Special) and R. Chappell (Cannotton).
Team Prize: Tiny’s ‘Team (Imhof, Lewin and Chandler).