Sand Racing 2

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Sir,

Your very interesting article on “Sand Racing” contains, I think, an error. The stripped Clyno to which you refer was undoubtedly a Crouch, driven by my father at Southport and by a Mr. Moss at Brooklands. At the 1925 meeting it scored four firsts, two seconds and a third. Probably the reasons for its success in sprints were its very light weight and an ingenious clutchstop designed and made by my father, which enabled very rapid gear changes to be made. The cone clutch used in those days normally encouraged very slow changes.

Had you been at the meeting you would have seen probably the most hilarious “start” in motoring history. The 12/50 Alvis made a phenomenal getaway, unfortunately in reverse! The consequent rapid change in direction damaged the front universal joint, which broke a few seconds later when the car had reached a fair speed (forward!), whereupon the back-end of the car made a tremendous pole vault. Fortunately nobody was injured but the driver was furious.

The gentleman in the bowler was a Mr. Bullough, but I thought he was from Atherton. At the New Year’s Day meeting in 1926, one of the GNs would be the prototype “Spider” of B. H. Davenport. This was a single-seater and the mandatory passenger rode pillion-style on the tail. Imagine scrutineers being asked to allow this today!

At this meeting Segrave and Joyce turned up. The latter had the rear tyres bound with rope, to give more grip.

The manx-tailed Sunbeam was almost certainly driven by G. J. Jackson and probably won the silver medal referred to by “Jenks” two or three months ago, at that meeting. The car No. 17 in the photograph could be this car, although there was an Austro-Daimler driven by Ben Higginbottom which looked very similar. Certainly the white car behind No. 17 is Joyce’s AC. [Yes, No 17 is the Sunbeam.—Ed.]

The Crouch had a side-valve Anzani engine and would hold 4,000 r.p.m. in top gear; around 90 m.p.h. My father drove it to and from the meetings where everything which it could go without was removed—even the seats; he sat on a light framework to which webbing was tacked. By the summer meeting of 1926, “the Works” had fitted a coachbuilt boat-tailed sports body and the car lost its edge on the others. Anzani’s were working on a double-OHC unit and this was promised for the Crouch. Unfortunately, as with many other small manufacturers of that era, Crouch was going out of business and the engine went to Eldridge. I can forgive your mistaking a Crouch for a Clyno. The radiators were almost identical, otherwise, we thought the Clyno was a very poor car compared to the Crouch. We had to—my father was a Crouch Agent!

Incidentally, the New Year’s Day meeting had to be abandoned near the end because the sea came in—at Southport! The exit from the sands, near the pier, was flooded and many cars were submerged. However, our party managed to get going, after drying out magnetos and carburetters, by about 7 p.m. The ride home to Manchester in an open racing car—no windscreen and wet through—was a journey I shall never forget. But it was worth it! Amlwch F. E. GREAVES

[Having chided various people in recent times for failing to recognise the Moss Crouch in photographs, I am chastened to have failed to do so myself. If I did? I decided the front axle was like that on the 10.8 Clyno, before they went to 1 1/2 elliptic front springs, whereas the Crouch had double 1/4-elliptics, rather reminiscent of Frazer Nash front-end arrangements. And a Clyno was raced at Southport in 1925 by V. Hughes.— Ed.]

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