HE “LONDON-EDIN 15 GIL”
FOR twenty-three years the M.C.C. have held their ” London-Edinburgh “, and although in the old days of single-gears, hub-gears and belt-drives the long through-the-night run held a hundred times more real adventure than nowadays, the classic event still draws a big entry. This year saw fewer entrants than usual, certainly ; nevertheless, there were 123 drivers of cars, 11 three
wheelers, 40 soloists and 18 sidecar exponents. These formed an interesting array at the start, in the private grounds at Wrotharn Park, Barnet.
Both in the car and motorcycle classes, veterans rubbed shoulders with ultra-modern models, and there was a wide contrast in h.p. Probably the most impressive car was S. H. Harris’s 36-220 h.p. super charged Mercedes, while amongst the two-wheelers the prize for size and engine power must certainly go to Harold Karslake’s Ka.rbro-Special ; Karslake (who. incidentally, must be the most consistent of all L.-E. competitors) has a J .A.P. of no less than 1,500 c.c. installed in his B-S frame. The onlookers’ interest, however, was not wholly taken up with the modern machines, for the crowd stood respectfully round such ancients as a 1914 James and a 1916 Indian which had been entered.
Under weather conditions which were ideal the 192 competitors left Barnet at 1 minute intervals, obviously quite happy and confident about those things which the long hours ahead held in store for them. It is true that the inclusion in the route of Park Rash, the Yorkshire terror, caused some misgivings amongst the ” pipsqueak ” brigade, but in the car class, at any rate, this tit-bit turned out to be far less formidable than was anticipated. From the start to Stamford, Lincolnshire, the run was quite uneventful, and by the time that Grantham was reached for the supper stop both motors and men were in fine fettle.
After this brief halt the column moved northwards, and, driving through the dawn, reached Ilkley, where they breakfasted at the Middleton Hotel. The dreaded Park Rash now lay close at hand, and the principal topic over the first meal of the day centred round this hill. Local interest was here intense, thousands of people lining the sides of the “bank.” Many of them were apparently waiting to see spectacular things ; but on the whole they must have been disappointed, for there were not many failures, and very few hair-raising climbs, most drivers attacking the gradient with caution rather than dash. The surface though dry, was very rough and caused a lot of wheel-spin amongst the cars, and also proved the undoing of many solo motorcycles. In the car class the small vehicles put up very creditable shows. One should mention L.A. Welch (M.G. Midget), and other notable climbs were made by G. 0. T. Gamble (Lea Francis), V. L. Brooks (Austin) and G. Strong (Standard 9) ; amongst the bigger fry, Harris’ Mere’ naturally attracted the greater attention, and, as was to be expected, with 220 h.p. at his disposal the driver made short work of this portion of the run, The motorcycles, as has already been mentioned, found the 1 in 41 gradient, plus the atrocious surface, a bit of a teaser, and even the veteran Karslake was defeated on the hair-pin. Another rider who failed was A. Edward (490 Norton), who parted company with his machine. Other failures were :—L. C. Christensen (172 Francis-Barnett), R. H. Mantle (347 Sunbeam), C. P. Armstrong (Matchless), and A. Fox (492 Sunbeam) (who came unstuck on the hair-pin) and A. W. Littleton (348 Rex-Acme). On the other hand, good climbs were made by C. M. Needham (998 Brough), E. N. Adlington (on a sister machine), P. C. Disher (493 B.S.A.). J. J. Boyd Harvey (Matchless ” Silver Arrow “), K. Debenharn (Rudge), and L. W. Turner (340 c.c. Rudge). Other riders who made no mistakes were :—J. A. Leyland on an old P. dz M., and R. B. Clark (Gillet). The “chair ” contingent one noticed, for the most part treated Park Rash with scorn ; amongst the notables were J . F. Kelleher (Matchless) and A. Skillicorn (976 Enfield). The front wheel-drive B.S.A. 3-wheeler is still a novelty, and its appearance on the hill caused
a lot of interest ; in the hands of W. Julian it went up well, albeit with a certain amount of wheel-spin. The Morgans, which have been bred on the stuff the Park Rash is made of, performed as usual.
The summit of the big climb reached, with or without outside assistance, the competitors continued through West Witton to Askrigg, which was easy after Park Rash. Prom Askrigg the route then lay across the moors to West Stonesdale. On Tan Hill the restarting test was carried through. There was nothing very terrible about this hill, and the test did not present any serious difficulty; indeed, so consistently good were the performances of competitors in this part of the run that watching the proceedings became a little tedious. Brough was the next objective, and thereafter the long trail of competitors had only to contend with the main road as far as Carlisle, where the lunch stop was arranged. From Carlisle they proceeded to Moffat (the tea stop), and the final stage was then made through the picturesque lowland scenery to the Scottish capital. The following failed to finish :— Cars : W. E. Bliss, 1,460 c.c. Fiat ; E. J. Erith, 847 c.c. M.G. Midget ; H. J. 0. Ripley, 1,087 c.c. Riley ; W. S. Perkins, 990 c.c. Fiat ; S. F. Seyfried, 1,486 c.c. Aston-Martin ; H. Davis, 747 c.c. Austin ; C. J. Johansson, 1,087 c.c. Riley ; H. L. Norman, 1,087 c.c. Riley ;
3. S. Martin, 1,498 c.c. Riley. Motorcycles : Nonstarters : H. S. Baddeley (750 Brough-Superior), M. Minter (346 James), H. P. Casey (349 Dunelt), H. B. Chantrey (998 Brough-Superior), B. Shillington (490 Norton), T. G. Meeten (498 Newrnount), R. J. B. Bell (498 Triumph), E. R. Hood (998 Brough-Superior s.c.), S. Hall (1,096 Morgan). Non-finishers : A. V. Lowe (596 James), W. Allan (980 Brough-Superior s.c.), S. H. Goddard (174 A.K.D. s.c.), W. G. Challis (988 Hackney s.c.).
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