SHELSLEY AT ITS BEST
WHITNEY STRAIGHT (MASERATI) RAISES THE RECORD TO 40 SECONDS. SPORTS CAR AND LADIES’ RECORDS ALSO GO BY THE BOARD.
pERFECT weather, a first-class entry, and some fine driving combined to make England’s only ()pen Hill-Climb its usual success. Whitney Straight’s achievement in knocking off 1 1/5 seconds off his last year’s record gave an added zest to the meeting, and further confirmed his mastery of the new Maserati.
Some interesting entries had been received from the Continent, namely E. L. Frankl and two other Austrian drivers, and also Hans Ruesch, the Swiss driver who holds the Standing Kilometre Record on his Maserati. The unfortunate Frankl was killed in a crash at the start of the Eifel Race only a week before Shelsley, so naturally the other members of the team did not care to take part, while Ruesch sent a last-Minute telegram stating that his car was out of action.
There was, however, no lack of talent amongst those who were taking part. Whitney Straight, who last year secured the record with his 2.5-litre Maserati with a run of 41 1/5 seconds, had brought one of his three-litre cars and its greatly increased power and its self-changing gearbox made a further lowering of the records almost a certainty. Some special extended hubs which had been manufactured in Milan did not arrive till the last hour of practice, but once the car was fitted with its twin rear-wheels the driver found himself able to make better use of the 270 h.p. at his disposal.
The E.R.A.s were still undergoing chassis alterations, and Raymond Mays had to rely on the supercharged Riley which he drove last year. In his hectic battle with Sir Malcolm Campbell in one of the, Whitsun Mountain Races at Brooklands the engine had several times been forced up to 9,000 r.p.M. It was therefore thought advisable to fit a new set of pistons, and the only running-in which the car had received was the hundred miles from Bourne to Shelsley.
R. J. G. Nash’s ” Spook” was of course entered, but did not seem too lively on the Friday, while J. A. Arnold who was driving Nash’s old “Terror,” blew it up in practice during a rather lurid ascent. Practising passed off with few incidents, owing to the dry surface, the only excitements being when Mrs. Petre hit the bank with her two-litre Bugatti and buckled a wheel, and the breaking of the back-axle on the Becke Powerplus, which is now owned by Newsome.
The Bolster Special goes from strength to strength. at any rate as far as the power-plant is concerned, and now has two V twin motor-cycle engines, one in front of the other, with chain-drive through a motor-cycle gear-box to the solid back-axle. Through the shearing of a hub-key at Lewes the drive was concentrated on one rear wheel only, and the designer had some moments which even he admitted were disturbing. Saturday, June 9th, was warm and fine, with a thin layer of clouds which prevented the glare from becoming
exccesive, and throngs of spectators from all over England converged on the familiar Worcestershire roads. A gravelled path from the main road to the top of the hill allowed spectators to reach all vantage points right to the top of the hill without crossing the track, and a new viewpoint had been provided at the first bend of the, ” S ” by piping the stream and filling up the hollow.
Punctuality is one of the best features of the Shelsley meeting, and promptly at one o’clock the loud-speakers announced that the first car was on the line. ft was the supercharged Morris Minor driven by Peter Skinner, which had Made the fastest ascent in its class in the October meeting last year. All was not well, apparently, for the car remained on the line when the starting ” pips ” sounded..
A second attempt Was more successful, and after a well-controlled broadside at the bottom corner, the car made a rapid climb to the ” S ” bend. Steam was spurting from the vent-pipe, but the engine was pulling well, and Skinner came through the bends with the minimum of fireworks. Time 47 2/5, a very useful figure with which to begin the meeting. Letts in his supercharged Midget was next on the line, and the powerful exhaust note reached a climax as he took the corner. Twin rear wheels helped his car to maintain a grip, and he shot up the steep pitch round the second bend in the most convincing way, working hard with the steering wheel to hold the desired path, making a time of 46 1/5 secs. Issigonis on a blown Austin made a fast and steady ascent, while next on the line was Miss Barbara Skinner with another supercharged Morris Minor. The car had had a complete set of big-ends fitted the night before, so the best could hardly be expected, but after an excellent getaway and a good gear-change Miss Skinner made a fine climb, took the corners smoothly, and was only slower than her brother, thus beating Miss Sedgwick’s record on a Fraser-Nash,
The new single-seater Austin, which is now developing 75 h.p. and which weighs Sicwt., was running up to its Mountain Race form. With Pat Driscoll at the wheel the. little white car fairly shot up to the bends, and in spite of touching the outside bank at the top corner, recorded the time of 46 seconds. Turner of Donington fame was a little wild at the bottom of the hill but was safe on the bends, while the Cutler Austin was much less rapid and bumped about. Perry on a blown Midget was competent but not very fast. Horton led off the 1,100 c.c. class on his single-seater Ma,gnette, but made a bad start and was not travelling well
on the top bends. IL R. Hall followed him, and getting away in perfect style, made the welkin ring on the way up to -the corner. Twin rear wheels again showed their uS-, and the determination which showed on Hall’s face was rewarded by the time of 44 1/5 secs. The G. N. Martyr failed its driver on the starting line and Miss Met)strich in a Singer was painfully slow. A Honitel like an aeroengine then reached the crowds at the corners, and heralded the coming of Glegg’s Dorcas II. It had four very knobbly tyrcs in front and this and the dry surface gave the front-drive mechanism a chance to grip, but t;legg needed all his skill to avoid the inside bank after the top corner. Appleton’s very neat blue Maserati-Riley performed creditably, climbing in 48 4/5 seconds. Summerlield’s four-seater blown Magnette made a fast climb, but the tail swung across and hit. the outside bank, while King’s car ” died just before it reached the finishing line. E. J. Moor’s Wasp, one of the few G.N. type Specials taking part in the climb, hit the outside
bank between the ” S ” bends and the driver in his confusion missed a gear above the top corner, yet in spite of all this did a “51.” Horton had been having some trouble with his Special, and made a slow start, but was steady and quite fast on the bends.
enough with one engine, so that with two there was every excuse for the alarm of the announcer at the Kennel Bend. However, Bolster cut right out for the first corner, straightened up and roared round the second bend quite safely, snaking up the road to the finish.
Now it was the turn of the 11-litre class, and with Raymond Mays on the line with the supercharged Riley, everyone was on their feet. He made an excellent start, held the car well on the bottom bends, and in a few seconds was roaring up to the bends. He braked, blipped his engine and got his gear all at once, took the first corner steadily, turned on the gas again and put in some strenuous work with the wheel as he took the second right-angle, actually touching the grass at the gate.
Barnes on the low green Singer which he will drive at Le Mans took an accurat. path and clocked 54.4, and was followed by _Harker on the special car of his own construction, which now has two M.G. cylinder blocks. It was unusually quiet, a high pitched whine being more prominent than the exhaust note but, the car showed useful acceleration between the bends. Meanwhile it had been announced that Mays had made a false start but was to be given another run. This time he took the corner in a wider sweep, and kept his foot down while correcting after the bend, and clocked 43.2 seconds, the fastest time yet.
Newsome was not outstanding on the Becke Powerplus, Whatcoat took a fast and steady path on his blown Bugatti, while J. Lemon gurtan on a similar car approached the first corner at very high speed and had to brake heavily to get round. Langley and Baker were not exciting on their Singers, Mangoletsi made a good climb on a well-tuned T.T. Lea Francis, while Nash’s Spook was suffering from clutch slip. Roy Eccles made a businesslike ascent on his FraserNash in 48 3/5 seconds, and Miss Sedgwick was only 1/5 second slower. The Bolster Special was exciting His time was 44.2, only a second slower than Mays, which speaks volumes for his skill in controlling his astonishing little car. The other quick two-litre was Esson Scott’s supercharged Bugatti, with twin rear wheels. The driver did not seem at all sure of himself, cutting right
out for the first bend, though the acceleration between the corners gave sonic indication of the power which was there. Mrs. Pe.tre made a steady climb on her unblown two-litre, C. E. C. Martin and Blackstone on two-litre touring Alla.s record2d respectively 57 and 52.2 seconds, while the blown Marendaz pinked unpleasantly.
Needham made a quiet climb on his S.S., then Rose on a short chassis 2.3 Alfa tried to take the first corner too fast, swung but got round and again nearly hit the bank at the top part. His time was 50 secs. Embiricos on a touring twoseater 2.3 Bugatti had no difficulty in taking two seconds off this without unsteadiness, while Eccles made a fine climb on his G.P. car in 44 secs. Lord Howe displayed a different technique, taking the bottom corner wide and slowly, as though to avoid having wheelspin, then putting his foot down to good effect as soon as he was straight. His time was 43.4 secs.
Whitney Straight was now on the line, and the crowd stared expectantly towards the narrow strip of road winding up through the trees. A momentary check as something was done to the timing apparatus, then “He’s off,” said the announcer. “No wheel-spin but a steady spurt from the line and a perfect corner round the Kennel Bend.” A throaty roar could be heard, not nearly -so loud as many of the smaller cars, then almost before one had noticed it, the white streamlined Maserati had reached the corner. A slight break in the note, the car had taken a central path through the lower corner, rushed up to the second one and away without a pause or a snake to the finishing line. Nothing could have been less ostentatious, but how fast Straight had gone was only revealed by the time, 40 secs, dead, or 1 1/5 secs. better than last year. Thomas Fotheringham also showed a preference for the centre of the road, and brought up his well-tuned single camshaft Bugatti in 44 secs. Bachelier drove up his beautifully kept touring ” 2.3″ in 50.2 secs., aided no doubt by the self-changing gear-box which he has fitted, while Baines on a full four-seater was considerably slower. Major Gardner and J. H. Bartlett found their long chassis Alfas rather cumbersome on the double bend, while G. Poppe on a” 105 “Talbot with a streamlined four-seater body actually lost time by suddenly dropping
down a gear on the corner. Needham flung his supercharged S.S., a new experimental model, round the corners in fine style.
The five-litre class contained a curious mixture of cars. It started off with the Vauxhalls driven by Warburton and Dr. Beaver, the last-named climbing in 53.4 secs. Hillcoat on a V8 Ford was 1/5 sec. slower and nearly rolled-off his tyres on the corners. Whalley’s Ford only did 57.2, while Esplen made a fine climb in his huge supercharged Bentley in 52.4 secs. R. Jarvis drove a similar car but was unsteady on the bends. while Hughes on a lowered 30/98 Vauxhall missed his gears on the corners. Jacot drove a lowered car too, but to such effect that he clocked 49.4, while Way’s old car which looked, with its highpressure tyres, in its original trim, did 58.2. Marsh climbed in 53.6 secs. in the only Invicta which ran. Lord Howe’s Mercedes was the only car in the over 5-litre class, but it is one which never fails to excite admiration. Fairly throb-. bing with power, with the familiar skirl from the supercharger, it brought the first runs to a close with a time.of 46.2 secs.
Except for a few delays caused by the timing apparatus, the cars had been coming up the hill almost without a pause, sixty-two of them in just over two hours, and the new enclosure at the first corner was thronged with spectators. 15,000 people were said to be watching, and this seemed if anything an underestimation. Peter Skinner again led off the second
series of runs, and made a fast steady climb on Ow Morris Minor in 46.6 secs., and Miss Skinner confirmed her title to the Ladies’ Record by putting up exactly the same figures. Donald Letts was very fierce indeed, and chased up his car-splitting dark blue M.G. Midget in 45.8 secs. Driscoll on the single-seater Austin Was again fast, but lost time by
changing up too soon, while Turner and Gibson, also on Austins, lifted their inside wheels in their efforts to take the first bend. Horton’s Magnette went better on its second run, doing 46.2, but Hall was a time of 47 secs. in spite of the heavy braking tactics of the latter. Dick Nash was very fast on the Kennel Bend and took the first of the corners with something of his old dash, but the clutch was gripping too well this time and he
great deal faster without being unsteady, and clocked 43.2, which beat Raymond Mays’ sports car record on the Invicta by 2.4 secs. The G.N. Martyr, a V-twin “Special,” fitted for once with a body, behaved properly and climbed to the v‘,
tune of 51 secs. Mays again made a rousing ascent on the blown Riley, which was in fine tune between the bends, and steadier round the corners. He equalled Von Stuck’s record of 42.8 secs. Harker improved to 48.6, the Becke failed below the bends, Whatcoat’s blown Bugatti was well handled, but did not come up to Burton’s
stuck in gear at each bend. In spite of this he managed 46 secs., but the times of 47 and 47.8 secs. put up by Eccles and Miss Sedgwick were more notable.
Bolster was content to let his coffin-like vehicle slow right down on the first corner, relying on its power-weight ratio to hurl it on its snaking course towards the finish, but a cloud of smoke and a smell of clutch lining showed that there are limits to what a motor cycle transmission will stand. Esson-Scott was happier on his second run on the twolitre ” Bug” and recorded 45.8 secs. The Marendaz rolled and clipped both banks, and Blackstone on a two-litre Alfa looked anxious as his tail swung on • the first corner.
Rose on his 2.3 Alfa took the first bend much too fast and swung nearly broadside first on one lock and then the other, and for this performance was loudly clapped. Eccles (2.3 Bugatti) took the corner with some blipping and real determination and put up a useful 43.6, while Earl Howe cornered smoothly to make the climb in 44 secs.
Again the crowd was on tip-toe for Straight’s climb, but he made a slightly slower get-away, and the car jumped a little at the first corner. It was still a first-class performance, and the 40.8 secs. beat his last year’s record handsomely.
Newsome had a third run on the Becke, which resulted in his blowing it up above the second corner, then Fotheringham made a first-class climb in his Bugatti in 43 secs. Major Gardner on his Alfa brought his time down to 50.2 secs. and Needham was only 1/5 sec. slower on the blown S.S. Poppe on his Talbot recorded 53.4 secs., in spite of his door flying open on the corner. In the Five-Litre Class, Esplen (S/C Bentley) improved his time to 52 secs., Hughes (30/98 Vauxhall) 51.6, Dr. Beaver
Continued on page 414.
on a high four-seater 52.6, while Hillcoat (Ford) used a little more restraint on the first corner and made the climb in 53 szcs. Lord Howe again made a fast climb on the impressive blue Mercedes, in 46.6 secs., and this ascent very fittingly concluded the meeting. A high standard of driving, which implies few awkward incidents on the corners, a fine selection of fast cars, and a long programme carried through with a minimum of delay, sums up the outstanding features of the June meeting, and the September gathering, at which Stuck hopes to drive his Auto Union, should prove no less entertaining. Floreat
Shelsley ! THE RESULTS. CLASS I. (Up to 860 c.c.)
Racing.-D. N. Letts (746 c.c. M.G., S.) ; 454/5 sees Sports.-R. E. Turner (747 c.c. Austin, S.) ; 48 2/5 secs.
CLASS II. (851 c.c. to 1,100 c.c.) Racing.-E. R. Hall (1,086 c.c. M.G. Magnette, S.) ; 43 1/5 sec.
gpods.-Ditto. CLASS III. (1,101 c.c. to 1,500 c.c.)
Racing. -Raymond Mays (1,486 c.c. Riley, S.) ; 42 4/5 sees. Sports. –Roy Eccles (1.496 c.c. Frazer-Nash) ; 47 sees CLA3S IV. (14501 c.c. to 2,000 c.c.) Racing.-.1. 13. Bolster (1,962 c.c. Bolster) ;
44 1/5 secs.
Sports.–V. W. Blackstone (1,750 ex. Alfa Romeo, S.) ; 52 2/5 secs. CLASS V. (2,001 to 3,030 c.c.)
Racing.–Wilittley Straight (2,992 c.c. Maserati, S.); 40 secs. (record for the hill). Sports.–N. 1»ibiricos (2,300 c.c. Bugatti, S.) ;
CLASS VI. (3,001 c.c. to 5,000 c.c.). Racing.-P. H. Jacot (4,312 c.c. Vauxhall);
49 2/3 sees.
Sports.-R. Hughes (4,500 e., . Vauxhall) ; 51 3/5 secs. CLASS VII. (5,001 c.c. and over.) Sports.-Earl Howe (7,068 . Mercedes, S.) ;
46 1/5 secs.
SPECIAL AWARDS. Shelsley International Championship Cup and £100
for fastest time. –Whitney Straight (Maserati).
Runner-up : Raymond Mays (Riley). Third fastest time : T. S. Eotheringhain (2,263 C.c. Bugatti, S.) 43 secs.
M.A.C. British Championship Cup for fastest time by a British sports car.-E. R. Hall (M.G. Magnette).
M.A.C. ” T.T.” Cup for fastest time by car and driver who has driven or is entered for any International Calendar events. -Whitney Straight (Maserati).
M.A.C. Open Cup for the best aggregate thne made on two runs by a racing car.-Whitney Straight (Maserati), 40 sees. and 40 4/5 sees.–80 4/5 sees.
M.A.C. Open Cup (Sports).-E. R. Hall (M.(:. Magnette), 44 1/5 secs, and 43 1/5 secs. -r-87 2/5 sees.
C.P. Type Challenge Cup for best time by a sports car up to 1,500 c.c.-E. R. Hall (M.G. Magnette).
Garvagh Challenge Cup for best time by a sports car over 1,500 c.c. F an Howe (Mercedes).
M.A.C. Ladies’ Championship Cup for the driver beating the women’s record.-Miss Barbara Skinner (747 c.c. Morris Minor, S.), 46 3/5 secs.
Fray Team Challenge Cup for best aggregate time by a team of three racing cars.-Midland Automobile Club (Earl Howe, Mercedes, 46 1/5 sees, ; Whitney Straight, Maserati, 40 secs. and R. T. Nlorgon, M.G. Magnette, 43 1/5 sees.), 129 2/5 secs.