A Sensational Shelsley!
Joe Fry Breaks Raymond Mays’ Long-standing Record by 0.02 sec., with the 1,096-c.c. Freikaiserwagen, in 37.35 sec. Stirling Moss Sets Astonishing Unblown Record of 38.57 sec. in his Cooper J.A.P.
The weather was kind to Leslie Wilson for the International Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb on July 11th, and the hill was in splendid fettle. The meeting was one of the most interesting ever held, for Joe Fry in the phenomenal Freikaiserwagen broke Raymond Mays’ record of 37.87 sec., which has stood since 1939, with a simply meteoric climb occupying 37.35 sec. Mays’ famous black D-type E.R.A. developed trouble with its Zoller compressor after approaching record speed in practice. Richardson drove it all the way to Bourne in its lorry, worked all night, and had the car back at the hill the next morning. Mays tried all he knew to regain his lost record, but suffered defeat, by a mere one-hundredth of a second! There were some sensational incidents during the afternoon, notably when Kiteley’s Cooper 500 left the course at full bore on the inside of the first corner of the S bend and vanished from view, and when Richardson’s R.R.A., which now has a Rubery Owen frame of new design, suffered its I.O.M. malady of absent rear brakes, and slid straight on with front wheels locked at the “S,” the front axle and cowling being damaged. The drivers escaped injury, but during practice poor Spikins was less fortunate, for his Spikins Special hit the outer bank at the second corner of the “S,” the rear-side front wheel was torn off and the car shot across the road into the outer bank, the other i.f.s. unit collapsed and the car rolled over. Spikins suffered broken ribs and severe abrasions and even then had a lucky escape. A stuck throttle may have been to blame. During the climb Strang lost his near-side rear wheel at Kennel bend, but escaped unhurt. Fry’s great run certainly upholds the “Shelsley Special,” his old record for these cars being bettered by 1.08 sec.
Cars up to 500 c.c.
Lones’ Tiger Kitten lost time on its second run, a horrid slide out of the “S” resulting in contact with the bank – which Lones acknowledged with a gesture of disgust with his right arm, even glancing round to see the damage, if any. Wing/Cdr. Aiken’ Aikens was troubled by misfiring and the whole car seemed to shiver during hectic ascents, while C. A. N. May in his ex-Moss Cooper made two really determined climbs. Brandon missed a gear in mid-“S” on his all-silver Cooper during his second run, but his first perfectly-judged ascent won him the class. Coldham placed his Cooper nicely, but was slow, likewise Gibbs’ M.A.C., its wheels dithering. Strang rather lost time on his first run by avoiding the drain in the road at the “S” and so leaving the corner wide in a tail-slide – and on his second run, alas, a rear wheel came off. Jeremy Fry, Joe Fry’s young brother, then showed us how, in the brand-new Parsenn, with Spencer Moulton rubber suspension. He cornered with the inner wheels lifting and clocked second fastest time. The C-type f.w.d. Bond lacked urge and Reece, in spite of a wrestling match with his steering wheel, lacked speed in his Cooper. Trumen held a mid-road position through the “S” on his first run, the Barden leaving an aroma of dope behind it, and although his second run was spoilt by a vicious tail slide, he corrected it without hesitation and accelerated hard.
1st: E. Brandon (497-c.c. Cooper) … 42.78 sec.
2nd: J. Fry (407-c.e. Parsenn) … 42.94 sec.
3rd: H. C. Lones (496-c.c. Tiger Kitten) 43.49 sec.
Also ran: Strang (Strang), 43.65 sec.: May (Cooper), 44.37 sec.; Truman (Barden), 44.60 sec.; Coldham (Cooper), 45.23 sec.; Reece (Cooper), 45.47 sec.; Aikens (Aikens). 45.92 sec.; Bond (Bond), 47.91 sec.; Gibbs (M.A.C.), 40.05 sec.; Kiteley (Cooper) crashed.
Cars 501-1,100 c.c.
It was in this category that Joe Fry set up his new course-record of 37.35 sec. On his first run he hit the bank near the start, but clocked 38.15 sec. His second run was a model of how to do it, leaving, one suspects, only a very slender safety margin! The Freikaiserwagen’s acceleration up the straight, tyres nearly alight and the two-stage, air-cooled V-twin Blackburne sounding absolutely right, had to be seen to be believed-and could only just be believed even then This is the sort of sprinting that brings exclamations of joyful praise from the lips even of blasé Pressmen! Second best was young Stirling Moss, proving that besides being able to win races he possesses the sprint technique to perfection. His time of 38.57 sec. made on his first run, is an incredible performance by an unblown one-litre car, and his Cooper-J.A.P. beat the old unblown record held by Allard’s Allard by 0.99 sec. Moss changed up early and fairly swung the wheel to regain control as he slid from the “S.” His second run was spoilt by misfiring. John Cooper drove his V-twin Cooper very neatly, cornering close and going right over the drain, to take third place, 1.21 sec. slower than Moss. Hartwell, however, in another of these cars, took the “S” cautiously, and his second run was spoilt by misfiring. Symonds drove the ex-Brettel Austin Seven outstandingly, inner wheels lifting as he flung it through the corners, but Moor’s famous and lovable Wasp wasn’t going too well, added to which he muffed the final change-up on his second run. Southon made one of his habitual tours-up-Shelsley-Walsh in the twin rear-wheeled Becke Powerplus, Instone had a real tussle with the V-twin Martyr, but struck trouble on his second run, Fergusson’s Cooper-H.R.D. came to rest in mid-“S” in a permanent neutral, not to run again, and Christie’s Cooper 1,000 hit the near-side bank as it left the “S” on its first run, being nicely handled, tyres flexing with the speed, next time up. The Carlmark had trouble low down and didn’t essay a second run, Richards’ Riley seemed off form and high-geared, Heath’s rear-engined V-twin Special gave him plenty to do in spite of being cornparatively leisurely, and the Turner SpecieI, with M.G. engine, neat bodywork and twin rear tyres, ascended steadily, water streaming from its radiator overflow.
1st: J. Fry (1,096-c.c. Freikaiserwagen) 37.35 sec.
2nd: S. Moss (906-c.c. Cooper-J.A.P,) … 38.57 sec.
3rd: J. Cooper (996-c.c. Cooper 1,000) … 39.78 sec.
Also ran: Christie (Cooper), 39.80 sec.; Hartwell (Cooper), 41.10 sec,; Symonds (Austin), 44,23 sec.; Turner (Turner), 44.40 sec.; Moor (Wasp), 44.82 sec.; Instone (Martyr), 45.18 sec.; Richards (Riley); 45.43 sec.; Heath (Own), 45.54 sec., Southon (Becke), 47.91 sec.; Fergusson (Cooper), F.; Carlmark (Carlmark), F.
Cars 1,101-1,500 c.c.
This once-popular class was sparsely supported and Geoffrey Ansell won it comfortably, in his smart B-type E.R.A. Norton, after ascending in the wrong cog on his first run, took second place in the Alta, while Wharton, using a “mystery’ engine,” probably Wolseley or enlarged M.G., in his well-known sprint car, was third, fluffing and a series of slides notwithstanding. Bradnack’s newly-bodied ex-Folland-Barry Woodall Frazer-Nash, now with shaft-drive to a coil-spring i.r.s. reminiscent of R-type M.G., had engine trouble.
1st: G. B. Ansell (1,488-c.c. E.R.A.) … 40.93 sec.
2nd: G. W. P. Norton (1,496-c.c. Alta) … 44.13 sec.
3rd: K. Wharton (1,460-c.c. Wharton) 45.91 sec.
Also ran: Lady Mary Grosvenor (Alta.), 44.86 sec.; Bradnack (Frazer-Nash), 48.35 sec.; Richardson (R.R.A.), crashed.
Cars 1,501-3,000 c.c.
In this class Hutchison disappointed in scratching both his entries and we were sorry not to see Horsfall handling Bell’s 2-litre E.R.A. Mays, in his old E.R.A., made a determined bid to regain his record, but it was not to be. His first run occupied 38.20 sec., compared with Fry’s 38.15 sec., and after Fry had set up his new figure of 37.35 sec., Ray, doing one of the most determined runs we have seen him make since the war, clocked 37.36 sec., beating his own record by one-hundredth of a second and losing by that margin to Fry. McAlpine, handling his twin rear-wheeled Maserati very well-and what a handful-was second, while Noel Carr took third place in the Alta, really hurrying through the “S” in spite of a tendency to misfiring. Stubberfield’s monoposto Bugatti went too wide into the “S” on its first run, but got round and was beautifully handled on its second run, Norris cornered his Alta carefully, but possessed ample acceleration, Neale’s 2-litre Bugatti bounced a good deal and clouted the outer bank really hard leaving the “S” on his second run, and Sir Clive Edwards. found, his Lea-Francis-engined H.R.G. rather a handful as at present it has only a small bolster-tank to keep the tail down.
J. S. Fry did a magnificent run in his Type 51 Bugatti, using twin rear tyres, King needed lots of road in the remarkable unblown Rover, the acceleration of which was truly creditable, while Davenport deserves the greatest credit not only for being very fast in his horrific G.N. “Spider,” but for being so consistent. He looked fully up to the form of his hey-day and clocked 42.83 sec. on both runs, faster than ever he was in 1 1/2-litre trim.
1st: R. Mays (1,980-c.c. E.R.A.) … 37.36 sec.
2nd: K. McAlpine (2,992-c.c. Maserati) 39.31 sec.
3rd: N. Carr (1,960-c.c. Alta) … 39.38 sec.
Also ran: Stubberfield (Bugatti), 41.16 sec.; Davenport (Spider), 42.33 sec.; Fry (Bugatti), 42.46 sec.; Neale (Bugatti), 42.48 sec.; Norris (Alta), 43.14 sec.; King (Rover), 43.25 sec.; Sir Clive Edwards (H.R.G.), 45.03 sec.
Cars over 3,000 c.c.
Poore, his Alfa-Romeo’s tyres protesting through the “S,” where he contrived to miss the drain, the big car snaking at prodigious speed up the finishing straight so that dust flew from the banks, won this class and set third fastest time of the day. Allard was second in the Steyr Allard, not using his electric gearbox on this occasion, being even faster on his second than on his first run, in spite of a series of nasty slides out of the “S,” which Sydney corrected by expert manipulation of the wheel. Lloyd-Jones was third, in the Triangle-Skinner which he drove fast and steadily, Butterworth’s four-wheel drive A.J.B., now with monoposto body, displayed good acceleration, Imhof came really fast into the “S” in his blown sports-equipped Allard, and cornered in arm-over-arm fashion, tyres smoking, the Neale made much noise — a vast blower hides behind the two S.U. carburetters of its Buick engine — and Leslie Johnson came within 0.28 sec. of the sports-car record in Lycett’s 8-litre Bentley in spite of all not being well beneath the long bonnet of this magnificent car. The Norris Special II uses an Alvis “Speed Twenty” engine, but seemed difficult to get into gear.
1st: R. D. Poore (3,800-c.c. Alfa-Romeo) … 38.02 sec.
2nd: S. H. Allard (3,700-c.c. Allard) … 40.85 sec.
3rd: E. Lloyd-Jones (4,168-c.c. Triangle Skinner Special) … 42.29 sec.
Also ran: Butterworth (A.J.B.), 43.15 sec.; Imhof (Allard), 43.20 sec.; Johnson (Bentley), 43.99 sec.; Norris (Norris), 44.21 sec.; Neale (Neale), 44.60 sec.
F.T.D. — Joe Fry (Freikaiserwagen), £100 and Shelsley Trophy.
Second Fastest. — R. Mays (E.R.A.), £50.
Third Fastest. — R. D. Poore (Alfa-Romeo), £25.
Fastest Shelsley Special — Joe Fry (Freikaiserwagen), Rossiter Challenge Trophy.
Fastest Lady Driver. — Lady Mary Grosvenor (Alta), Ladies’ Trophy.
Fastest Non-S/C Car. — S. Moss (Cooper), M.A.C. Trophy.
Team Award. — Messrs. Poore, Fry and Allard — Fray Trophy.
R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship Placings. — Fry, 10 marks; Mays, 9 marks; Poore, 8 marks; Moss, 7 marks; Butterworth, 6 marks.
N.B. — The winners of the above awards do not, under M.A.C. ruling, qualify for first prizes in their respective classes, but we have given class placings on times and not in prize-winning sequence.
There was no B.B.C. broadcast this time.
Nor was the attendance quite so large as usual. The course was opened by Alan Hess, with Charles Goodacre as passenger, in an A.90 Austin. It clocked 64.73 sec., but seemed rather over-geared for the hill, and tended to “pink.”
Other official cars were a Land Rover and an Austin “Sheerline.”
Sir Clive Edwards believes in rubber engine mountings, his H.R.G. employing vast Metalastic blocks under the front feet of its Lea-Francis engine. The car is towed by a Lea-Francis Utility.
Basil Tye has reversed the order of things, using a Cooper 1,000 with 498-c.c. engine.
Richardson hopes to employ his old R.R.A. (Riley) chassis as a Formula II car, in conjunction with an ex-McClure 2-litre Riley engine.
A telegram of condolence was sent by the M.A.C. to a convalescent John Bolster, who now dices in a bath-chair. Best wishes from Motor Sport for your early recovery, John.
And our profound thanks to the sportsman in an Aston-Martin who came to our aid when the box-like Editorial conveyance ran out of fuel outside Worcester.
Photographs appearing in this article are Motor Sport copyright.