Raymond Mays Makes Fastest Time At Shelsley Walsh
Outstanding Runs by Poore, Wharton and Betty Haig
AT the Shelsley Walsh Meeting on June 10th the sun shone so strongly that the tar on the road melted and fast times were impossible. What with sun-tops, bare midriffs, shorts, and weird head-coverings, quite a "Freiberg" atmosphere prevailed. Curiously, in spite of plentiful petrol, the crowd was about the smallest we have seen at Shelsley---call it be that circuit racing is depriving sprints of their public?
The M.A.C. is rather hard on the Press, too. We again heard the telephone service critcised and for our part we object to being made to leave the road and climb hundreds of steps to reach the Press tent, an hour before the climb is scheduled to commence. Spectators can tarry on the lower reaches of the hill if they feel overcome, but not so the Press reporter. Has Leslie Wilson tried carrying cameras up those steps? And can he give us a good reason for causing his marshals to enforce this seemingly dictatorial rule? In the heat of june 10th a lift in the Bristol that continually went up and down the course would leave been appreciated -but was refused.
* * *
The racing was really quite interesting. In practice Ken Wharton had achieved the fantastic time of 38.38 sec. in his unblown Cooper 1,000. Raymond Mays' new sprint car being, like the B.R.M., unready, he was forced to rely on his 2-litre E.R.A. And Joe Fry, car-record-holder in 37.35 sec., was also present and correct in the Freikaiserwagen.
The "500s" had their go first, Jeremy Fry's Parsenn being appreciably quicker than anyone else, in spite of a nasty slide out of the "S." Peter Collins' Cooper was second, the Tiger Kitten third. Good climbs were made by Truman, Beardshaw and Cutler.
Naturally. Wharton was master of the 1,100-c.c. class, his time of 39.89 sec, being fastest of all in the first half, and a really vicious skid on the approach to the "S" must have slowed him considerably. Instone's nicely-constructed Djinn was next best, followed by Spollon's Merton Motors--which is Morgan followed by G.N. Symonds had a busy time in his Austin, whose ex-Lightweight engine seems "too fast for chassis." Heinrich's J.A.P.-engined A.C. Special bent a valve in practice and appeared to repeat the process during its climb, which it finished behind a Jeep. Then Joe Fry launched the Freikaiserwagen but he couldn't have got it quite straight, for it mounted the left-hand bank not far from the start and rolled over, destroying some of its non-detachable wheels. Joe cut his hand but was otherwise more disgruntled than damaged. John Bolster gleefully told us over the public address that when asked by a nurse would he like some sal volatile, Joe remarked that he'd prefer a brandy and soda! After this unhappy episode (the crash, not Joe's choice of drinks !). Betty Haig, braking rather hard for the "S" gave an exceedingly polished exhibition in her Cooper 1,000, clocking 43.31 sec. On her second run she reduced this to 43.31 sec., vanquishing Joy Cooke in Wharton's Cooper 1.000 by 0.84 sec.
Walker's E-type notched up another non-start in the 1 1/2-litre class, where Richardson's B.R.A. was easily fastest, brakes in demand after a very fast approach to the "S."
So to the 3-litre class. On his first run Raymond Mays looked slow through the "S" and his 40.23 sec. left him at the mercy of Wharton. However, he was the old Ray on his second run, clocking 38.61 sec.--and didn't the ''Shelsley regulars" appreciate it! The class was otherwise dominated by some splendid Bugatti ascents-Stubberfield, and Willment in the ex-Ayrton car he has recently acquired and which he drives so well, being 2.9 sec. and 3.17 sec. slower than Mays, respectively. Which rather proves Ray the master here, doesn't it, for the course was slippery and the faster your car the more you can slip!
Davenport got a great reception and his Spider, looking less hectic than usual, nevertheless clocked 42.38 sec. to win the Shelsley Special Award. The next question was could Dennis Poore beat Mays? On his first ascent the big Alfa-Romeo clocked 40.98 sec., including some trials-motoring on the grass out of the "S." Next time up Poore made no mistakes, but his beautifully polished climb in this quite unsuitable car was 0.25 sec. slower than Mays. McAlpine's Maserati was second, Norris' A.N. Special third, but perhaps Lloyd-Jones stole their thunder. He made one ascent in his new car--a four-wheel drive, rear-engined special, the engine being an unblown 21 3/4-litre Rolls-Royce "Kestrel". The possibilities of oversteer are immense, and the time of 46.63 sec. creditable under the circumstances. Alick Pitts did a brave 43.8 sec. in the Triangle-Skinner. Poore, McAlpine and Richardson took the Team Prize, and Mays leads the R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship.
The ten fastest were :-
Raymond Mays (E.R.A.) 38.61 sec.
R. D. Poore (Alfa-Romeo) 38.86 , ,
K. Wharton (Cooper) 38.86 , ,
K. McAlpine (Maserati) 39.95 , ,
P. J. Stubberfield (Bugatti) 41.57 , ,
J. Willment (Bugatti) 41.78 , ,
B. H. Davenport (G. N. Spider) 42.38 , ,
J. Fry (Parsenn 500) 42.43 , ,
G. N. Richardson (B.R.A.) 42.57 , ,
B. Spollon (Merton Motors) 42.63 , ,
If you study this list, you will see who was really outstanding!