PRACTISE day at Shelsley Walsh for the National Speed Hill-Climb, organised by the Midland A. C. promised well for conditions were dry and A. E. Marsh recorded 35.5 sec., well under the existing record set up in 1954 by the late Ken Wharton in 35.5 sec. However, heavy rain on Saturday morning and again in the afternoon prevented all hope of record runs, even though the sun shone during the Hill-Climb Championship runs at the end of the afternoon. The starting area remained slippery throughout the day and it was here that seconds were lost by most competitors, though many also lost time unnecessarily on the hill itself.
In the up-to-1,500-c.c. racing class Christie drove his Lotus single-seater, but used his old V-twin J.A.P.-Cooper for the major event of the day, for the Championship. Marsh also haul two cars running, a single-cam 1,500-c.c. Cooper F.II and his trust V-twin Cooper, and it was the double-banger that he, too, used for the Championship climb. Apart from the usual collection of V-twin Coopers, some with blowers and some without, there was the usual goodly assembly of home-made vehicles, including the two-stage supercharged Farlely Special driven by Summers; Reg Phillips with his Cooper containing a s/c. Climax single-earn engine transversely mounted and driving through a Norton gearbox: the Emeryson-Jaguar, the Norris-Alta, Berry’s E.R.A.-engined/H.A.R.-chassised single-seater, while traditional Ackley veterans were represented by Instone’s Djinn, Southon’s Becke-Powerplus and, the most lethal of all, Davenport’s Spider V-twin with 1-litre pot on-each side. To complete the collection of exciting sprint machinery were a good set of E.R.A.s from W. E. Moss with “Remus,” who was fastest E.R.A., as one has come to expect, to Jeddere-Fisher making his first appearance with his 2-litre E.R.A., while Norton was still not having any joy with the ex-Mays E.R.A. R4D.
In a sprint hill-climb the sports cars tend to get overlooked, hut Scragg with his very quick H.W.M.-Jaguar really made his mark and annexed fastest sports-car time. For the Hill-Climb Championship, those drivers who entered had two runs in addition to their class runs and, coming at the end of the afternoon, conditions were a lot more equal. In his class run Marsh had f.t.d. with 38.74 sec, and on the Championship first run did 39.54 sec., while Boshier-Jones, driving very determinedly. did 38.78 sec. Then Christie did a polished run in his V-twin car and got f.t.d. and best Championship first run with 38.73 sec., and this made Marsh have a real go on his second run, recording 37.97 sec., which put him hack at the top of both lists. Perhaps the most outstanding second run, and certainly the bravest, was that of Summers with R. D. Farley’s lovely “special,” when he recorded 38.60 sec. The only other run under 40 sec, was that of D. R. Good (Cooper 1,100 twin), while Reg Phillips did 40.20 sec., Gaskell (Cooper twin) 40.64 sec. and Moss (E.R.A.) 40.96 sec.
This meeting was to see the retirement of Leslie Wilson after 50 years Of service to the M.A.C., having organised Shelsley meetings throughout that time, and though be will no longer be officially part of Shelsley Walsh he will undoubtedly continue to be there at future meetings, for though he is retiring the hill-climb will go on under new secretaryship.