VSCC at Wiscombe

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On May 14 the VSCC had another speed hill-climb at the pleasant and interesting course at Wiscombe, which Majors Richard Chichester and Charles Lambton had the initiative to turn this into an excellent venue from a rough country mansion drive in 1954, rather as the Bugatti OC had constructed their Prescott course before the war. (I remember Major Lambton calling on me with the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost tourer he had found in Tel-Aviv just after the end of the war and, with Major Chichester. driven the 5000 adventurous miles back to England and my later introduction to the new Wiscombe hill-climb.)

Since then this has become a popular fixture, especially for the VSCC. At this year’s event five new class records were established, and FTD was made by the polished Mark Walker, who clocked 46.14sec on his second run in the Cirrus aero-engined Parker-GN, although this was 1.26sec outside the VSCC course-record of Cameron’s 500cc Cooper-JAP. But it was 0.51sec quicker than the best ERA time, that of Bruce Spollon’s R8C. The Parker is too young to run as an Edwardian and there wasn’t an “aero” class, but Ben Collings with 19 litres of Mercedes-Maybach. a massive car for this course, cleaned up the Edwardian division in a record 58.16sec, with the Knox next best, in 66.09sec, quicker by 0.51 sec than Tarring’s Napier Sixty, with Collings also winning easily on handicap.

In the 1100 cc sportscar class Baxter, having the only supercharged A7 Special, put it over all the others, p v t cars included, with a class-record climb in 57.23sec, beating Clear’s Riley 9 and McGrath’s A7 Special, the best by a pvt driver being Brewster’s 59.50sec with his 1933 A7 Special, exactly equalling his handicap. But Mrs Frost’s 1930 A7 Special won on that basis. Of the 1500 cc sportscars, the best show was that of G Smith’s Frazer Nash, the 1929 car again vanquishing both its class rivals and the p v ts, (53.76sec), Cobb’s 1930 Frazer Nash also ahead of the next division, (57.12sec), the p v t class won by Gurney’s 1½-litre Riley Special (68.76sec), and the handicap winner Saxl (Riley 9). The up-to-3-litre sports-cars were then unleashed and yet again vintage prevailed over the 1931-39 cars, as Jon Giles set a new record of 51.82sec in the FN/AC. This time MacMaster’s EN-BMW was next fastest (52.98s), taking p v t honours, Cautley’s 2.3 Bugatti second vintage car (54.78sec) and Handicap scorer Spencer’s 12/50 Alvis.

There were more p v t entries in the class for over-3000 cc sports-cars than in any other and they produced the winner, in the form of Bronson’s very fast s/c 2.6 Riley Special (49.77sec) after a slow first ascent and a missed time on its second. Gilbert’s 4¼ Derby-Bentley was next (51.02sec) and third was the vintage section winner Maeers’s GN Special (52.56sec), which beat the only other challenger, Goldsmith’s vintage 4½ Bentley (59.44sec); handicap won by Hevis’s 4.3 Alvis.

After the Edwardians the 1100 cc racing cars were let loose. It was a vintage victory again, Trevor Johns’s blown Amilcar (53.71sec) and Lake’s Amilcar-Riley, also s/c, (54.65sec) heading off Campbell’s 1938 Austin-Fiat (55.08sec) and the vintage Chawner-GN netting it on handicap. Only five cars contested the 1500 cc racing class, after Kerr’s 1920 GN was posted a nonstarter. So the two sections were joined, to give a win to Stephens’s ERA (52.12sec) from handicap winner Caroline in the 1928 Morgan 3-wheeler. Miss Holmes in a smaller Morgan failed on her second run. When it came to the up-to-3000 cc racing-cars, it might have been different if Freddie Giles had not hit a tree on his first run in the FN/GN and torn off a front wheel without bending the axle. Spollon scored first place in the ERA (46.65sec), followed by Day in ERA R14B (47.40sec) and Lord Raglan driving very well in his red Type 51 Bugatti (48.98s). The vintage best was achieved by Mitchell’s GN/AC (51.28sec) who was also best on handicap, beating the only other runner, Marshall’s s/c 2.3 Bugatti (54.95sec). In view of sparse entries the over-3000 cc and historic post-war racing-cars were lumped together and produced a win for Walker, as well as his FTD, and two class records. As Leston’s 1929 Lovell-Elkhart was second (49.66sec) and took the handicap prize, the post-war cars were soundly defeated, the Connaught clocking 51.81 sec, the Cooper-Bristol 55.26sec, which only bettered the vintage Dodd Special’s time (58.0sec). So ended another enjoyable meeting at the Devon hill.

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