THE J.C.C. HIGH SPEED RELIABILITY TRIAL. Notes on the Performance of Competitors. By the ASSISTANT EDITOR. (See illustrations on centre page.)
PROM the spectator’s point of view—which was -IL excellent as to position—the staging of the trial does great credit to the organizers. It was possible to watch the performances of the cars at every bend in comfort and a variety of sensations was obtainable by moving from point to point. The hairpin could be viewed from above and in safety, or one could walk to the other side of the tunnel and again in safety view some splendid cornering on a vile surface ; by going a few
yards further one came to a continuation of the same corner, and this could be watched so closely that one could almost touch the cars ; once more one moved to the bottom of the test hill and a vision of violent acceleration greeted one. Although the race (pardon the word, if not correct in theory it certainly was in practice) was not easy to follow
without a good memory or a note-book, nobody seemed to mind, and the general impression formed was that everyone enjoyed the” show.” Certain it was that some of the competitors themselves had a very hazy idea as to what lap they were on, so the onlookers could hardly be expected to follow the
movements of some fifty odd cars, which were continually passing and repassing in one long kaleidoscopic line. The only snag was that if you had visited Long Tom at the start, you were in considerable doubt as to what you had lost or won at the finish. Talking of Long Tom it may interest our readers to know that the Editor of the BROOKIANDS GAZETrE started favourite at the short price of 3 to 1. We imagine that the yellow jumper did
it, because previously he had been quoted at 8’s, and Long Tom was not far wrong (as usual), for had it not been for a burst tyre on his fifth lap, Capt. Twelvetrees would have easily made the best time. After their trial ” tour ” of the course the cars were started from the usual finish of the circuit and sent off at 5 secs. interval. There were ix touring cars under 1,100 c.c., 21 touring cars between ‘,roc) c.c. and 1,500 c.c., and 17 standard sports cars not exceeding
1,500 c.c. These latter were composed of three Alvis, four Amilcars, one Aston-Martin, one Frazer-Nash and G.N., a Mathis, four Rileys and two Salmsons.
The first round was No. I, A. Simmons on an 8-18 Talbot, followed by No. 6, a Salmson piloted by S. H.
Newsome, then Nos. 3 and 2, and then came a surprise by the appearance of Harvey on the touring two-seater Alvis whose number was pg. Not content with this, he overhauled everyone on the second lap and was the first down the test hill. The first car to occasion undue interest was J. Macdonald’s Alvis, whose magneto failed on the hairpin,
and he drove straight through the hedge into the field beyond. To balance matters, G. Simkins’ Salmson broke its nearside wheel, with the result that the car collapsed into the ditch, but no further damage was occasioned, and the occupants stepped out unhurt.
On the first two laps, Hornsted, whom we were glad to see at the wheel again, seemed to be going badly on the Mathis, and his cornering was not as brilliant as we expected. Doubtless this was due to the fact that one must get used to the balloon-tyred racer gradually. As the trial progressed his cornering rapidly improved and he showed us all that, balloon tyres or not, the old Homsted was back again and his driving was good to watch.
On the third lap Laffan (G.N.) and Twelvetrees (Alvis) were both well ahead, as was also the Ceirano. On the fourth lap Harvey, in descending the test hill, very nearly took away the timekeeper’s box which was stationed at the foot. Throughout, Harvey was the model of a good driver and the Alvis never gave him a second’s worry. His passenger seemed to be an expert in cigarette smoking and lighting, and did both at all speeds. While on this subject we may say that nothing could damp the ardour of Davis’s pipe. He was driving a four-seater Talbot, which was lapping excellently, and yet its three inmates never ceased sm9king and talking, apparently thoroughly enjoying the run.
Twelvetrees was timed to exceed 85 m.p.h. over a short distance, and his laps were often in the region of 4 minutes. Undoubtedly his was the fastest car competing that afternoon.
Humphreys, driving an Amilcar, was going excellently, but Was inclined to be too fast down the hill and very often was baulked by preceding cars. He managed in several cases to give us an excellent piece of driving.
As a contrast, Twelvetrees very cannily seemed to under estimate his ten miles an hour stretch, which of course left him a good get-away at the foot of the hill : this get-away was quite one of the most spectacular bits of work of the day, and no matter where one was on the course (not the track part) one could always tell the Alvis as it shot away from the gates. Very good gear work was in evidence here, but there are not many cars made that would have stood up to it, but lap after lap the high note of the Alvis was in evidence, always starting at the same place and the same strength and merging into a lower note as Twelvetrees changed up.
While mentioning Alvises, Harvey’s did a lap in 41 minutes, which was unbeaten by any of his class and only by one or two of the sporting class. W. Trigonis was disqualified for passing another competitor in the ten mile limit. With the exception of the Amilcars, Twelvetrees’ Alvis was again to the fore by making the fastest descent of the hill. This was a tremendous test for the front springs and a complete report on the action of the springs of all the cars would be interesting especially if they all took it at the same speed. Curiously enough, some of the springs seemed less strained when the bump was taken fast, whereas others simply would not stand a fast descent ; yet again I am sure one or two of the
cautious ones would have done better to have spurted a bit.
About this time we took a few observations on the behaviour of the springing when cars hit the angle at the bottom of the test hill. Tabulated below are some of the results.
On the corner following the tunnel much good cornering was to be seen and although Kaye Don handled his Bayliss-Thomas in great style, Wallsgrove without doubt was the chef of this part of the course ; his cornering and gear changing too, were excellent on the hairpin, except on one lap when he very nearly capsized. On the next bend, which was very sensibly strewn with sand, Homsted showed that the angle was just right for the Mathis and he came round at faster speed every time. Vernon Balls delighted everyone with a
marvellous skid, and both Don and Hordern showed us how touring cars and four-seaters could be cornered.
The Frazer-Nash, which in the hands of Aldington and Hillary, were both lapping consistently, took all the bends well, yet without wasting effort on too fast a turn. The four-seater Rileys, driven by Cooper and Wallsgrove, kept together for a long time, and they changed gear at the same spot -in nearly every case, Cooper holding on perhaps a little too long for the peace of mind of his engine.
Newsome (Salmson), who was first in from his class, was almost clocklike, as also was his lap companion Myers (Gwynne) whom he did not shake till his last lap or two. An unfortunate incident occurred when Hordern (Alvis) bent his selector rod, and, of course, jammed his gears, in the middle of the hairpin bend ; luckily there was enough room for the field to pass, but not at speed, which was perhaps the reason for the “one extra lap”
cards issued on last round to competitors.
The yellow Frazer-Nash driven by Lewis, which had been speeding up Harvey’s Alvis, suddenly commenced misfiring. He finished and in time for a gold we believe.
Retirements were numerically small and amongst them were Ball’s Amilcar, Wallsgrove’s Riley, the A.B.C., and Newsome’s Salmson.
Hillary had the misfortune on his last lap to crash his Frazer-Nash in the tunnel ; the steering gear broke and the car shot from side to side, but luckily without injury to either occupant.
A. Pemberton (Amilcar), the son of the famous author by the way, was unlucky with his silencer, the fishtail of which fell off towards the end of the trial. His performance up till then had been very good, one of the best in fact, but this misfortune caused his retirement by virtue of the silencer law.