My Le Mans hero
“Three things: Derek Bell, Porsche 962 and Rothmans. That does it for me. I grew…
THE FIRST PRESCOTT MEETING
ARTHUR BARON (2.3-LITRE BUGATTI) ESTABLISHES FIRST COURSE RECORD AT BUGATTI OWNERS’ CLUB’S NEW HILL-CLIMB VENUE. FASTEST SPORTS-CAR TIME BY SYDNEY ALLARD’S VI2 ALLARD-SPECIAL.
THE Bugatti Owners’ Club deserves the very warmest congratulation on the first meeting at the new Prescott Speed hill-climb venue near Cheltenham. At the inaugural meeting on Shmday, May 15th, open to Bugatti, Midland, Derby and District, and Brighton and Hove M.C. members, the Organisation at this picturesque and enthralling venue was of a noticeably high order. Enclosures were excellently placed so that really excellent views were Obtainable, the loud-speakers were efficient and prompt, though not, as yet, rising to an actual commentary. There was already a footbridge over the course, classes and cars started in order and to time, the electrical timing apparatus functioned impeccably throughout, and the eating marquees and other accommodation were entirely satisfactory. An apology was broadcast in connection with the rough and slippery nature of some of the footpaths, or absence, of same, and spectators were assured that this would be rectified before the Open. Meeting on July 3rd. Although the weather had broken the previous day and. rain fell heavily in the morning, an excellent :attendance of some 2,000 to 3,000 souls augurs well for July 3rd. So far as the course itself is concerned, one authority said it is to Shelsley what the Crystal Palace is to Donington. Actually, our own opinion of Prescott is rather higher. Certainly the hill is slow, by reason of the nature and frequency of the bends, the present lack of reassuring safety banks at nasty precipices, and the rather narrow width of road at the last acute bend. But it is definitely the real thing, is in no way ” circus,” hind it is not only a rare tester of driving ability,
but places a considerable premium on car cornering and braking qualities. Reverting for a moment to matters of general organisation, the plain wellplaced notice boards in the Club’s colours, the low admission charge of 2,6, the free admission of members of the organising club, and the prompt issuing of practice times to drivers, are other points on which the brothers Giles deserve full marks. The highest entry fees were imposed purposely to avoid too huge an entry and, as compensation, there was nearly /60 in cash. trics, J. S. Steele, as I imekeeper, 14. S. C rutch, as starter, J . D. A a ward, as scrutineer, and Dudley-Smith and Miss Strain, as Paddock marshals, share the credit for excellent organisation with other officials not mentioned in the pro
gramme. The only hitch seemed to be the descent of intermittent heavy showers
and the temporary It of the driver of the Ford V8 breakdown lorry when two cars required retrieval from the course. The practice period indicated the tricky nature that is Prescott’s. K. W. Bear left the road at the ” S ” and damaged both axles of his Bugatti ; though by dint of a very hurried run to London, he contrived to appear as a competitor, at 1 p.m. on the
Sunday afternoon. The BeCke-Powerplus also left the course, without damage, the Allard-Special went straight on, on one run, at Orchard Corner, NV, Boddy’s Lancia Aprilia had hectic moments at Valley Bend, and John Smyth’s Brescia Bugatti spun round at the Essea and departed very gent1V down the bank, 1111111er it was retrieved by the breakdown lorry. Col. Giles used his 4.9-litre Bugatti coupe as an imposing Course Car. The Veteran Class gave rise to in alt trouble, all the entries remaining behind at Prescott that night ! Clutton first lost air-pressure with the Itala and then burred over the teeth of the first gearpinion, hectic work with a cold chisel
and huge hammer just enabling him to start in bottom, thereafter using the 2.8 to 1 second gear. Heal’s most impressive Fiat dropped an inlet valve, due to a collar shearing, though his crew calmly dismantled the hale camshaft and faked up a repair. Mills forgot to pump up the Renault’s tyres and burst the near rear tube on his first run, and Lycett’s Hispano-Suiza hit a bump in the Paddock and all the forward gears became reverse, so that it was a non-runner. Heal could not return his practice time, and it was left to Clutton to do a magnificent run in 58.4 secs., which won him the class both on time and on the Clutton-formula, which was in list!.
In the touring class Lord Avebury’s Lammas-( raham did 59 secs., and adonro’s low-chassis 4i-litre iiivicta, which he sportingly offered to run as a sportscar, vas second in 59,6 Sees. Northway’s 41-litre Bentley and Boddy’s Lancia Aprilia saloon did not run, and Gormly burst the other Lammas’s gearbox.
In all there were fifty-three entries, each car getting two runs, and speed began with the sports classes.
J. G. Clark’s rather special FrazerNash won the 1 iditre class, but K. V. Baillie-Hill’s H.R.G. was only a second slower, and Curtis managed third place with his H.R.G. Miss Wilby was rapid with her Frazer-Nash, Smyth was cautious with the smartest Brescia Bugatti in existence, flal Hampton drove this 14)22 ex-raeing Mercedes-Benz very well indeed, using his. blower. The 3-litre sports class was won by Shakespeare’s Type 55 Bugatti, his only rival, Craig’s Type 55, being beaten by a fair margin, though in the wet Craig was quicker.
Of the big sports-cars, Symondson’s Type 57S Bugatti put up a stable, well judged run in 55.3 secs., and Crowther’s beautiful blown 4.9-litre Le Mans Bugatti was a mere .01 of a sec. slower. The Lammas and Invictas were no match for the I3ugattis, but Sydney Allard, with Hutchison’s V12 sports Allard Special, made a very well driven ascent in 54.35 secs., fastest sports-car time of the day. This remained the best time by an tinblown car until the second runs, when Allard was nearly 3 secs. slower on a very soaked course, whereas Lones improved his time on the 996 c.c., chiefly Morgan, Tiger Cat. The very smart production model Allard-Special V8 two-seater, brought down by R. J. Canhatu, attracted much favourable comment in the Paddock, so Allard had every reason to feel pleased with his Prescott visitation.
Sumner ‘s noisy Sumner-J.A.P. deservedly won the I flitre racing class, with the excellent time of 51.28 secs. The Becke-Powerplus, in the hands of C. P. Vaughan, was second and Clive Lones got third place, going really fast in the wet on his second run to establish best unblown time in 52.86 secs. In the over class Arthur Baron’s 2.3litre Bugatti beat Lemon Burton’s sister car by .04 of a second, with Craig’s sports 4.9-litre Bugatti third. Bear was applauded for getting back in time to run, and Ballamy drove well with the independently suspended ex-Chol
mondeley-Tapper Bugatti. Hunter’s Alta and Denis Evo.ns’s M.G. seemed to possess almost too much power for the course.
So ended a most excellent first meeting, with great interest attaching to Prescott on July 3rd.
Course Record : A. Baron (2,270 c.c. S/0 Bugatti), 50.70s.
if-litre Record : R. A. C. Sumner (998 c.c. 8/0 Sumner J.A.P.), 51.28s.
Sports-car Record : S. H. Allard (4,878 c.c. V12 Allard-Special), 54.35s.
Unblown Record : C. Lones (998 c.c. Tiger Cat), 52.86s.
Ladies’ Record : Miss Wilby (1,496 c.c. FrazerNash), 58.408.
Veteran Cars : 1, C. Clutton (12-litre 1908 Itala), 58.4s.; 2, A. S. Heal (10-litre 1910 Fiat), 59.68.
Touring Cars : 1, Lord Avebury (3.2-litre Lammas, S.), 59s. ; 2, D. Monro (41-litre Invicta), 59.6s.
1,500 c.o.: 1, J. G. Clark (Frazer-Nash), 54.8s. ; 2 K. V. Baillie Hill (H.R.G.), 55.8s.; 8, A. E. S. durtis (H.R.G.), 58s.
8-litres: 1, R. W. Shakespeare (2.3-litre Bugatti), 54.8s.; 2, C. I. Craig (2.3-litre Bugatti), 55.21s.
Over 8-litres : 1, S. II, Allard (4.8-litre Allard Special), 54.35a.; 2, R. C. Symondson (3.3-litre Bugatti), 55.3s. ; 3, J. G. Crowther (4.9-litre Bugatti) 55.31s.
1,500 c.c. 1, It. A. C. Sumner (998 c.c. Sumnerj.A.P.), 51.28s.; 2, C. P. Vaughan (Becke Powerplus), 5:1.98s.; 3, Clive Lones (996 c.c. “Tiger Cat “), 52.86s.
Over 1,800 c.c. •. 1, A. Baron (2.3-litre Bugatti), 50.70s.; 2, J. Lemon Burton (2.3-litre Bugatti), 50.74s.; 3, C. I. Craig (4.9-litre Bugatti), 52.90s.
1, L. M. Ballamy (14-litre L.M.B. -Bugatti), 54.26s.; 2, R. C. Symondson (3.3-litre Bugatti), 55.38.
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