Michael Christie Breaks Ken Wharton’s Three-Year-old Record
After an exciting day’s racing at Silverstone on Saturday, May 5th, the Bugatti Owners’ Club held their 12th International Hill-climb at Prescott on the Sunday. A large crowd turned up to see this well-organised meeting in its lovely surroundings. The weather was hot and dry, which meant that the climbing was to be fast.
The first class was for sports cars up to 1,100 c.c. This was won by Tommy Sopwith in his Cooper-Climax in a time of 47.12 sec.; he was closely followed by A.E. Marsh and M.G. McDowel in similar cars.
The next class was for sports cars of from 1,101 to 1,500 c.c., and in this J.H. Gee in a Fiat/B.M.W. tried on his first run to use more of the track than there was, but in spite of this he put up two good times which gave him a second in the class. The third man, J.A. Brooks, in his Cooper-M.G. tried so hard on Pardon Hairpin that he lifted his rear inside wheel a foot off the ground on the first run, and both front and back wheels 3 ft. on the second – in fact he was lucky not to turn over. The class was won by T.G. Cunane in a Lotus, his time being 48.54 sec.
The 1,501 to 3,000 c.c. class was won, after a very clean climb, by P.A. Everad in a Cooper/Aston Martin in 49.18 sec. He was followed by W.S. Perkins in a Lotus/B.M.W., and third was K. Rudd driving an A.C. Ace-Bristol. R.D. Jennings in his A.C. Ace-Bristol was having difficulties at the Hairpin, while I. Sievwright in his Austin-Healey tried very hard to select reverse on both climbs, very nearly succeeding on the second climb.
In the class for sports cars over 3,000 c.c., G. Parker came first with two very consistent runs, 47.18 sec. on the first and 47.16 sec. on the second: this time breaks the class record held by E.P. Seragg at 47.40 sec. Second and third were R. Fielding and E.P. Seragg in H.W.M.-Jaguars. The most pleasant sight during this class was when J.A. Shutter’s 4-litre Invicta saloon hurtled up the hill in 52.47 sec.
In the first class for racing cars, R. Fielding came first with a time of 45.77 sec., the second run he made finished on a bank and he returned to the start. In the 500-c.c. class, Sir T. Beevor, R.W. Colton and H.C. Taylor all tried too hard, resulting in runs to the bottom of the hill instead of the top! D. Boshier-Jones, who holds the record for this class, set up the fastest time of 45.52 sec., while a very close second was Ivor Bueb, who put up the most polished climb in his class. Third was H.C. Taylor, who spun trying to improve on his first time.
The Formule Libre class was split into two parts, one with engines of four or more cylinders and the other of engines with two cylinders. It was from the latter class that the f.t.d. was expected.
The four-cylinder class consisted mainly of E.R.A.s, and they came first, second and third. First was J. Broad in the ex-Bira car at 45.63 sec., followed by Chris Summers driving the same car; third was J. Stuart in the ex-Gerrard E.R.A.
The two-cylinder cars came up next, and it was at this point that the record was expected to fall, as in fact it did, when M.A.H. Christie went up in a time of 43.65 sec., breaking the record by 0.05 sec. and making fastest time of the day. Second was A.E. Marsh and third Ken Wharton.
The Bugatti Handicap was won by M. Hatton in a Type 37 in 49.32 sec. After the last climb Michael Christie made a run of honour, which brought to an end a perfect weekend of motor sport. – M.P.