The S.W. Centre of the B.A.R.C. was unlucky on the occasion of the 14th Brunton Hill-Climb, for torrential rain put paid to record speeds and put the timing apparatus in a dour mood. It takes more than this to daunt the B.A.R.C., however, and, with John Morgan spectating and a record entry of 90, this pleasant event was run off not too far behind schedule, the road even drying somewhat for the late runs.
Brunton is charmingly reminiscent of the speed hill-climbs of the ‘twenties and ‘thirties. The ½-mile course lies in that “uncharted” area of Wiltshire near the picturesque villages of Ludgershall, Collingbourne Ducis and Collingbourne Kingston. The start is from a farmyard, the “start” banner slung between two barns, one of which conveniently houses the time-keepers, on this occasion using a new, very special Swiss watch. The course takes a fast left-hand curve in a dip (where Patsy Burt alarmed us by getting her blue Cooper-Climax partially up the bank in practice) before climbing up to the long, tight, right-hand bend before the finish. Spectators get a fine view from an undulating meadow on the left, protected by banks and iron railings. Moreover, they can drive their cars up to the railings and, on May 12th, were given an excellent commentary by Ian Hammond, who, from the security of a TR Triumph, dispensed technical details of the competing cars — a conscientious commentator who really does take the trouble to ferret out interesting items. After each class the cars return down the hill, branching off to the right and using a country road to return to the rural setting of the Paddock. It is all very akin to the public-road speed events of pre-1925, except that the course, although tarmac-surfaced, is rather narrower than the public roads they diced over in those days.
With the farmyard a quagmire, rain coursing down the hill, and lots of mud in the starting area there wasn’t a hope that the course record (G. Parker-Jaguara-24.56 sec.) or the Ladies’-record (Patsy Burt — Aston Martin — 25.92 sec.) would be lowered, and as Brunton is a safe hill, excitements normally being comparatively mild, we concentrated on the diverse machinery in the Paddock. Here follow notes on some of the competing cars, with results appended from which can be assessed what proved effective on this occasion. — W. B.
Saloons up to 1,500 c.c.: Gosnell’s Ford Squire had Aquaplane mods., the Cawseys’ Dauphine was standard, Brierley’s Ford possessed twin S.U.s and Aquaplane head, Bath’s Thames van used merely an enlarged choke and h.c. head but Hilton’s Ford had a Shorrocks supercharger puffing at 4 lb./sq. in. Clayton’s M.G. Magnette was standard save for under-inflated rear tyres but Heatley’s Elva-team Ford was endowed not only with Elva head and four Amals but a petrol pump was cunningly contrived to create a constant vacuum for the German suction-operated overdrive.
Turner’s Ford Popular was L.M.B.-ised, its rear track wider than standard, Clear drove a normal 1938 Lancia Aprilia, Vagg a normal Hillman, and Cuff-Miller’s Ford was Elva-headed. Very interesting was George Hartwell’s Singer Gazelle saloon, with twin-cam H.R.G. head, central gear-lever, separate front seats and overdrive on second, third and top gears. If it develops successfully it is destined for the Alpine Rally.
1. Heatley (Ford), 35.82 s. 2. Hilton (Ford), 36.12 s. 3. Hartwell (Singer), 36.9 s.
Saloons over 1,500 c.c.: Farquharson’s Allard was a s.v. Mercury coupe, Odoni’s Ford Zephyr had a two-carburetter Mays conversion and claimed over 130 b.h.p., Webb’s Jensen 541 ran on Pirellis, Justesen’s Aston Martin was a 2.6-litre DB2/4, Cooper’s 2½-litre Riley had twin exhausts emitting a noticeably rich mixture, and Standring’s Ford Zephyr had run over 40,000 miles. Tiller’s Ford V8 wasn’t very happy.
1. Cooper (Riley), 32.38 s. 2. Webb (Jensen), 32.85 s. 3. Justesen (Aston-Martin), 32.98 s.
Closed and sports cars up to 1,400 c.c.: Burrows ran an Austin Seven Special with Bowden two-tier transverse-spring front suspension, twin S.U.s, Alta head, and header tank on the scuttle. Leighton’s Mk. XI Lotus used a twin-S.U. tuned Ford engine and had the rare full-width screen. Gardner’s Ford/Cooper was reputed to have the ex-Fenning 500 chassis, in which was a front-mounted Aquaplane Ford Ten engine, the rear suspension incorporating an M.G. differential with the Cooper layout. The Grayford Special had been rebuilt with a space-frame, with Ford Ten engine and Austin Seven rear-end. Two Austin Sevens ran in this class, Lloyd’s alloy-body “Chummy” with cut-down screen, but otherwise original, even to its engine and 4.9 axle; it had, however, twin S.U.s, a four-speed gearbox, hydraulic front shock-absorbers and anti-bounce coil-springs at the back. Reed’s sports two-seater Austin Seven had a twin-S.U. Aquaplane Ford Ten engine and 5.25 axle.
1. Leighton (Lotus), 31.6 s. 2. Gardner (Ford-Cooper), 32.35 s. 3. Gray (Gray-ford), 32.89 sec.
Closed and sports cars, 1,401-1,900 c.c.: Pascoe’s Porsche was a 1,500 standard, Burke’s a Carrera, while Smith had substituted an Elva Ford Ten (Class 1) for his M.G., which had seized-up at Goodwood. Wadsworth had brought his twin-Weber Porsche Carrera in place of his Denzel.
1. Burke (Porsche), 30.08 sec. 2. Wadsworth (Porsche), 30.68 s.
Closed and sports cars over 1,900 c.c.: Blonde Miss Notley had a normal 2.6 Austin-Healey 100, Rudd drove the Le Mans Replica Frazer-Nash with which Tony Crook broke Class E records, its compression-ratio up to 9½ to 1, and the Parks had an A.C. Ace with the Bristol engine from the Tojeiro Mrs. Parks inverted some time ago. Wood’s R.G.S.-Atalanta had a triple-S.U. Aston Martin DB2 power unit. Mather drove a Silverstone Healey. Payne’s Triumph had an outsize exhaust pipe and an oil-cooler.
1. Rudd (Frazer-Nash), 28.86 s. 2. Park (A.C.), 28.97 s. 3. Looker (Morgan), 29.82 s.
Sports/racing cars up to 1,500 c.c.: Patsy Burt was a determined competitor in her ex-Leston Cooper-Climax, with her matching Dauphine as useful shelter from the rain. Cunene had a Mk. VIII Lotus-M.G., Andrew a Lotus-Climax with J2 M.G. gearbox and a slightly too high 4.7 axle ratio, the rear-end being an interesting adaptation of Buckler-de Dion. Threlfall’s Tojeiro-Climax had a space-frame like a scaled-down Tojeiro-Jaguar; it non-started.
1. Andrew (Lotus), 28.1 s. 2. Miles (Lotus), 29.3 s. 3. Willmott (Lotus), 29.9 s.
Sports/racing cars over 1,500 c.c.: Miles entered a Doretti, the Cripps Special appeared, as it always does at Brunton, and Hoskin drove the vintage Beckenham Special, with rare 18/80 M.G. Tigress engine, Lancia i.f.s. and Ford V8 back axle. Farquharson ran his other Allard in this class, a Downton-prepared J2 with Alvis four-speed gearbox.
1. Rudd (Frazer-Nash), 27.53 s. 2. Park (A.C.), 28.16s. 3. Farquharson (Allard), 28.63 s.
Racing cars up to 500 c.c.: Colton’s Mk. IX Cooper had propulsion by J.A.P. Mayne’s was a Cooper-Norton.
1. Colton (Cooper), 28.15 s.
Racing cars over 500 c.c., less than four cylinders: Truscott was driving his ex-Wharton Cooper with ex-Collins 1,098-c.c. supercharged J.A.P. engine for the first time. Good’s Cooper 1,100 was the ex-Owen car and Cottrell had a Mk. VI Cooper 1,100 with tiny sprint tank on a stalk above the engine.
1. Keylock (Cooper), 26.19 s. 2. Truscott (Cooper), 26.78 s. 3. Good (Cooper), 28.45 s.
F.T.D.: Keylock. Fastest S.W. Centre Member: Park. Fastest Lady: Miss Burt. Fastest Novice: Miles.
N.B. — The above results supersede those given in the Pictorial Review, which were based on provisional figures.
Further Brunton hill-climbs are due on June 23rd and Sept. 15th.