THE Bugatti O.C. was favoured with weather in which the pastoral beauty of Prescott showed up to its best advantage for the National Open Speed Hill-Climb on May 4th. An interesting entry had been obtained and there was a good attendance-there is no charge for admission other than the 10s. parking fee and from the top enclosure spectators can watch the ascents from their cars.
The climbs were declared open by the Mayor of Cheltenham, after a fine new timing-box, in memory of the late Ken Wharton, had been unveiled at the foot of the hill.
This was the first round of the 1958 R.A.C. Hill-Climb Championship, which had an excellent entry of 22. Michael Christie found in practice that he couldn’t get below 45 sec. in his special new sprint Lotus with single-cam Climax engine, so he bought back from K P. Scragg his last year’s V-twin Cooper 1,100-and, we hope, gave Scragg a small profit ! However, he still wasn’t quick enough (Lotus = 45.17 sec.; Cooper = 43.44 sec.). It was left to D. Boshier-Jones in his very smart Cooper 1,100 to break Marsh’s course record by 0.6 sec., with a model climb which occupied 42.27 sec., putting him in the lead for the Championship. The contestants, incidentally, range from D. Lewis’ Ford-engined Lotus VI to Roscoe’s blown 1,220-c.c. V-twin Cooper. W. F. Moss drove the E.R.A. ” Remus ” extremely well, reaching 6,200/6,300 r.p.m., on a single-gear ascent, but Rivers-Fletcher had a throttle-cable pull out on his Cooper 1,100 and tended to muff his gear-swaps.
Reg. Phillips’ remarkable Fairley, with rear transverse-placed single-cam blown Climax engine running sans radiator and chain drive, was very rapid, but several of Summers’ runs in the fabulous twin-blower V-twin Farley Special were spoilt because the fuel tap vibrated shut. The only accident involved Henderson’s blown Cooper 1,100-he locked the wheels going into the first corner, the tail came round and the car rolled over the safety bank into a ditch, Henderson suffering a broken rib. Jimmy Stewart broke the gearbox of his new F. II cooper on the line.
An innovation was a class for Grand Touring cars, in which Jon Fast from Sweden, the only ” International ” entry, drove a Mercedes-Benz 300SL with enormous elan, lifting the inner wheel on corners. He drove his 950-c.c. Osca fast in another class. In the big sports-car category ” Doe” Taylor had an Arrant-blown Triumph TR2, Scragg his H.W.M.-Jaguar, Chapman an eight-Amal Chapman-Mercury, Forbes-Clark a Jaguar-D. Broad, when not commentating; drove the beautiful ex-Hampton supercharged 2.3 Alfa-Romeo changing gear forcefully and being beaten by another immaculate p.v.t.. Wall’s road-equipped Type 51 G.P. Bugatti with pre-selector gearbox.-W. B.
MONT PARNES HILL-CLIMB-GREECE (May 4th)
The first round of the European Mountain Championship, now restricted to sports cars with a maximum of 1,500 c.c., took place op the 10-km, course of Mont Parnes, near Athens. There being no starting money for these events in the Championship, official works teams came only from Porsche and Borgward, and in an attempt to beat the Stuttgart cars the Borgward team took on the Italian driver Cabianca. The other excellent mountain driver from Italy, Maglioli, was making his first drive since his serious accident last year but was still not fully recovered.