The R.A.C. British Hill-Climb Championship season commenced on April 27th with the Severn Valley M.C.’s Hill-Climb on the lengthened 900-yd. course. Tony Marsh, driving his 1 1/2-litre, twin o.h.c. supercharged Marsh-Climax, snatched the Championship class from Phil Scragg’s 2.5-litre B.R.M., Marsh clocking fastest time of day at 37.03 sec., against Scragg’s 37.25 sec., Peter Westbury’s 2.6-litre Felday-Daimler time of 37.54 sec., and Peter Boshier-Jones’ 1.3-litre supercharged Lotus-Climax 22 time of 37.70 sec. The other scorers of Championship points were David Good (1.5-litre supercharged Cooper-Climax) and Ian McLaughlin (1,100-c.c. Cooper-J.A.P.), who took fifth and sixth places respectively.
The second round of the Championship took place at the Bugatti O.C.’s Prescott Hill-Climb on May 5th. An additional attraction at this event was the International Bugatti Rally, with cars coming from most European countries, and even as far as the U.S.A., to make a record attendance of over seventy Bugattis at the hill. Tony Marsh was using both his 2.5 B.R.M. and his Marsh-Climax for this event, the Marsh being used in the Championship class whilst the B.R.M. was driven to a new hill record of 48.68 sec. in the over-1,500-c.c. Racing Car Class.
The Championship runs saw Brian Eccles, driving an ex-Yeoman Credit Cooper fitted with a 4.7-litre Chevrolet engine and Cooper gearbox, taking the honours with a remarkable time of 50.07 sec.—a most creditable performance for a first outing with the car! Second was Marsh (Marsh-Climax) and Peter Boshier-Jones (Lotus-Climax 22), both with 50.90 sec., to gain nine points apiece. Third was Westbury’s Felday-Daimler, and fourth, fifth and sixth were Scragg (B.R.M.), Westbury (Felday-Daimler) and McLaughlin (Cooper-J.A.P.), respectively.
The third qualifying round was held at the delightful 1,000-yd. Wiscombe Park course in Devon. Here Marsh suffered a broken drive shaft in his B.R.M. during Saturday’s practice, as a result of previously shortening the shafts to use on his Marsh-B.R.M. (crashed at Rest-and-Be-Thankful last year) and then lengthening them to use in the B.R.M. again. However, this was repaired in time for Marsh to start and a brilliant drive saw him breaking the existing record of 44.60 sec. on each climb, finally leaving it at 44.23 sec.; a time set up in the Championship class. Second to Marsh was Peter Westbury with 44.37 sec., then came McLaughlin, Scragg, Good (now with a Daimler engine in his Formula Junior chassis) and Peter Boshier-Jones. Marsh also ran the Marsh-Climax, using 45 DCOE Weber carburetters in preference to the Shorrock supercharger, but only put in one run at 45.55 sec., his second ascent being curtailed when he collided with the straw bales on the approach to the Esses, fortunately without major damage. The Championship positions, inclusive of Loton Park, Prescott and Wiscombe Park, are as follows:
A. E. Marsh (1.5 Marsh-Climax, s/c.), 30; P. Westbury (2.6 Felday-Daimler), 24; E. P. Scragg (2.5 B.R.M.), 23; P. Boshier-Jones (1.3 Lotus-Climax 22, s/c.), 21; I. McLaughlin (1.1 Cooper-J.A.P.), 18; D. R. Good (1.5 Cooper-Climax, s/c.), 12; B. Eccles (4.7 Cooper-Chevrolet), 10.
The next four events to qualify for the Championship are as follows: May 25th: Barbob Manor; June 9th: Shelsley Walsh; June 22nd: Bo’ness; June 29th: Rest-and-Be-Thankful.