VSCC Curborough Speed Trials (May 9th)

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The Vintage SCC run its annual speed trials over the 900-yard Shenstone & Dist. CC course near Lichfield in fine weather. The out-and-back ex-aerodrome road is somewhat artificial, inasmuch as marker-drums line the acute corners, hitting any of which carries a heavy penalty, whereas wumping the bank at other speed events does not necessarily result in the addition of precious seconds. But it is otherwise an excellent setting, the grass-flanked Paddock road reminiscent of many such venues of the 1920s and 1930s. The spectators apparently like it—422 cars attended and some 650 programmes were sold.

Bill Wilks in his Lotus 16 made f.t.d. in 37.4 sec., beating Cottam’s 1966 Connaught record by 1.2 sec. but lost time understeering at a corner on his second run. Corner in his ERA R4D was next fastest, 38.2 sec., taking the award for fastest pre-war car, but sent a drum spinning, going into the first corner on his second run, which was slower anyway. Pilkington (Cooper-Bristol) improved, on his second run, doing third best time, in 38.7 sec. In the Paddock Kirby was reputed to be improving the extractor efficiency of his 1930 Austin 7 by sawing bits off its four exhaust pipes, Winder was seen to have accommodated a belt-driven Wade supercharger outside the bonnet of his already-potent Alvis-engined Lea-Francis, blowing at up to 10 lb./sq. in., which the small SU carburetter found it difficult to live up to, and R. Perkins produced a kind of latter-day-Chitty, in the form of a Riley Nine powered by a 2,762-c.c. Alvis Speed 20 engine supplied with petrol from a mauve bolster tank—even on the straights it looked exciting! The luckless Waines, father and son, had broken first the gear-lever extension, then the crankshaft, in their Riley Nine.

Basil Davenport shared the original GN Spider with Sant, who did 46,2 sec., Tony Brooke had the elusive Vauxhall Villiers going well, using new cylinder heads and 14/40 front wheels, the latter apt to shimmy, causing him to lift-off a trifle early (43.0 sec.), and G. Smith had his Alvis-‘Nash motoring fast (40.6 sec.) Black’s Monza Alfa Romeo was quickest sports car (41.2 sec.). This time it was Davenport who used his right hand to keep the dogs on their chains and the Chawner-GN, driven by Evans, was faster (43.0 sec.). Kain’s Bugatti was 0.1 sec. faster than Rippon’s and Neve’s lone Edwardian Humber clocked 49.7 sec.

The rest of the story is reflected in the results:

Standard Sports Cars up to 1,500 c.c.:
Vintage: R.M.A. Andrews (1928 Brooklands Riley 9) – 49.1 sec.
General: W.B. Fowler (1933 Aston Martin) – 45.4 sec.

Standard Sports Cars over 1,500 c.c.:
Vintage: J.W. Rowley (1925 30/98 Vauxhall Wensum) – 47.6 sec.
General: W.R. Alexander (1933 4 1/2-litre Lagonda) – 44.7 sec.*

Modified Unlimited Sports Cars:
Vintage: R.A. Collings (1928 4 1/2-litre Bentley) – 44.6 sec.
General: W.D.A. Black (1931 Monza Alfa Romeo) – 41.2 sec.

Racing Cars up to 1,500 c.c.:
Vintage: P.J. Evans (1925/30 Chawner-GN-JAP) – 43.0 sec.*
General: H. Moffatt (1934 ERA) – 40.3 sec.

Racing Cars over 1,500 c.c.:
Vintage: B.W. Kain (1926 Type 35B Bugatti) – 40.4 sec.
General: W.E. Wilks (1959 Lotus 16) 37.4 sec.*

*New VSCC class record.