VSCC Curborough Speed Trials (May 14th)

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Rain did its best to spoil this annual fixture this year but the interest was not diminished, although to some extent Curborough is more a fast driving-test than a traditional speed-trial and one hopes the VSCC will one day include a cornerless sprint, perhaps at some seaside venue, in its repertoire, if only to humour the more brakeless of the sprint cars. David Llewellyn made a notable sports-car f.t.d. in 40.6 sec. (a new record) before the rain came, in his 8-litre Bentley, which although road-equipped rode to the Lichfield course in a lovely large motorcoach. Second quickest in this category was C. Jones in his Big-Four Riley Special.

In the 1-litre racing-car class Freddie Giles and Ron Footitt had another duel, both using the 1929 GN Salome, Giles being the faster, by half-a-second. Freddie would have won the 1,500 c.c. racing-car class as well, in Ron’s 1925 GN-AC Cognac Special, had this class and the unlimited racing-car class not been merged. As it was, Walton’s 1951 Connaught clocked 45.5 sec., Giles 45.8 sec., after sliding onto the grass and turning round on his first run, and Footitt tied for third place with Guy Smith in the Alvis-engined Frazer Nash, both doing 46.4 sec. There was a needle-match here, as Stretton also drove the Cognac. He had a nasty moment when the sole of his shoe got stuck under the brake pedal, so that the throttle wouldn’t close, at the end of his first run. He ran onto the grass on the left of the finish-line at speed but fortunately kept the car from turning sideways while he found the ignition-switch. Chapman’s 1957 Monza Lister-Jaguar again belied the promise of its specification. Four cars contested the Edwardian class, which Arnold-Forster won by 0.2 sec. from Rowley’s 1913 Th. Schneider, with his 1911 chain-drive Bugatti, which was driven to the course with the luggage on a carrier between the front dumb-irons, as in the days of Roland Garros. Its time was 51.0 sec. Liddell’s Straker-Squire was third, beating Neve’s 1914 TT Humber. Then, for me, it was home in two hours in that exceptionally restful quick-car, the Rover 3500, over the pleasant route from Bridgenorth to Ludlow, Knighton and Penybont, ample compensation for getting wet watching the racers! W.B.

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