THE COLMORE CUP TRIAL. GALE DRIES THE COURSE.
THE results of the Colmore Cup Trial show that twostroke motor-cycles have once again made outstanding performances. ‘Me Colmore Cup itself was won by J. Parker, on a four-stroke B.S.A. cornbination, but two of the premier solo prizes—the Walker Cup and the Calthorpe Trophy—were won by two-strokes.
The Walker Cup, for machines up to 175 c.c., went to that well-known competition rider, Bert Kershaw, who was mounted for the first time on a Villiers-engined two-stroke James, whilst the Calthorpe Trophy, which is by far the most valuable of all the awards, was won for the second time in succession by a Dunelt twostroke, ridden by N. Anderson.
The eve of the trial was sufficiently forbidding in the inclemency of the elements for even the most rabid Sunbac official. Pouring rain with hurricane gusts of wind combined with sleet and snow to daunt the most hardy, and a few claps of thunder were thrown in to heighten the general gloom.
Saturday, February nth, dawned with the gale still at its height, and Motor Stort representatives had much ado to keep their car on the road during their dash from Town to the course in the small hours. However, it is an ill-wind, etc., and the very gale which interfered with riding and engine cooling also rapidly dried the worst mud on the hills, and the course was in no very difficult condition by the time the last man left the start at Stratford-on-Avon.
The first impediment was the Acceleration Test held on Aston Hill, which was conducted in a highly scientific manner, utilizing an electric buzzer between the starter and Mr. Ebblewhite. Contrary to precedent, this process functioned without fault during the whole of its use.
Outstanding performances were, among others, rendered by G. P. Baxter (499 c.c. Rudge), J. H. Amott (Rudge), Dance (Sunbeam), N. Anderson (Dunelt) and Kershaw (172 C.C. James). Among the nineteen cars, the best times were put up by H. F. S. Morgan and G. C. Harris on Morgans, P. C. Ralli (Alvis), and J. P. Attenborough (Salmson).
The fastest time of the day was made by Dance in 7.4 seconds, while the fastest car was Ralli’s Alvis with 121/5 seconds.
The next item was the Stop and Re-start at Blockley, which, thanks to the wind, presented no undue difficulty.
Kineton Hill next loomed up, where perhaps the fastest climb of the day was made by C. Harman on a 246 c.c. O.K. Dance gave his usual display of excellent riding and L. E. Chirney also on a Sunbeam, spoilt a good climb by footing. K. J. Whistance (New Imperial) was hectic, J. V. Rogers (172 c.c. McEvoy) simply failed, and H. Gittins (B.S.A.) left the straight and narrow way until stopped by a railing. Among the sidecars the outstanding event was by J. W. Walton, whose 499 c.c. Rudge and sidecar upset
before entering the observation area. E. L. Forge (Morgan) climbed well ; Ruby Slade (Norton sidecar) displayed ability, and Hicks (Douglas sidecar) and Watson (Sunbeam sidecar) showed how it should be done.
Post Office Hill was the first observed climb, and presented no difficulty after the negotiation of the lefthand bend.
Gambles Lane was the scene of the brake test, and was found to be dry and firm-surfaced. The Rudges were noticeably excellent in the efficiency of their interconnected braking system. No difficulties were encountered by the cars.
New Colmore Hill proved interesting, but was not as difficult as had been expected. The drying wind had robbed the hill of its greatest terrors, and even the leaves covering the last stretch were dry and comparatively easily negotiated.
The lower slopes were soon cut up and remained wet all day, but apart from a certain sliding, the gradient offered no menace to one’s awards. Higher up, past the gate, the tale was different, and in the narrow part between the banks, the spectacle of cavotting machines frisking, from side to side or monotonously hitting alternate banks was quite a common sight. The gale blowing up the hill was useless as a cooling medium, and engine failure was therefore common. Riders appeared in sight heralded by clouds of blue smoke, and the reek of Ethyl blown in gusts up the hill. Doris Webster’s 172 c.c. James died on the lower slopes, but reappeared two hours later at the summit—which shows what determination will do. Steady climbs were the order of the day, and although the steadiest climbs consisted, for the most part, in a series of wild skids and leaps, the Douglases must be mentioned for the maintenance of a perfectly straight course and appreciable speed.
G. F. Povey went up fast on a Velocette two-stroke, and amid a screen of smoke the dim figures of Gus Kuhn and A. W. Thrush on Calthorpes were seen to be ascending steadily. Marjorie Cottle was up to form, and Boyd-Harvey’s Matchless deserved something better than ” sit-up-and-beg ” handle-bars.
There were one or two mixes owing to late soloists failing in the path of the sidecars, notably when P. B. Cranmore’s B.S.A. outfit bumped Lovegrove’s Ratko. Margaret Newton shot up the bank on her Douglas, baulked Uzzell (986 c.c. B.S.A. sidecar) and got going again with a semi-operative clutch. Next she was hit by Walker (499 c.c. Rudge sidecar) and was next seen completing the climb on foot, the Douglas being manhandled by willing spectators.
Mansell’s Norton outfit was ferocious, but H. L. Gibb’s Enfield passed gently away. He was last seen pushing slowly towards the horizon. Margaret Sorby (770 C.C. B.S.A. sidecar) was fair, and Giles unsuccessfully attempted the hill on a flat tyre. Ruby Slade made a slow climb behind a lame duck,
and shot off along the colonial section at the summit with great éclat.
Clifton’s four-seater Alvis made a splendid climb and was followed by an Austin Seven without chains.
On the whole the cars made uniformly good climbs, the surface presenting adequate grip. Mollart’s A.C. just got up, and Miss Milne’s Austin ceased twice. The resplendent A.C. of Miss Roper was geared too high and failed.
After New Colmore the route marking degenerated, and several competitors strayed.
Downhill on Piccadilly was awkward for the solos, and next Gypsy Lane was encountered. This was probably the piece de resistance of the trial and it was the ruts that did it. Footing was general, crashes usual, and unsteadiness more or less universal.
Knowles on a 346 C.C. Sharratt registered the first failure, followed by Marshall, Wyncoll and Bedford. T. Ince’s Sunbeam made shocking noises and stuck in a rut Ramstedt (Cotton) and Wishtance (New Imperial) occupied the whole available road, and baulked F. N. Wood (James).
Sidecar wheels were rested in thin air, and F. Hayes (New Hudson sidecar) charged Margaret Newton, who must have been getting used to that sort of thing by now. Two Morgans had trouble—one chains, the other countershaft.
Austin Sevens were very good, Lovatt’s Sports Jowett slow but sure, but Eadington’s smart little Fiat failed and caused failure in others. Mollatt (A.C.) stopped, and Clifton’s Alvis came to rest momentarily owing to fuel stoppage or a choked jet.
Lunch was held at Winchcombe and occupied but half-an-hour, after which Old Stanway was climbed by everyone with ease, though the cars suffered wheel slip in the Colonial section later on.
Laverton Hill was the next item of interest, with a slimy lower reach and bumpy at the top. Although the gale was again from behind, engines did not seem to object, and the procession was unimpeded by failures. Little Brockhampton was taken as it came, and the route lead on by Snow Hill, Aston and Mickleton to the finish at Stratford.
Three cars arrived at the finish having missed part of the course, and did not, therefore, check in. As a whole, this year’s Colmore was probably the easiest since the war, not on account of the route, but
by reason of its dry condition due to the terrific gale. The organisation was excellent throughout and, with one exception, the route marking was adequate. The thanks of all are due to the Sutton Coldfield and North Birmingham Club for an enjoyable day’s sport.