Very Severe Conditions. Lea-Francis and Allard Successes
The Vintage S.C.C. Marlow Trial of February 3rd was a very pleasant and well-conducted event, but continual rain had rendered the hills rather too sticky considering that competition tyres were barred. An entry of 40 was received. Swallow entered an S.S., C. Beasley-Robinson his yellow “30/08” Vauxhall, Partridge a f.w.d. Alvis, Whittet his Ford V8 with L.M.B. and Columbia axles, Baber Colborne a 4 1/2-litre Invicta, Denis Jenkinson his T.T. Rep. Frazer-Nash, Edbrooke his Lancia “Lambda,” Thomson a 3-litre Sunbeam, Denyer his well-known Lea-Francis, Richmond a Lagonda Rapier, Watson his 1,100-c.c. Fiat. Silcock his V12 Allard, Rivers-Fletcher his “12/60” Alvis, Jones a 1 1/2-litre Frazer-Nash, Davis a 3-litre 1925 Bentley, Dr. Ewen his immaculate “14/40” Delage, John Hay an Anzani Frazer-Nash with modern Morris radiator, Heath a 3-litre Bentley, Da vidge Pitts his silver-bodied Riley “Lynx” 4-seater, Buck a “12/50” Alvis. Hocombe a 4 1/2-litre Bentley, Quartermaine a “30/98” Vauxhall, Adamson a Lea-Francis, Birkett his Type 38 Bugatti 4-seater, Stephenson a 2.2-litre O.M., F/Lt. Mallock his 2-seater Austin Seven, Breen a 1925 3-litre Bentley, Southall a 1 1/2-litre Bugatti, Grosscurth his Frazer-Nash Six, Olley an M.G., Windsor-Richards his 4 1/2-litre Bentley, Yates the ex-Biggs Austin Seven, Dunn his 1923 3-litre Bentley, oldest car entered, Peck a touring 1927 Darracq, Clarke an Alvis, Potter his V8 Allard, Clarke a Tatra, R. C. Clark an 8-litre Bentley saloon, Giron a blown “2.3” G.P. Bugatti, and Smelling a Riley Nine. Certainly it had the makings!
Unfortunately, quite a proportion non started. Birkett had to abandon his Bugatti after working all night on it; Jenkinson had bent. the front-end of his ‘Nash against a public lavatory; while Hay was defeated by loss of chains, after coming down to London from Harrogate on the Thursday.
Not a single car managed to get up Winchbottorn, and only three made clean ascents of Widmere — both Allards, and Mallock’s 4-speed Austin Seven with David Allen an enthusiastic “bouncer.” Giron’s Grand Prix Bugatti would have made it but the gears jumped out, after which he restarted unaided. Beasley-Robinson came to rest with wheelspin, but his “30/98” possessed built-in jacks and he used these to fit Parsons chains and then climbed clean. Denyer very nearly made it in his Lea-Francis, and the 8-litre Bentley got a fair way, majestically, before failing. Peek’s Darracq sheared its magneto drive, the f.w.d. Alvis had got on to the hill, but Rivers-Fletcher made a grand attempt. Silcock went up so fast he was able to select second gear. Ewen’s Delage was slow off the mark and stopped early. Yates broadsided at the start but soon failed, and Davidge Pitts was doing reasonably when a spanner fell on to the floor and jammed the throttle open. Low Ruse was so bad it was cut out. Of the two special tests, the See-Saw on Burford saw Potter make best time with the Allard in 14 sec., while Denyer, was “fastest vintage” in 16 sec., followed by Giron in 17 see. The Pit Stop was good fun. A wheel and a plug had to be changed and Dr. Ewen and his wife did the job very neatly in 51 sec. Runner-up was Terrance Breen, in 70 sec. Alas! some cars fell off their jacks and many fingers sizzled on hot plugs — a good test this and not of a “circus” nature either, for wheels and plugs need to be changed at times, and rapidly, if you race.
A very well-served tea was taken after the event at the Old Farm House, Hurley – but what a pity the proprietor didn’t take the carpets up! Provisional results: C. Choate, Tankard for Best Vintage: A. L. Denver (1927 1 1/2-litre Lea-Francis); runner-up, T. P. Breen (1925 3-litre Bentley). Mrs. Choate, Tankard for Best Non-Vintage: L. Potter (1938 3.8-litre Allard); runner-up, D. G. Silcock (1939 4.4-litre Allard).