VSCC at Bisley

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If the VSCC Bisley Rallies come rather close one to another and display little originality in the matter of driving tests, they constitute an excellent excuse for interesting cars to congregate and are widely enjoyed. That on February 17th attracted an entry of 43 vintage and ten thoroughbred post-vintage cars. After negotiating several “unobserved sections” to reach the venue, competitors first assayed the hillclimb, although this was optional and the restart was abandoned. First to vanquish the steep, loose-surfaced gradient and earn applause was Hyde-East, in his 1928 open 11/2-litre Alfa-Romeo. Vessey’s 1928 Lancia Lambda, dripping water from its radiator, made a splendid ascent, but only two other vintage cars succeeded. Scott’s 1933 Alvis Speed Twenty went up fast, driver trying to unscrew the steering. Palmer’s 1935 Frazer-Nash was outstanding. Laker’s 1934 Riley Nine made a polished climb, Brown’s noisy Frazer-Nash was fast, so was Truscott’s Frazer-Nash, and Murray Austin’s cut-and-shut Lancia Lambda with oversize rear tyres raced up. Loud applause greeted a skilled and successful ascent by Mrs Hull in her Lancia Augusta saloon.

Of the others, Bonham-Carter’s Frazer-Nash nearly got up, Barton’s Morris Cowley stopped mere inches from the summit, Pollock’s smart 1924 Rolls-Royce Twenty coupe, rear axle juddering, just didn’t clear the finish line, and Bingham’s Austin Seven Chummy ended a gallant attempt only because of wheel spin. Kennard’s unwieldy Invicta got even further than these, in spite of a misfire, but Capt Castle’s smart 1926 Rolla-Royce Twenty tourer, three bods bouncing in the back, stopped lower down—sincere apologies to Capt Castle for accusing him of driving pointlessly about the place at the previous Bisley, when, in fact, he was in bed with flu ; this all goes to show how much one Royce is like another; and it was AN Other who offended.

Arnold-Forster’s 1925 Frazer-Nash and Butcher’s 1934 Riley Nine stopped near the start, likewise Bradshaw’s rather soiled 1920 “9/15” Renault, which seemed to have robbed a Lanchester Ten of its legitimate wheels. CB Forster used too little throttle, fearful of spinning the wheels of his Riley Nine, Robertson’s Riley Nine failed early and the Rolls brothers in a 1926 Sunbeam both ceased near the top in spite of the fact that the car has been made to look so much like a racing car that, had he been present, Segrave would not have noticed it.. Burston’s beautiful 41/2 Bentley tourer couldn’t make the grade, neither could Hesketh’s Alvis, and although Bailey’s 1922 Jowett two-seater, original even to its cylindrical rear snubbers, did an involuntary restart, it stopped near the top. Not bad, however, for 907 cc divided between two cylinders, especially as it drove off afterwards laden with four sizeable mortals.

There followed a See-Saw with Box, which most of the drivers performed impeccably, including CJ Bendall in his majestic 1911 Rolls-Royce Carriage of State. Next came the Le Mans rapid-start test in which nearly all the cars were as quick of the mark as their drivers, althongh Palmer’s Frazer-Nash appeared to be suffering from damp amps, and jibbed. In contrast, the 1911 Royce commenced on the ignition switch. Bingham’s Austin Seven shed a spanner from the works as it roared away, Bradshaw’s rumble antics with the Renault were reminiscent of an old-fashioned comic film and Hope removed several items of clothing preparatory to sprinting to his Type 40 Bugatti. Peter Hampton had arrived in his Type 30 Bugatti, leaving his Brescia Bugatti at home, and another of the famous marque, rendered in the progranuue as a “Bugattie,” was Gahagan’s Type 37 GP. Truscott’s 1930 Frazer-Nash was quoted as 1,842 cc, which was a puzzle until we discovered that it has an Alvis engine. It also carries the handicap of having “The Cardboard Comedy” printed on its bonnet and of carrying a notice “Please Pass, Running-in” on one of its distinctly-abbreviated back mudguards. The damp afternoon concluded with the blindfold-dice, of which there is space only to remark that even when blindfolded Bendall drives his Rolls-Royee with unblemished dignity, and that another stately performer was Boughton’s 1912 Renault two-seater.

Results : First-Class Awards : N Arnold Forster (Frazer-Nash), DH Gahagan (Bugatti), JG Vessey (Lancia), LM Austin (Lancia), EJ Laker (Riley).

Second-Class Awards: D Denne (Humber), R Truscott (Frazer-Nash). PJE Binns (Vauxhall), BE Brown (Frazer-Nash).

Third-Class Awards; CB Forster (Riley), A Hyde-East (Alfa-Romeo), H Moffatt (Lagonda), TH Hesketh (Alvis), GH Rolls (Sunbeam), RCC Palmer (Frazer-Nash).

The Next VSCC events are the Pomeroy Memorial Trophy on March 22nd-23rd, and the Northern Section’s Rally cum Driving tests at Bawtry on April 19th, and Blubberhouses Trial on April 20th, with an award for best aggregate in both latter events.

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