Brent Vale M.C. Winter Road Rally (Feb. 8th)
The Brent Vale M.C. held their Winter Road Rally on February 8th, starting at the Byron Hotel, Greenford, at 9 a.m., in truly winter conditions. Forty-four cars in three classes were at the start and were flagged away at half-minute intervals between 9 and 10 a.m. Off they went in good form to compete in what was to be a very successful event. Each competitor was handed a road book giving all the necessary instructions and spaces for control stamps and times of arrival at the various controls, also blank spaces for data to be collected on section two. They were also provided with an Ordnance Survey map of the main part of the course, marked with certain necessary information.
The outward journey south and east, with controls at Cobham, West Horsley, and Outwood, near Redhill, then on to West Hoathly, Sussex. This part of the course had to be completed in a given time. There were penalties for arriving either early or late at any check point.
Section two provided a severe test of driving and navigating skill. Leaving the delightful village of West Hoathly, competitors had to visit a number of points marked on the map in their correct order. Collecting the name of a famous racing circuit painted on boards placed at these various points, one point, however, having not a board but a marshal placed there to prevent “course jumping” — none tried this, however, they were all far too sporting.
This was the finest part of the course as far as scenery was concerned, with wonderful views of snowscapes and villages, recently completely snowbound, but competitors had little or no time to admire the beauty of their surroundings, both drivers and navigators having plenty to do in order to adhere correctly to the exacting and tortuous route successfully and to negotiate, the snow, slush and dash of ice to be found on the more sheltered tracks, to say nothing of finding the all-important signboards. A real test of driving skill was provided by the steep road to Ditchling Beacon, above Brighton, and later, to a lesser degree, by the roads near Devil’s Dyke, above Hove. The secret marshal was found on this road by those still in the rally. Then on to Dowlands Hotel, Worthing, where a welcome lunch awaited them. Each competitor had about 11 hours to rest and compare notes after checking in at the control.
The weather was fine and sunny by this time, but still very cold. The 36 competitors who handed in their road books at Worthing control with one exception seemed to be in good spirits and not unduly tired after the morning’s hard work. The exception was Mr. J. O. Knowles in an Overton Special, a very open sports car; they retired “in discomfort” just before they were due to restart — hard luck.
After lunch section three took place, on much better roads mainly but they were in far worse condition. Competitors had to maintain an average speed of their own choice between 25 and 30 m.p.h. between Worthing and Petworth, keeping to the route marked on their map. A secret check, to ensure regularity, was made at Amberley unknown to the competitors. The roads were either rutted with frozen snow with a covering of slush, or else deep mud. Those who chose the lower average speed were indeed fortunate or very wise. It was on this section that the rally was won or lost.
Section four was planned taking into consideration the tiring drivers. Like the outward run it was simply a steady run home to rally control at Greenford from Petworth check point, with marshals checking them at Loxwood, Newlands Corner and Virginia Waters, each to be found by means of a map reference. There were penalties as before for not arriving to the set time at the various points. At least half the competitors ran on to icy roads before the end of the rally, for there was a sharp freeze about 6 p.m.
Of the 35 cars which restarted at Worthing only 33 completed the course, such was the trial of cars and competitors. It was a wonderful Winter Rally, conditions were far worse than those experienced by drivers in this year’s “Monte Carlo,” and the course, planned by Mr. Dudley Foy, was first class for the purpose.
The marshals came mainly from the Southall Motor-Cycle Club, with whom the Brent Vale M.C. are on very good terms — they share the same headquarters. These hardy and enthusiastic people have our great respect.
Winner (W.R.R. Trophy and Class II Cup). — D. S. Chamberlain (M.G.).
Second (Class III Visitor’s Silver Cup and Class III Cup). — Mrs. M. Wiseman (Sunbeam-Talbot).
Third (Class III Plague). — H, W. Wensell (Rover).
Fourth (Class I Cup). — F. Norris (Ford Anglia).
Class I. — E. Norris (Cup) (Ford Anglia); E. D. Brooks (Plague) (Ford Ten): H. Bullivant (Medal) (Morris Minor).
Class II. — D. S. Chamberlain (Cup) (M.G.): E. H. Cuthbert (Plague) (Ford Consul); S. P. Douglass (Medal) (Ford Consul).
Class III. — Mrs. Wiseman (Cup) (Sunbeam-Talbot); H. W. Wensell (Plague) (Rover); C. Duchmin (Medal) (Humber).
Winning Team. — C. Duchmin (Cup) (Humber), H. Barrett (Cup) (Standard Twelve) and C. Stevenson (Cup) (Triumph sports).
The Herefordshire M.C. Road Trial (Feb. 14th)
On February 14th the Herefordshire M.C.’s Road Trial took place, this event being especially planned by the joint organisers, J. D. Moon and Mrs. P. Moon, to be suitable for normal touring or sports cars. Specially designed trials cars were not eligible.
That the organisers’ efforts were successful may be judged by there being 19 entries, which included 10 saloons, a van and a pick-up. The start was from Dinmore Hill Car Park at 2 p.m. The makes represented ranged from Austin 7-h.p., 10-h.p. and A90, A40 pick-up and Bradford van, to a bevy of M.G.s, a Morgan and a Frazer-Nash. Three lady members competed.
The total mileage to be covered was approximately 40 miles and each competitor was handed a route card at the start which gave a list of map references. Each point indicated had to be visited and a different test or manoeuvre performed there.
The first point, on the organisers’ premises at Oldfields, Leominster, was aptly named “Round the Houses.” From the start, drivers had to make a turn through a gateway up a grassy track, stop and reverse over a line and restart, turning through another gateway to the finish. The nature of the surface necessitated skill in negotiating the gateways without fouling a post, and the fastest times were put up by J. R. W. Thomas, the club secretary, in an M.G. TD in 35 sec., with R. M. E. Mayall in a similar car runner-up with 36 sec.
The route from there led through Luston and Orleton Common to the hilly spot called the Goggin (disguised on the route card as “Rest and be Thankful”). From a start on the road, cars had to ascend and negotiate an acute left-hand hairpin (entailing a reverse in most cases), climb a short distance up a lane, then stop for the driver to alight and collect a numbered ticket from a box, and continue uphill to the finish, where the driver again dismounted to hand over the ticket. “Monty” Mayall again scored here with a time of 39 sec., with M. W. Hands (Morgan) second in 41 sec.
Through another mile or two of typical “H.M.C.” lanes the entrants made their way to another test called the “Whirligig.” From an uphill start on a fair surface, drivers had to proceed over the brow of a hill and stop on the steep descent, then reverse back along one uphill leg of a triangle on a clay track, then forward on the other leg with a left-hand turn on to the road again. This was undoubtedly the most difficult test, for the restart in reverse on a steep slope proved the undoing of all but three cars, those successful being J. P. Taylor (Ford Prefect), 40 sec.; D. J. Parsons (Frazer-Nash), 42 sec.; and A. E. Bengry (Bradford van), 46 sec.
A descent through more narrow lanes past Leinthall to Yatton brought cars to the next two sections, which were adjacent. These were optional, but all competitors elected to “have a go.” First of all came a simple stretch of muddy grass lane to be covered non-stop, and the only failures here were A. Shelley (Standard Eight) and Miss Moore (Sunbeam-Talbot), who was running solo, and the efforts of a borrowed passenger failed to assist her. Immediately following this section, cars were halted and had to start and clear a second line within 5 sec., on the same kind of terrain, plenty of difficulty was experienced and the aid of a Land Rover was sought by several. Those successful were M. Hands (2.8 sec.), Bill Bengry (4.2 sec.), and a tie between E. J. Read (Austin A90), Miss Weaver (M.G. TD) and D. J. Parsons with 5 sec. dead.
After skirting a quarry, an easy main-road stretch led to Green Lane, Leominster, where the final section, aptly named “The Gluepot,” was situated. This consisted of a steep muddy entrance to a field, tackled from a start on the hard road. No one climbed to the end of this sticky section, best performances being put up by E. Kent Phillips (Terraplane), who reached section three, and R. M. Jones (M.G. TC), D. J. Parsons and Bill Bengry made section five.
From Green Lane the convoy of competing and officials’ cars made their way to the Red Lion at Pembridge, where Mine Host (and fellow-competitor) Harold Rumsey provided a very much appreciated tea, after which the provisional results were announced as below: —
1st: D. Parsons — navigator, K. Higgins — (Frazer-Nash), 136 marks lost.
2nd: A. E. Bengry — navigator, P. M. Appleton — (Bradford van). 139 marks lost.
3rd: J. P. Taylor — navigator. E. W. Lindsay-Jones — (Ford Prefect), 141 marks lost.
4th (tie): R. M. Jones — navigator. Mrs. Jones — (M.G. TC) and R. M. E. Mayall — navigator, A. N. Other — (M.G. TD), each 150 marks lost.