VSCC January DTs

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It might be thought that to have had the DTs in January was a bad start to the new year. Fortunately, those the Vintage SCC had on the 29th of that month were of a different kind! Despairing of Brooklands, they held them at the old Goodwood race circuit in Sussex. It was good to go there again, to this scene of so many excellent BARC race meetings. The tunnel under the track was flooded from recent heavy rain, as it sometimes used to be on race days, and it was nostalgic to see driving frolics being performed round what is left of the chicane after Woodcote corner, and other tests involving acceleration to a zigzag on the pits-straight, ending with drivers taking the presure in one tyre and then sprinting over the pit safety-wall to the finish at the old pits themselves.

In spite of the venue being out on a limb for many members, an entry of 66 was received, divided into four classes. Barry Clarke was running an enclosed Austin 7 in the hope of doing better in the saloon class than he might have done against 10 other light car entries that included six more Sevens, one of which, Pat Marsh’s, succumbed to magneto failure before getting to Goodwood. The Paddock — what memories! — was graced by Peter Hampton’s 36/220 Mercedes-Benz, with recently resuscitated gearbox internals, and Rosemary Burke’s Type 30 Bugatti, correctly braked hydraulically, and with a very handsome replica open body. John Howell was disporting himself on the track in a very smart late-model Hispano Suiza saloon. An interesting competing car was Dr Andrews’ 1924 10.8 hp side-valve aluminium tourer Riley with external exhaust system, the ex-Keogh car making its first appearance for some 10 or more years and its first competition appearance since a High Speed Trial at Brooklands in 1931. Like quite a number of the performing cars it was back-wheel braked, this applying even down to the 1926 Humber 9/20 tourer driven enthusiastically by Diffey Jnr. Another interesting car was MacPherson’s 1933/8 Riley Special with 8/90 hp vee eight engine, as disclosed by the ribbed exhaust-rnanifolding protruding from each side of the bonnet.

The Bentley contingent included Davis’ 3-litre, Rolfe’s 6 1/2-litre, Avon’s Speed Six, Charnock’s very nice 3 1/2-litre Vanden Plas tourer, and Burrell’s 4 1/4 Derby Special, the last named in process, he tells me, of rebuilding a big Voisin. Nick Mason and Derek Edwards non-started their Ulster Aston Martins, but Mazzotti had his Type DS 16/50 hp Benz out again. The day was spent looking at a photograph album devoted to vintage Spykers, discussing the merits of a 1913 Colonial Napier chassis another member has found, and lunching in the Airfield restaurant. But I had time to note that Hall was sliding his Riley Sprite nicely in the chicane test, that Diffey displayed true athletic prowess in the pit-stop thing, and that in the interests of weight saving Tarring’s Frazer Nash had unstrapped its spare wheel.

Taking a stance at Test-4, for no better reason than that a friend was marshalling there, it was seen that this was a pylons-nudging exercise, plus some zig-zagging and “garaging”. Piers-Hall in his Austin Special was penalised for using his hands to shift the bollards, but Gillies used the driver’s door of the Riley Kestrel for this operation. Way’s Austin 7 and Mager’s Riley Lynx brought with them pleasant whiffs of hot castor oil. Rolfe’s Bentley, trunk on tail, was rather large for such manoeuvres, Diffey took two bites at the first “nudge”, Cann’s Aston Martin was off-form mechanically, it seemed, Budd revved his Riley 9 freely and Garfit was very quick when not stalling his BMW’s engine or using too much grass. But this just won’t do. I am getting into the bad old habit of trying to report driving tests, which isn’t on. Let’s just say that in this test “FTD” was made by Piers-Hall in 61.2 sec. (a pity about his “handling” those pylons!) and “STD” by Rouse (139.6 sec), whose Alvis Speed-20 saloon won an elegance prize at the 1933 Olympia Motor Show, and allow the results to suffice, with a few pictorial adornments if my film comes out. —W.B.

Results:

Class 1

First Class Award: T. T. Joh, (1930 Austin 7). Light Cgr M. Bartlett (1928 Austin 7); Touring: R. M. J. Andrews (1924 Riley 10.8). Saloon: M. A. Gillies (1 36 Riley Kestrel).

Class 2

First Class Awards: K. B. Brettell (1935 Frazer Nash), T. J. Tarril (1927 Fraser Nash).

Class 3

First Class Award: M. Budd (I936 Riley 9).