LIGHT ON THE LAND’S END
THE NEW BLITEHILLS CAUSES MOST FAILURES. AUSTINS WIN TEAM AWARDS
QUITE literally, there was a good deal more tight than usual on. the , Land’s End Trial this year, owing to Easter falling so late, so that daylight saving was already in operation. However, after the issue of the results it is possible to throw figurative light upon the performances, and to sift them with due leisure.
The extra hour of light was particularly useful at Bluehills Mine, where in the past the last cars have usually climbed in complete darkness and the grim valley has become a picturesque scene with headlights shining down from the opposite hillside, and then weaving their way up the observed section. One year, indeed, in 1931, owing to an unforeseen delay on Hustyn .(it was the first occasion on which that hill had been used), Bluehills Mine had to be omitted from the results because proceedings got so late. Bluehills Mine was reconstructed by the M.C.C. two years ago. This is not to say that the club entered the tin mining business, but they took a lease on the surrounding hillside, and madea new track cutting out the old and famous hairpin, but introducing fresh difficulties with loose surface and steep gradient,
In 1936 there was no hairpin associated with Bluehills, but since the M.C.C. now had a free hand and, more important, money to spend, if not to burn, the hill has been gradually ” improved,” that is to say, made more difficult. This year there Was again the spectacle of cars ramming the wall at the side, for an artificial S-bend had been constructed at the foot, the last turn being very sharp.
However, whereas in the old days competitors were worried whether their cars had sufficient left lock, the new Bluehills needs plenty of right lock, and it was on another hill—New Mill—where left lock was needed.
in its latest form, Bluehills, which, as steering locks improved, was in its former condition becoming comparatively easy, provided the greatest difficulties of the whole trial. The hill was divided into two sections, the first comprising the S-bend, and the second providing a restart on a concrete surface with 1 in 31. gradient, but followed by a choice assortment of rocks and loose stones.
Without taking into account those who subsequently retired (not many, as the hill was the last in the trial, and only thirty-four miles from Land’s End), ninety-seven failures were recorded. Of these thirty-nine occurred on the first section, and fifty-eight on the second, while twenty-one of the total lost marks on both sections.
It is notable, too, that on each section ten competitors Were relegated to the silver medal class, That is to say, after nearly 250 miles of strenuous motoring, twenty competitors who had successfully climbed all the other hills suffered disappointment at the very last obstacle. These” almost premiers “who recorded their only failure on Bluehills were : No. 1 Section : A. B. S. Curtis, W. A. Under,, ‘W. S. Perkins, P. C. T. Clark (H.R.G.8).; R. A. Macdermid, T. H. Lewiti,N. H. Cole, B. G. Burt, AI H. R. Crawford (MO U
; . B. Truett (8S).
N. 2 Section : A. L. S. Denyer (Lea Francis) ; C. B. K. Mines, H. E. M. Kingdon, G. M. Symons, B. G. Boutle, It. Bayles, S. Graham .(M.G.$) ; T. H. Jones (Morgan); C. L. S Burleigh (Morris); A. G. Melhaish (Singer).
The failure of four out of the seven II.R.G.s on the hairpin was unfortunate for this marque, as these four stoppages were the only marks lost by any of the seven drivers in the whole event. The fact that one driver out of both the ” Crackers ” and the ” Musketeers” M.G. teams failed to round the hairpin may well cost them dear in. the 1938 Team Championship. The team award in the Land’s End Trial went to the ” Grasshopper” Austins of C. D. Buckley, A. H. Langley, and W. H. Scriven, who thus and by their subsequent victory in the ” Sunbac ” Team Trial proved themselves an outstanding com bination. The Austin performance in the Land’s End was indeed the best of
This year there was again a big crowd at Hustyn—as, indeed, on most of the hills in the trial—and the usual vantage points in the overhanging trees Were secured by the more acrobatic spectators, giving the impression of a curious species of birds. Ilustyn also came next in the list of ” almost premiers,” and those falling at this penultimate hurdle were :—
13. Burton (Ford V8) ; M. B. Matthews, H. Roberts, C. H. Richardson (ALGA); L. w..fenkinsOn, N. ROundhill (Singers); G. E. Abecaseis (SS).
It must be appreciated that M.G.s provided nearly One-third of the whole car entry; with seventy out of 216 starters. The .various types of M.G. entered were successful in bringing home the goodly proportion of twenty-five premiers. The Ford 178s also did well with eight premiers out of fifteen starters. The next most serious obstacle was
any, with seven premier awards out of nine starters. The most difficult hills came towards the end, for, after I3luchills, Hustyn came next with forty-seven failures. As a whole, the trial was easier than usual owing to the dry weather, but Ilustvrt is nearly always wet, partly because there is a water splash at the foot, and partly because there is a hidden spring half-way tip Since the first year when Hustyn was included, cars have been halted after the splash, so that there is a. brief Stop to allow water to drain off, instead of being carried up the hill by dripping wings and underframes, thus causing the surface to
become wetter and wetter. A great improvement made in the last few years at this hill is the provision of railings to keep spectators back. It will be remembered that two years ago a spectator lost his balance and an unfortunate accident occurred. that old favourite, Beggars’ Roost. In 1935 the local authorities conceived the brilliant idea of ” making up ” the surface with loose stones, for the annual spectacle of ears in the Land’s End Trial is a great loyal at traction at Lyn ton. Up till that date the Roost, like Bluehills, had been steadily becoming easier, so that less amusement was provided for the ghoulish
spectators. This year the ” carpet” of loose stones was not quite so difficult as in recent years, for only thirty-nine stopped, compared With the 103 failures in 19:35.
The same ” treatment ” is also favoured to a lesser degree on Station Hill, near Lynton, but again fewer failures were recorded, only six stopping this year as compared with thirty-six in 1937, When the hill was at its worst. The new hill, New Mill, provided an amusing and interesting climb, with a quite difficult left-hand corner, and
spectacular clouds of white dust, but only some ten machines failed. Like Hustyn, it has a water splash at the foot, and cars were halted before making the climb. The left-hand corner bears an extraordinarily close resemblance to the similar corner on Darracott, and if it were wet it might be quite difficult. But as it was a new hill, there the MOTOR SPORT representative went, and the following is what he observed, mostly from the first acute right-hand corner : Pratt’s Morgan was O.K., but Cox had a nasty moment in the water splash approaching the hill and his Morgan was seen to be minus one headlamp. Bartlett’s Morgan commenced rather slowly, and Palmer’s 1,096 c.c. Morgan-J.A.P. smote the bank, injuring the passenger’s nose. Seaman’s Matchless Morgan stalled in mid-stream but completed the observed section non-stop, and Hayes’s Morgan put up an excellent show with his Morris Eight, inclined to wildness. Uglow held a front end slide on the H.R.G., and was fast, Goodall took his Morgan. 4/4 up steadily, and Jones (Morgan 4/4) had spin but got up nevertheless. Macdernaid’s M.G. naturally managed it, and West handled his H.R.G. with commendable care. Jones (1 i-litre M.G. Special) made an outstanding ascent, Slade’s Singer, with external exhaust system, was excellent, likewise Silcock’s Ford V8. Denyer’s old Lea-Francis spun its wheels but -ascended powerfully, and Kingdom was very good with a 1′-M.G. The three T-M.G.s of Harris, Cornish and Matthews went up fast, flying large and, rather conspicuous Union Jacks from flagstaffs at the rear of each car. Cole’s M.G. had spin, but was a good performer, Tyrer made a most spirited run With a blown P-M.G., and Roberts (Mortis Minor) and
four-cylinder was boiling on the line. Crutch’s Ford V8 climbed steadily, likewise Hartnell’s T-M.G., but Pascoe’s 18/80 M.G. touched the bank at the upper bend, and Constable’s B .S.A . threewheeler experienced some wheelspin. Delingpole (1’13 M.G.) and Young (Hillman) went close in, Biddle (T-M.G.) was neat and Hitchins extremely good with the old racing twin-cam Aston-Martin. Cope blipped his B.S. A. up, using his famous extra engine on the rear wheel, C. A. N. May (M.G.) was exceptional and Green (M.G.) rapid and sure. Goodenough (M.G.) was extremely quick and Harris (Morgan 4/4) fair. G. C. S. Montanaro’s M.G. Magna failed and his passenger is apparently of the opinion that bowler hats and toy trumpets are in keeping with the spirit of trials. Batten brought the Batten up well until the top bend, where he stopped, and in contrast Day’s A.C. was very good. Maclean showed good judgment with his RaiIton, waiting for the straights before playing with the power. Knott (T-M.G.) and Wines (M.G. Magnette) were steady, the latter driving very nicely, and Burleigh Truscott (Opel) were both excellent. Hutton was impressive with the B.M.W., correcting front wheel slides, and Potter’s Morris Twelve spun its wheels. Maurice Toulmin gave up an exhibition of immense wheelspin with the 1I-litre M.G. Special, Porter Hargreaves did good work with a blown M.G Midget, and Jaques handled his A.C. well. Melhuish had a slight front wheel skid with his Singer. Smithies climbed steadily with his outside-exhaust M.G. Midget, seeming to lack a few horses, and Roberts (T-M.G.) made a well judged, if slow, ascent. B-allamy spun his Marshall-blown L.M.B. Nine out of the corner in a display of immense acceleration, after a well judged approach. Bolt’s Ford V8 built up the knots extremely well and was splendidly handled. Drew’s j2 M.G. cornered wide, with much tillerwork, and Thompson’s Al vis Twentyfive needed two reverses at the first bend, failing in consequence. In lacked lock and had lost its exhaust system. Hutton’s Singer was good, and Morrish drove his
M.G. Magnette very nicely. Crozier’s fabric-bodied Ford V8 sent up a record cloud of dust with a powerful tail wag. Walters did excellently with his T-M.G., but Fry’s Ford Special experienced a front-end skate and only just cleared the bank. Symon’s . T-M.G. made a good steady ascent, and V. R. Symons’s S.S. was content to climb slowly. Abecassis effectively demonstrated the SS 100’s acceleration, Hunter’s B.M.W. was steady, and Marks (li-litre Riley) careful and sure. Sharp’s Aston-Martin jrst made the corner, and Airey’s Riley Falcon saloon could have done with more horses, but got up. W. A. V. Davis was outstanding with his Singer, and Scrogg’s Ford fairly good. Major experienced severe wheelspin as he turned the Alfa’s taps on, accompanied by oil-smoke, and Holsworth elected to change up after the corner on his PB M.G., which carried no spare wheel. Norton Bracey’s blown P-M.G. sounded unwell, but faltered not, and Smith’s twin-gearbox Austin Seven, suitcase and all, was admirably handled. Montgomery made a steady, well-judged climb with a T-M.G., and Haward’s wonderful Bayliss-Thomas pulled away well in spite of wheelspin. Densham’s rakish blown Riley went wide at the bend, and Cossey slid his Ford Ten’s tail round, springs squeaking, in a good run. Whiddington worked hard with his Jensen, getting much spin under V8 power output. Bacon’s Le Mans Singer was excellent, despite violent side spin, and Roberts made a hectic, rapid and very fine climb with his Frazer-Nash. Burt’s T-M.G. cornered wide but well, and Simes D.A.S.-Special (Swallow Austin) was admirable. Burman cornered his ancient Lea-Francis tourer in model fashion and climbed steadily on his way, while Coney’s Morgan 414 ,of healthy exhaust, wassteady. P. H. G. Morgan, cornering wide, made an excellent show with his Morgan, ” H.F.S. changed up, and Norton’s ” Jabberwock ” Ford V8 elected to go very slowly. A small boy, puzzled, said “Here’s the same one again ! as Koppenhagen wuffled up in the other ” Jabberwock.” Loader did not appear. Christmas was helped by his passenger, whose door flew open, the Singer missing occasionally, and Fishleigh blipped his Riley saloon round very effectively. Shattock’s elderly Mark IV M.G. was splendid, passenger isolated in the tiny dickey, and Harrison’s Ford Ten, hood up, was slow and sure. McEvoy contrived to slide his Ford Ten round the bend in an impressive ascent, while Whalley’s Ford Ten hesitated momentarily with spin to accelerate away really well. Denton’s V8 Ford cornered carefully and displayed vivid pick-up. Cleland’s team car, of surprising exhaust note, was excellent alter much. wheel-twirling, likewise the Viscount Chetwynd’s V8. Ferguson handled his Triumph nicely, defeating spin, Darque’s B.M.W. accelerated upwards, and Jenkinson (Singer) was especially neat. Challands (Singer) was fast and very determined, Mantle’s Morgan spun its wheels, and Moss blipped his blown M.G. round, changing up. Jaggard’s R. W. J. Special and King’s B.M.W. were noticeably fast, Davis (M.G.) steady, Johnson’s B.M.W. rapid and impressive and Bennett’s blown Alta a stone-slinger. Thomas (Morgan) was good, Mason worked at the tiller of his Wolseley Fourteen Special, while Goodwin’s T-M.G. and Currie’s
Ford V8 were steady. Richardson (T-M.G.) changed up, Taylor (Singer) enjoyed a spirited run, C. H. Richardson (M.G.) and Inderwick (Batten) were steady and Biggs (B.M.W.) very good. Roimdhill (Singer) steered hard., Price was good with a Standard, likewise Bantle (M.G.), his passenger in a tammy, and Gibbs (M.G.). Wright’s old Frazer-Nash was beautifully placed and rapid, Jenkinson’s Ford Ten pulled away strongly, but Claridge (Frazer-Nash) hit the bank and failed. Murray’s M.G. climbed easily, Truett’s S.S. got immense spin, Rushbrook (M.G.) was a bit wild, and the Pansy-Special fast and centrally placed. Symmons, after inspecting the hill, was careful with the big Bayles (M.G.) played tunes with the throttle, Roe’s Riley pulled up slowly, Robins ( H. R G )
changed up, Curtis (H.R.G.) was very fine to behold, and Undery’s H.R.G. picked up well from slow cornering. Perkins (H.R.G.) spun his wheels, and E. C. HaeSendonck (M.G.) was occupied with a front wheel slide. Lanes (FrazerNash) almost hit the bank, likewise Phillipson (Talbot Ten), who pluckily kept his foot down. Wheatley’s 4f-litre Bentley made probably the nicest ascent of all. Smith’s Vauxhall Ten was noisy and very fast. W. H. Armitage’s MarendazSpecial, running badly, smote the bank at the upper corner and bent things (Lillie a bit, being towed up by two horses and relegated to the car park, where a crowd of people smothered it, to Armitage’s intense annoyance.
Yes, New Mill was very easy. We respectfully suggest rain and a re-start for 1939, Mr. Masters ! Darracott itself caused more failures
than usual, with twenty-two stopping on the hill, and another fourteen losing marks in the stop and restart test. A short stretch of tarmac had been laid dovni • to provide equal conditions for early and late numbers in this restart test, but the loose surface immediately following this area became rather cut up. This was the more difficult of the two special tests, for there was no timed section on Crackington this year, and at Barton Steep only four lost marks.
Seventy-nine drivers claimed premier awards, and of these sixty-eight received their due. Unfortunately the car entry was somewhat down on previous years, with 234 entered, against 276 in 1937, and $27 in 1936. The motor-cycle entry, however, showed a big increase, bringing the total entry in the recent event to 454. This co mpares with the record entry for the Land’s End of 553 in 1928.