New Zealand Sports and Racing Car Club’s Hill Climb
ON January 4th the N.Z.S. & R.C.C. held another successful hill climb at their course at Judgeford, near Wellington. The previous event had been held as long ago as February, 1943, so the day was eagerly looked forward to by those members able to be present.
Petrol shortages and the inevitable “exigencies of the Service ” reduced the entries to four cars, but the sizeable crowd of spectators were rewarded by some splendid driving in which all records were handsomely broken. The competitors were M. Proctor (” Brooklands ” Riley Nine), J. Brough (3-litre shortchassis Bentley), G. Easterbrook-Smith (” 12/50 “Alvis) and A. E. Ansell (“12/50” Alvis). B. A. Ferrier, who set a course record at the previous event, could not compete, due to his absence on active service with the R.N:Z.A.F. in the Pacific.
The organisation of the event was excellent, a field telephone from start to finish aiding materially in this direction.
The practice period before lunch passed without incident, each driver treating the hill with due respect. Judgeford is 1,300 yards long, loose surfaced and very narrow, with some 16 corners, including a very difficult climbing hairpin, and leaves very little margin for an error of judgment. The first climb after lunch was made by Proctor, an excellent effort taking 1 mm. 441 sec. As this time was only 4 sec. outside Ferrier’s record, it was ObViolls that this time would be beaten as Proctor became more used to the hill. Ansell followed with a careful climb in 1 min. 551 sec. The Alvis had only done a very
small mileage from a complete overhaul, and was by no means fully run-in. After this came Easterbrook-Smith’s Alvis, another car in the process of running-in new pistons. A fast climb was marred by a violent overslide at the hairpin, which involved cannoning off one bank and nearly disappearing over another, his time being 1 min. 50 sec. Finally came Brough in his impressive Bentley. A beautiful getaway, combined with really polished driving, brought a car that is really too big for the hill to the top in 1 min. 45 3/10 sec.
Proctor’s second run saw the record shattered by no less than 8.9 sec., his time being 1 min. 89 9/10 sec. He drove with real skill, made no mistakes, and the Riley was obviously in fine form.
Arisen reduced his time to 1 min. 541 sec. in spite of missing a gear at the hairpin. The Alvis looked and sounded excellent, and Ansell’s getaways were probably the fastest of the day. Easterbrook-Smith followed with a time of 1 min. 494 sec., caution being the order of the day at the hairpin. Incidentally, the infamous Solex flat spot was much in evidence at the start, considerable throttle juggling being required for the engine to pick up cleanly.
Brough’s next attempt was looked forward to keenly, but in spite of homeric efforts, his time was slightly slower, taking 1 min. 46 1/10 sec. He was driving on tyres that were very much the worse for wear, and very wisely decided not to drive again upon finding a large stone embedded in one front tyre. Proctor’s next climb occupied the same time as the former one, a very brave lady
passenger being taken in an attempt to combat wheelspin. Ansel’ made a marked improvement in his time, recording 1 mm. 481 sec. It was very obvious that times improved as competitors became used to the hill. Easterbrook-Smith made his final ascent in 1 mm. 471 sec., a very steady climb with no time lost oversliding as previously.
As a fitting _finale to a splendid day’s sport, Proctor made an attempt to lower his own time, and with a climb that was obviously very fast, recorded 1 min. 30* sec., a time that will be very hard to beat. Proctor’s Riley is the standard ” Brooklands ” type, with long-tailed aluminium body. Two S.U.s look after carburation. Brough’s Bentley is mostly “Red Label,” but has a considerably lightened flywheel and a single Arnott carburetter. It is in excellent mechanical order, but is rather handicapped by a heavy touring ‘ body.
Easterbrook-Srnith’s Alvis is a 1926 T.E. “12/50,” with 6.3 to 1 corn. ratio, and using the old barrel-throttle-type 85-mm. Solex on a manifold of the owner’s own design. Two-seater, pointed tail coachwork with very small cycle-type guards. Front springs bound, with single Hartfords all round ; tyres 21 M/5.25″.
Ansell’s Alvis looked very handsome, with the narrow aluminium 2-seater body finished in black, and flexible pipes coming through the bonnet side to join a large copper external pipe.
A very comprehensive film of the event was taken by Government Film Studio representatives and has been shown at all the leading theatres in the Dominion.