F. Pratt’s 328 B.M.W. started favourite in this handicap race, held before some 30,000 spectators at Point Cook airfield. He finished not far ahead of A. Najar’s Special TB M.G., while Bland’s Ford V8 Special was 3rd. The race average was 66 m.p.h. A 24-lap scratch race saw Najar beat G. Patterson’s TC M.G. after a K3 M.G. Magnette had retired.
The Grand Prix was followed by an open handicap, won by W. Ford’s 6-cylinder Hudson-engined “Special” from G. Harrison’s Ford 8V Special and J. Crouch’s Delahaye. But it was a near thing, for Barrett’s Monza Alfa Romeo was way out ahead of everybody, making fastest lap at 81 m.p.h., until fuel starvation set in.
N.Z.S.C.C. Paekakariki Hill Climb
The 1948 Paekakariki organised by the N .Z. Sports Car Club, saw all class records beaten, with the exception of the 850-c.c. class, and the course record reduced by no less than 17.8 sec.
The 2.1 mile course was in good condition, while fine weather and a large entry promised an excellent day’s sport. Due to a defect in the telephone system the start was slightly delayed, but Transport Department traffic inspectors stepped into the breach and timing was carried on by means of the two-way radio system in their patrol cars until the Club’s communication system was again serviceable.
The entries in the 830-c.c. class were reduced to one as a result of Sellars running a big-end in his Austin and the class record holder, Les. Stone, having sold his Austin. However, the sole survivor, Ron Roycroft, was awaited with great interest as his car was the ex-works single-seater s.v., with offset engine and transmission, once driven by Pat Driscoll. Roycroft made an amazingly fast start and departed at a pace that spelt trouble for the class record, but his carburetter bowl split and he limped to the top in 4.46.2.
Morrie Procter in his famous “Brooklands” Riley was the first of the 1,100s and made a good climb in 2.52.8, only 2.8 sec. outside his record of the previous year. J. Brough followed with a very “strip-tease” Singer saloon, but more b.h.p. was needed and his time was 4.17.2.
The first of the 1,500s was Hugo Hollis with his TA M.G., well stripped and obviously on form. His start was his usual model of neatness and a fine climb resulted in a time of 2.54.2, breaking the class record by 1.8 sec. Next came sensation. Geoff Easterbrook Smith took the veteran “12/50 ” Alvis off the line with considerable urgency, made no mistakes on the way up and recorded 2.48.6, a new class record, plus an absolute record for the hill. Modern types looked incredulous and vintage characters nattered “I told you so!” A. S. Farland, ex-class record holder, followed with his N-type Magnette, but running fully equipped could only do 3.33.
Roy Cowan opened the 3,000-c.c. class in the 1922 T.T. Sunbeam, an experimental climb resulting in considerable sideways motoring and a time of 3.13.4. B. H. Clinkard followed in a Speed 20 Alvis with a steady climb in 3.24.8, while J. Mackintosh took his completely standard Vauxhall 14 saloon up in 3.32.8. R. Harding was next with a particularly nice-looking Red Label Bentley and managed 3.32.6, followed by Bert Cresswell with his Sunbeam 16 in 3.22. Having completed his climb, Cresswell departed at speed to spectate at a wedding. Alan Freeman completed the class in his Triumph “Dolomite” with a climb occupying 3.36.8.
The Unlimited c.c. class was destined to provide f.t.d., put up by the Auckland driver, Ron Roycroft. Roycroft’s car was a dirt-track midget, powered by a B4 Ford engine, sporting a Winfield racing head and two downdraught carburetters. Weighing around 8 cwt. and with over 80 b.h.p. to hand, this car was obviously hard to beat and Roycroft handled the car superbly to register the amazing time of 2.32.2, although the solid rear-axle appeared to hurl the car all over the road in a rather uncomfortable fashion.
A. S. Faulkner, driving a stripped Ford V8 chassis with sacks of sand as rear ballast, suffered engine trouble and did not complete his run, while Ken Hemus gave vintage enthusiasts a treat with a steady climb in 3.13.2 in his “30/98” Vauxhall. R. Clapperton gave his usual display of courage in fighting his Ford A up in 3.20 and C. Andrews, in an amazing contraption, consisting of a Morris 25 chassis with two gearboxes, took 3.35.2. Bill Cope completed the class in his Ford V8, fuel-feed trouble necessitating 4.26.2 to reach the summit.
The second round saw a good climb by Roycroft in the blown Austin, unfortunately mistimed. Procter made a bad start in the Riley, but by determined work among the corners and 6,000 r.p.m. in the lower ratios managed 2.49.4, a new class record, and Brough pulled his time down to 3.48 in the Singer. Hollis was obviously out for blood in his second run, but a bad overslide at the hairpin defeated his chances of beating the Alvis, although he got as near as 2.50.4. Easterbrook Smith was slightly slower in a rather “dicy” run, wildness at the hairpin and a front wheel slide at the Cutting Bend increasing his time to 2.52. Farland, however, improved to 3.16.8.
Obviously feeling more confident, Cowan made no mistakes in his second run and his time of 2.59.8 was a new class record. The old T.T. Sunbeam looked a picture of perfect restoration and could not be in better hands. Clinkard, with suitably grim expression, reduced his own time handsomely to 3.10 and Mackintosh made an amazing effort in his Vauxhall in 3.19.2. Harding got the Bentley up in 3.20 and Freeman did 3.23.8 in the Triumph.
Roycroft’s second run was eagerly awaited, but his engine was not quite on form and a dirt-track effort at Watertrough Corner, which nearly precipitated him on to the railway line some 500 ft. below, resulted in a time of 2.34.4. Hemus followed in the “30/98,” a brilliant climb with incredible tyre distortion through Cutting Bend returning 2.57. Faulkner was far more confident with the V8 chassis and made no mistakes in a climb in 2.54, the Ford doing comparatively little sliding. Clapperton, wisely wearing a crash hat, diced up in 3.11 with his front wheels pointing all ways at once, Andrews found the Morris more to his liking in a climb in 3.15.2, and Cope manhandled his Ford up in 3.15.4.
850-c.c — R. Roycroft (Austin s/c).
1,100-c.c. — M. Procter (Riley).
1,500-c.c. — G. Easterbrook Smith (Alvis).
3000-c.c. — R. Cowan (Sunbeam).
Unlimited c.c. — R. Roycroft (M.G. Midget).
Magnus Motors Ltd. Cup — R. Roycroft.
Gibbons Trophy (F.T.D. — R. Roycroft.
D. P. Fisher Ltd. Cup (1,500-c.c.) — G. Easterbrook Smith.
Wickham Trophy (Vintage) — G. Easterbrook Smith.
The 125 mile race on March 21st was won by Landi’s 3-litre Alfa Romeo, which averaged just above 75 m.p.h. Raph finished second, also on an Alfa Romeo.
Pau G. P.
This year’s Pau Grand Prix was won by Pagani’s 1-1/2-litre Maserati, which averaged 53.07 m.p.h. for a run occupying 3 hr. 33 min. 30.3 sec. Giraud-Cabantous was second in a 4-1/2-litre Talbot, Pozzi’s Talbot was third, and Rosier’s Talbot was fourth. Wimille made fastest lap, in his Simca, at 56.29 m.p.h., but rocker trouble cost him the race.
Tour of Sicily
This strenuous event was won by Biondetti and Prince Igor’s 2-litre V12 Ferrari, which averaged 55.5 m.p.h. for the 680-mile course, which, starting from Palermo, is said to embrace some 13,000 corners. Taruffi’s 1,100-c.c. Cisitalia was second, at 54 m.p.h. In the touring-car, as distinct from the sports-car, class, Cracio’s Lancia “Aprilia” won at 49.5 m.p.h., and Count Lurani’s Healey saloon was second, at 48.2 m.p.h. The Lancia won the under-1,500-c.c., the Healey the over-1,500-c.c. class, while Taraschi’s unusual B.M.W. took the 750-c.c. class at 42.5 m.p.h.
Monte Carlo Concours
Amongst the principal award-winners at the recent Concours at Monte Carlo were Dr. V. P. Consigli’s Pinin Farina-bodied Lancia sports drophead coupé, M. Boninto’s Farina-bodied Lancia four-seater coupé and John Gaul’s Saoutchik-bodied Rolls-Royce coupe de ville.