THE M.C.C. ONE DAY SPORTING TRIAL.
An Interesting Event on Camberley Heath.
ON October the 3rd the heights and the depths of Camberley Heath again resounded to the crackle
of exhausts. This time it was the M.C.C. who used the sandy tracks and deceptive boglands which have hitherto been thought of only as the venue of the Camberley Club. ‘With great humility, however, the M.C.C. bowed to the genius of Mr. E. O. Spence as an originator of routes, and with his aid they were able to place before the competitors a course so intricate that a 20 mile an hour average was only just possible. In fact, only three riders actually reached that figure. Wild and Woolly did not figure in the programme, its place being taken by Kilimanjaro. Although not actually volcanic like its namesake, it provided enough
first part of the hill was cut out, leaving only the more awkward second part. Here failures were plentiful owing to gorse bushes and a bump which was inclined to foul the crankcases of some machines. Following close on Kilimanjaro was Red Road Hill, too well known to need any introduction here. The performances on this hill were not up to the Camberley Club standard; this is possibly accounted for by the fact that a nasty piece of ground had to be coverediLat the foot of the hill. This was likely to cause a demoralising effect, thus spoiling the quality of the ascents. It is usually the custom to tackle Red Road from the main road, giving a clear view of the hill all the time the riders being fresh from a strip of good surface. In
loose soil to enable the ” pushers ” to remember it as such. However tricky the older hills, such as Red Road may be, they never provide the amusement that a new hill does : in the case of Kilimanjaro it was unknown except to a few local riders, and, in consequence, very few knew the best way to tackle it. A deceptive gradient combined with a vile approach sufficient to unseat the majority. The first mound could not be taken fast owing to the nature of the surface at the foot. A slow climb could not be made on account of the steepness, and consequently it was not till a rider was on his third and last round that he really knew the ascent. By that time, however, the helpers were so worn out that the
this case, however, the approach was round a hillock and very bumpy, and in the majority of cases the hill was taken too slowly, a large percentage of failures occurring half way up before the loose soil was encountered.
The remainder of the circuit included no other fierce hills, it being generally acknowledged that Devil’s Drop was in good condition and an easy climb. Water-Tower Hill constituted a long one-track pull and included a few yards of really surprising gradient. Those with folding footboards were happy on this climb, as in two places it was nearly impossible to get through with low footrests. The Bog at the foot of this ascent provided the solitary observer with much
entertainment, culminating, however, on the last lap, with a fire, which he gallantly assisted to extinguish with his coat.
Bilney, in rushing his Rex-Acme across in an attempt to keep up his previous record laps, struck a deep hole with his front wheel. In a second the machine was over and petrol pouring from the tank on to the open exhaust part of his engine, which was still running. Frantic efforts with wet coats proving useless, the machine was thrown bodily into the water and the remaining petrol burnt itself out on the surface. Picturesque ! but not calculated to improve the machine or its chances of finishing. To Bilney ‘s astonishment the bike restarted on its resurrection, but would not run long, and he spent a quiet quarter of an hour drying it out. Plenty of incident occurred at this spot, several riders measuring their length in the swamp and one riding straight into the lake nearby.
In a trial of this nature it would be invidious to pick out certain individuals and set them on the pinnacle of fame; were it possible it would be interesting to recount the circuits of every competitor. All had a good yarn to relate at the finish. Tales of smashed gear boxes, broken footrests, sheared pins, bent handlebars and bruised crankcases were to be heard on all sides and each one of these stories shadowed a deeper and more interesting but unspoken account of difficulties overcome by the wayside, in feverish heat lest precious seconds be lost. Easv it is to record how a certain rider failed on Red Road, but how is one to know that he had just crashed and bent his clutch, rendering it inoperative. For instance, Bilney made a very weak climb of Devil’s Drop on the last circuit, but when one considers that
his machine had been totally immersed in water and mud for quite five minutes, it is a fact of wonder that he ever got going again at all.
Wherefore, beyond mentioning a few really outstanding features of the event, we will make no comparisons between the ordinary riders, since they all displayed a tremendous amount of grit and skill in handling their mounts over so difficult a course. Nevertheless, certain ascents of Red Road and Kilimanjaro impressed even the casual observer.
On the latter hill the performance of J. S. Barnwell on his O.H.V. B.S.A. was outstanding, being the most meritorious by reason of his small engine power. Unfortunately he was dogged by bad luck, eventually retiring with a broken inlet valve.
The big brigade, consisting of Chantry, the two Wills, Heath, Love and Brackpool, all made successful climbs at least once of the first Kilimanjaro, but they had to acknowledge defeat sooner or later, in most cases firmly entrenching themselves on the hillside.
Pa Applebee deserves a gold medal for entering the run at all, but his ascent, unaided, of Red Road on his little old Levis merits the very heartiest cheers we can give him.
The 172 c.c. Francis Barnett is undoubtedly a wonderful little machine and with T. 0. Meeten on its back it can perform wonders. Not only did he check in at the finish, but he made a practically clean ascent of Kilimanjaro 1 ! ! !
Rtst Turs : The checked in at the end of the three circuits :—
The following checked in at the end of the three circuits :— W. S. Bishop (596 Scott), A. H. S. Love (980 Matchless), G. Richardson (499 P. & M.), R. H. Hay-Will (348 A.J.S.), J. B. Hewens (550 Triumph), F. J. R. Heath (1,301 Henderson), R. L. Richardson (490 Norton), P. L. 13. Wills (1,208 HarleyDavidson), H. B. Chantry (980 Brough Superior), A. A. F. Symes (346 Zenith), B. J. E. Burt -(490 Norton), B. W. Swabey (499 James), M. Ir. H. Billie), (348 Rex-Acme), J. W. Bartleet (347 Matchless), W. G. Churchill (499 Arid), L. A. Welch (349 O.K. Brads,luiw), P. J. Dyster (349 Montgomery), O. D. S. Knowles (346 Rudge), C. Loder (348 Douglas), C. D. Noel (596 Scott), C. J. White (499 Triumph), B. Bragg (490 Norton), H. R. B. Waters (596 Indian), S. C. Hubbard (499 Rudge), R. J. Low (499 Sunbeam), B. W. Warrick (498 Burney), and ‘1’. 0. Meeten (172 Francis-Barnett).