LAND’S END TO JOHN O’GROAT’S
Town-to-town records can be very fascinating, but in this country they are apt to rise to heights of endeavour which look decidedly criminal, especially if portrayed by the daily Press. And the fact does stand out that however much a driver imagines he is driving ” with due care and attention,” an attempt to do a given run in the shortest possible time is apt to distort the safety factor of any but the strongest-willed driver. Consequently, it is as well that our classic town-to-town records remain a subject discussed chiefly amongst motoring enthusiasts at the Universities, who presumably have their own methods of checking the authenticity of such feats, and not one that is aired in the daily or motoring Press. Abroad, in the Dominions for instance, such runs are a much more gruelling affair, that unquestionably form a very severe test indeed, but to us, in this country, who do not encounter such freakish conditions in normal motoring, they cannot be of any great interest. We think chiefly in terms of safe average speeds over sane routes and judge cars by raring and speed-trial and long-dis
tance Rally results. Where distance enters into the picture, town-to-town records, over normal British motoring toads, certainly have an undeniable interest, even if much of the foregoing still applies. Consequently, recognition must be given to J. W. Stocks, ex-racing cyclist and veteran motorist, who recently drove from Land’s End to John o’Groat’s in 26 hours 10 minutes, single-handed. The mileage was 910 by the route used, which was Land’s End, Redruth, Launceston, Exeter, Bristol, Pershore (an error, adding 13 miles), Warrington, Wigan, Kendal, Carlisle, Pitlochry, Perth, Blairgowrie (another error, adding extra mileage), Inverness, Dingwell, Strathpeffer (an error of eight miles), Alness, Helmsdale, Wick, John o’Groat’s. Land’s End was vacated at 12 noon on a Monday and John o’Groat’s reached at 2.10 p.m. on the Tuesday, an average speed of just under 35 m.p.h. Stops were made to refuel, but not for meals. The Ford V8 ” 22 ” saloon averaged just over 21.7 m.p.g. and used about 2 pints of oil. The average for the first two hours was 39 to 40 m.p.h. and for the first five hours about 39 m.p.h., and 834 miles were put into the first twenty-four
hours. The following two days were occupied in returning to London, the run down from Edinburgh taking 1-14 hours (45 min, stop), which we about equalled last year in a blown Ford V8 ” 30 ” with only seven big-ends, driven by R. B. Lakin.
Stocks actually put up a better time in 1934 with a 30 h.p. Ford V8, taking 26 hours 5 mins. with 825 miles accomplished in the first twenty-four hours. In 1902 he did the End-to-End run in 2 days 14/ hrs. (48 hours driving time) in an 8 h.p. De Dion (using a route of 888 miles). In 1899 he had tried the journey on an Ariel motor-tricycle and retired with a broken exhaust-valve at Kendal. People will question the sense of this run and it is difficult to answer them.