Lieut. B. Gordon Graham, R.I.N.V.R., who used to compete in British trials and rallies, etc., when home on leave from Ceylon before the war, contributes an interesting article to this issue. He says that Motor Sport “keeps up our morale,” and adds that he has recently met Tong, who ran M.G. cars at Southport and Brooklands; Verner-Jeffries, who ran in M.C.C. trials with an ex-Graham Walker Rudge “T.T. Replica” and a Frazer-Nash; and Gordon Wood, who drove a Bentley at Brooklands some years ago. G. Loeff, a Dutch reader, is now a lieutenant concerned with the R.A.F. in this country. In spite of ill-health, the irrepressible Biggs expects to develop into a push-cyclist. Beasley-Robinson, of Eton, who had two “30/98” Vauxhall cars before the war, tells us that he let one go for scrap when there was a call for aluminium at the outbreak of hostilities, so that he regards his other as more valuable than ever. He has just had the bearings overhauled, ready for The Day, and he retains many spares from the other car. A 1926 “Red Label” open Bentley for £100 was seen in an Ipswich garage last month, while Roland Motors, of Byfleet, had in stock a Type 37A G.P. Bugatti. A lady M.T. driver at a northern airfield arrives daily in a late-model “Red Label” Bentley, and at the same place Rivers Oldmeadow is chief ground instructor, and Sgt. Hull, who has an Anzani Frazer-Nash, is an instructor. D. Baddeley, of Tadworth, has recently purchased a 1926 Modified-Brescia Bugatti, and seeks gearbox spares. Donald H. James has kindly sent in 1 1/2-litre S.S. “Jaguar” and 15-h.p. Morris Oxford Six instruction books for the Motor Sport Library. C.T. Black, 100, Duchy Road, Harrogate, seeks March models of Alfa, “3.3” or “2.3” Bugatti. At Bradford a very early Mercedes with i.o.e. engine, a pre-1914 Type B.T. de Dion chassis, a Hampton chassis, less radiator, a 2-litre Lagonda engine, and a Riley Six engine lie in a breaker’s yard, and there is a twin o.h.e. Salmson chassis for £6 in Leeds – these are reported by D.B. Roberts, an E.R.A. Club member. Then we have found a 1911 Sunbeam tourer in a field at Ascot, in considerable disrepair, but savable, for £5, and there is a Bugatti saloon, apparently derelict, near Winchester. Incidentally, Roberts remarks that his Triumph “Tiger 80” is on H.G. duties and is highly satisfactory, doing a speedometer 74 m.p.h., accelerating away from V8 Fords and T-M.G.s, while it is not too heavy, starts easily, is docile and handles well. In the same H.G. division is a 2-litre Sunbeam. Just before he moved back to the Metropolis from Farnborough, Boddy was able to tow Tom Bolt’s 1903 Humber to a place of safety from the open yard to which it had been relegated in Tim Carson’s absence overseas.
Norman Routledge, who wrote the “Cars I have Owned” article in the last issue, has, since August, been using a most ambitious “Special.” It comprises a 1931 Morris Minor with hotted-up engine, 4-speed gearbox, and most ingenious i.f.s., composed of a sawn-in-half, jointed axle and transverse elliptic springs, mounted on a new transverse channel chassis member. The radiator was inclined and lowered 4 inches and a 16 1/2-gallon tank from a 2-litre Ballot fitted at the rear, feed being by S.U. pump. Routledge plans to install an A.C. Six engine in a shortened Alvis chassis, with this form of i.f.s., after the war. There was much competition over the Alvis John Cooper offered for sale, which eventually went to K.W. Smith, of Barking. H.J. Jansen, a Dutchman serving with the Dutch Forces in this country, has sent us some exceellent racing photographs, taken by himself in happier days, some of which we hope to reproduce from time to time. Peter Clark has bought Heal’s solo B.M.W.; at his wife’s birthday party Heal, Mrs. Heal, Tubbs, Creswell, Rivers-Fletcher and Julian Fall were present.
A reader in Scotland has come upon a “Red Label” 3-litre Bentley fabric saloon for about £35, with a clutch that needs attention, and he is likely to buy it, and, if it is not sold, there was a 1934-5 open Lagonda “Rapier” for £45, in Surrey. A reader has kindly sent in some wiring diagrams for the Library, covering. Alvis “Firebird,” “Silver Eagle,” “Crested Eagle,” and “Speed 20,” M.G. “P” and “N,” and 24-h.p. Talbot cars.
Sqdn Ldr. Stephens has, for domestic reasons, to dispose of his T.T. Replica 4-cylinder Frazer-Nash, and would accept £250, or would consider exchanging it for a drophead S.S. coupé. J. Lowrey now rides a transverse twin Douglas “Endeavour” motor-cycle.
A Surrey Home Guard and Civil Defence training trial
The Syx Don R Club held an ambitious Home Guard and Civil Defence training trial in Surrey last month. Army instructors took the 126 riders in a series of lectures at each hazard in the morning, a splendid method of imparting valuable knowledge, for the introduction of which we believe that Arthur Bourne, of the Motor Cycle, was responsible. Sgt. Paddy Johnston, the T.T. rider, struck us as a particularly able lecturer and demonstrator. The trial embraced a real bomb-crater, a steep stepped hill, a sandy stretch, a difficult descent, and a deep and lengthy water splash, all in a course of 2.7 miles. The spectators seemed to be quite aware that these military-style events are essential to present-day conditions, but one elderly H.G. official remarked that, “of course we couldn’t allow the common to be cut-up like this in peace-time” – apparently we still have some way to go! Some interesting bicycles broke the monotony of Army-type machines, including an O.E.C. “Special,” a Levis, several Velocettes and Nortons and an Excelsior. In the trial L. Sheaf walked his two-stroke S.O.S. through the splash to humour his low-set carburetter, so there must have been at least one loophole in the regulations! The whole event was excellently conducted, and best performance of the day to Pte. T.J. Richball (350 Triumph), best H.G. performance to Lieut. D.G. Rather (350 Triumph), and best C.D. performance to L. Sheaf (S.O.S.) were announced in the provisional results.
An “open to Services” motor-cycle trial
On Sunday, September 26th, an “Open to all Services” trial was held, and a good entry of 130 riders was received. Competitors were sent away at half-minute intervals to the first three sections, which were on the nearby heathland. The majority of entrants appeared to be Home Guard, with Army entries a close second; the rest were a mixture of Special Police and N.F.S. Most riders were mounted on W.D. machines, either Ariels or Matchless, but many riders had their own machines, some very much “built-for-business” trials bikes.
Owing to lack of suitable transport we were unable to observe all the sections, but it was reported that the early ones consisted of a mud plug and a fairly deep water splash, neither of which caused a great deal of trouble. The first two sections we were able to watch were a straight run of about 200 yards through loose sand and an ascent of a hillside, very similar to “Red Roads” hill on Bagshot Heath, the secret of success being speed on the lower slopes. On the whole, riding wasn’t terribly good and pre-Services trials riders were very noticeable among the many flounderings.
A break from motor-cycles on the hillside ascent was given by a Jeep, Peep, or what-have-you, doing a climb with which we were not very impressed. We then moved to two of the later sections. There were ten in all, the first being a very tricky ride of some 50 yards through a taped-off course in a wood. On this section riding skill was at a distinct premium, and again the experts stood out noticeably. Then followed an ascent of Boulder Alley, on which many crankcases received hearty clouts; here some riders got up by sheer brute force and no discretion, a very few got up by good riding and a large number failed. The final section was a steep descent which caused many to drop their models, but apart from mudguards and exhaust systems falling off, not a great deal of damage was done and many lessons were learnt by both riders and spectators.
Some brief notes of the more trials type motor-cycles present might be of interest. Sgt. G.M. Berry was riding a 350 o.h.e. Triumph Twin W.D. model which looked very efficient and appeared to go well. A Home Guard from Gloucester was riding a nice line in 250 Levis trials models, as was Biggs, who hailed from Guildford, and used to race a 175-c.c. Blackburne in local scrambles. R.L. Hankin, another pre-Service dicer, was riding a very special 16H Norton, built with a view to trials work, and it handled very nicely. Of particular interest to the writer was a 350 MAC Velocette, “trial-sized,” which made some sections look very easy. It had an MAC engine, frame and gearbox, a KSS 3.00″ x 21″ front wheel, a 4.00″ x 19″ rear boot, modified braking system and riding position, and a very neat chain lubrication arrangement for both chains, all this with a 7″ ground clearance made a good trials motor-cycle.
Another bike of interest was a “Tiger 100” Triumph fitted with Teledraulic forks which, though it got up the hills all right, did it mostly by brute force, though the rider reported the forks to be an immense help on the rough stuff.
Results. – P.A.: Cpl. Burns (Triumph), 5 marks lost. Best Army Rider: Sgt. D. Murray. Team Award: Military Police (Sgts. J. Day, D. Murdoch and D. Murray), 58 marks lost. First-Class Awards: A. J. Hunt (19), Cadet Parker (19), Sgt. S. M. Berry (21), Major Drummond (22), Sgt. D. Murdoch (21), Cpl. Mace (21), Sgt. J. Day (22), Sgt. J. Riley (22), Sgt. Hall (21).
The picture on the front cover this month shows Richard Seaman’s famous 1 1/2-litre Delage chasing Lord Howe’s E.R.A. round St. Ninian’s Corner in the 1936 Isle of Man race. Seaman drove a faultless race in this 10-year-old car, finishing 1st at 69.76 m.p.h. from “Bira’s” E.R.A. and Cyril Paul’s E.R.A. He also made fastest lap, at 72 m.p.h. The Delage passed the E.R.A. just before the latter was slowed by excessive fuel pressure, and finally retired with a burst fuel tank. Readers will note that we have made no attempt to blank out the free advertisement for one of our contemporaries, which appears in the foreground, in spite of the reluctance of the weekly motoring Press to recognise the war-time existence of Motor Sport!