The Southsea M.C.’s 1939 Horndean Speed Trials were the last event on the British calendar to be run before war came. On that occasion Sydney Allard made f.t.d. but, after doing so, overturned beyond the finish, his passenger, the present Editor of Motor Sport, and Allard himself, being thrown out of the car uninjured. On October 13th, over a slightly different course, Allard, driving his sprint Allard, again made f.t.d., in 29.0 sec. His second run was very hectic, but he kept his foot down in spite of wild slides up the loose-surface hill with its right-hand sweeping bend, to clock 21.7 sec. and, on a third demonstration run, recorded 20.1 sec. Timing was by hand-actuated stopwatch, the organisation very slick, the entry excellent. Confined to sports cars, this was nevertheless a most entertaining meeting. In the unlimited open-car class Len Parker’s more touring V12 Allard was second to Allard in 20.6 sec., after a first run in 21.6 sec., and Emery’s Hudson third, in 21.1 sec., after a 22.0 sec. run. Potter’s Allard did 21.5 then 21.3 sec., Parker’s quite-standard-looking S.S. “100” a very good 21.6 sec., Cole’s Jaguar 22.9 sec., and Dryden’s noisy Jaguar 22.6 sec. The last time was equalled by the Price-Special, while Matthews’ be-badged Jaguar managed 23.0 sec., and Burgess, whose white 1946 Allard 2-seater had a show-finished engine and suspension which worked very steadily, clocked a creditable 23.4 sec. Seecombe roared up in 22.5 sec. in the Leyland, Butterworth’s 4 1/2-litre Bentley did 23.6 sec., and notable were Cole’s s.v. S.S. “90” (25.5 sec.), Whittaker’s 4.6litre Packard coupé (20.5 sec., and his wife but .1 sec. slower), and Lewis’s V8 Mercury-engined Atalanta coupé (24.7 sec.). Parker’s 2.6-litre S.S.-engined M.G. did 24.6 sec., Quartermaine’s lowered “30/98” Vauxhall thundered up in 24,9 sec., but otherwise the vintage cars were undistinguished – MaréchaI’s 6 1/2-litre Bentley 27.7 sec., Lord Strathcarron’s smart 3-litre Bentley 34.8 sec., Axel-Berg’s beautifully turned-out “14/40” Delage 33.5 sec., and Jane’s shortened Lancia “Lambda” Special 40.0 sec. Salmon’s M.G. “Tiger”-engined Beckenham-Special, a very nice-looking car with Lancia i.f.s., clocked 28.1 sec., and C. S. Dewey’s Willys-Jeep was the faster of two ordinary versions of these cars, in 30.0 sec.- besides competing, Dewey was secretary of the meeting, clerk of the course, and club steward! A special Jeep, bearing on its wood-and-fabric bonnet “Britain Can Make It,” was confined to the paddock.
In the class for open cars up to 2 litres, Raymond Way’s 328 B.M.W. won, in 21.8 sec., on a snaky run, Miss Haig being second in 22.3 sec. in spite of losing a moment at the start. Miss Haig had forsaken her A.C. for the ex-Oscar Moore, left-drive 328 B.M.W., a car she collected from the German factory before the war and which went really well. Morrish’s blown PB M.G., by grace of many r.p.m., was third, in 22.7 sec.
Bowles did his fastest run in this class – 24.5 sec. – with his blown Austin Seven, Denyer clocked a rousing 24.0 sec. on both ascents in his venerable Lea-Francis, and Best did 25.0 sec. in the supercharged, ex-Imhof 6-cylinder Singer.
The class for open cars up to 1 1/2 litres saw Morrish’s M.G. out in front, in 22.8 sec., beating Lester’s special-bodied PB M.G., with cowled radiator. Baring’s special 1 1/2-litre Riley, a “Sprite” engine in a modified chassis, tied with Denyer for third place, both doing 23.7 sec. on their second runs, although Denyer was a trifle faster on his first. Betts, muffing his first climb, improved to 24.7 sec. in his Meadows H.R.G., Diana Cowell, improving noticeably, clocked 25.0 sec. in her Riley “Sprite,” Coles’ aluminium-bodied M.G. with lamps in its dumb-iron apron, managed a polished 25.1 sec. on both runs, and Pearson’s old Morris Minor, with 1,272-c.c. o.h.v. engine, did 26.1 sec. In this class Williams drove a very neat 1,271-c.c. Wolseley Special, with aluminium body, and front suspension by long 1/4-elliptic springs located by radius arms made up from old steering connections and working on a tie-bar between the springs (26.8 sec.). Hay’s Anzani-Frazer-Nash and Hill’s “12/50” Alvis represented vintage interests, their best runs being 31.2 sec. and 27.8 sec., respectively.
In the 1,100-c.c. class Lester’s very creditable M.G. won, making both runs in 23.9 sec. He was very consistent, doing 23.5 and 23.4 sec. in the next class, as already recounted. Coles (M.G.) was second in 25.3 sec., and Lowrey’s H.R.G. third. Moncur’s pristine blue “Grand Sports” Amilcar did 31.3 sec., Dyer’s cut-down Riley Nine 27.2 sec., Davidge-Pitts’ “Brooklands” Riley 27.5 sec., while Miss Riddell’s D-type M.G. couldn’t better 45.2 sec.
There were two classes for saloons, that for cars up to 16 h.p. being won by Hollingsworth’s supercharged Ten-engined Ford “Anglia,” in 29.0 sec., Mrs. Fry’s Lancia “Aprilia” tying with Seelly’s 1946 Riley for second place. In the over 16-h.p. category Raymond Way’s coupé B.M.W. easily vanquished Gibbons’ Alvis “Speed 20.”
It was pleasant to see the Southsea chaps again and we hope they will repeat this meeting next year. Interesting cars spotted in the well-supported public enclosure included an early flat-radiator Alfa-Romeo tourer, a 2-litre Crossley saloon and a mid-engined Trojan tourer. Sydney Allard made for home with his family in a Ford Eight saloon, his Allard going to Southampton next day for shipment to Jersey.