Exciting V.S.C.C. Meeting at Luton Hoo
Walker (E.R.A.) Wins £75 Prize. Poore’s 3.8-litre Alfa-Romeo Makes F.T.D. on Extra Run.
The Vintage S.C.C. ran a successful, if autumnal, speed trial over the exciting 1 1/2-mile course at Luton Hoo, by permission of Sir Harold Wernher, on October 9th. Last year the course was slightly shorter. The road is wide and well surfaced and embraces an S-bend taken both ways of the course, as cars turn round at the top of the straight, and a fast left-hand bend into the finish. Peter Walker made fastest practice time; unfortunately Ken Jarvis, using the locked differential in his Austin which he had at Brighton and the engine going beautifully, lost control in the “S” on the downhill run and ran on to the grass, the car striking a small tree. Jarvis was killed instantly. Such happenings are unexpected at club events and the deepest sympathy went out to Mrs. Jarvis.
The weather was kind on the Sunday but the road was wet from Saturday’s rain and never really got dry under the trees.
The car parks filled early, many cars dear to vintage enthusiasts being present and several members of the Bentley D.C. taking the air after their activities at the Dorchester the night before. Yet other enthusiasts were encountered still damp after the Hants and Berks M.C. Night Rally or the journey back from Weston in open cars. Interesting exhibits included an Andre V6 and a “Brescia” Bugatti sports two-seater with disc wheels from an early Lea-Francis, while Kent Karslake’s “Barcelona” Hispano-Suiza guarded the entrance to the Paddock.
Cars up to 1,100 c.c.
Classes 1 and 2 were combined, and Christie’s Cooper 1,000 pulled off a very well deserved win, his driving extremely polished. Winterbottom’s Cooper 1,000 was also extremely rapid, sliding into the “S” on the downhill run, while Brown deserves great credit for beating nine cars in Class 2 with his Cooper 500. On a neat run Tooley had rather an up-and-down ride in his Riley-G.N., its back suspension working overtime, Richards’ Riley went fast into the barrel turn, but was misfiring, while Willment’s nice-looking M.G. was nearly savaged by a Bedford van on one run.
1st: M. A. H. Christie (996-c.c. Cooper) … 79.88 sec.
2nd: K. Winterbottom (998-c.c. Cooper) … 83.97 sec.
3rd: A. Brown (497-c.c. Cooper) … 86.83 sec.
1st Vintage: Hern (1926 Amilcar) … 88.98 sec.
Cars from 1,100 c.c. to 1,500 c.c.
Duncan-Hamilton’s 6C Maserati stirred things up to win this class, having quite a moment entering the “S ” on its return run. The Norris Special, sounding very healthy, was second, tail wagging through the “S,” and Richardson, on his only run, was third in the R.R.A. Gahag n found time to increase pressure in his Bugatti’s tank, Knight looked very wild and had a fearful slide at the barrel-turn as he missed his gear-change on his attractive, stumpy “Brescia” Bugatti, and Elwell-Smith’s crisp-sounding 1928 “team” Aston-Martin went well, stripped for the job. Peter Clark, headlamps blazing on the Le Mans H.R.G. on the upward run, held a slide into the “S” but seemed to have a rough ride. Dr. Kennedy handled his open two-seater special-bodied Lancia “Aprilia” with T-type M.G. engine neatly and Nancy Binns drove with spirit her road-equipped Riley.
1st: J. Duncan-Hamilton (1,496-c.c. Maserati) … 79.38 sec.
2nd: C. W. A. Heyward (1,482-c.c. Norris-Special) … 86.23 sec.
3rd: G. N. Richardson (1,488-c.c. R.R.A.) … 86.41 sec.
1st Vintage: Heyward (1929 Norrls Special) … 86.23 sec.
2nd Vintage: Elwell-Smith (1928 Aston-Martin) 95.27 sec.
Cars from 1,501 c.c. to 2,000 c.c.
Peter Walker was simply immense here, in the twin-rear-wheeled 2-litre E.R.A. It was Walker all the way up-and down In a series of immense slides and the blare of exhaust he clocked first 78.69 sec., going into the bank at the “S” on the downhill run, then 74.79 sec. on the drier course on his second run. This was officially f.t.d., netting him £75, as the later runs between the five fastest cars, when Poore, and Allard beat him, did not count for awards. Wilks got that amazing unblown Rover into second place on a completely safe-looking run, and Mould’s 2-litre blown G.P. Bugatti captured fourth place and the Vintage Award, Hull being third on a determined run in Sir Clive Edwards’ Lea-Francis-H.R.G. Mrs. Cooney’s 1922 G.P. Sunbeam returned to the Paddock aided, it appeared, as much by gravity as by its engine, to record s.t.d.
1st: P. D. Walker (1,988-c.c. E.R.A.) … 74.79 sec.
2nd: P. M. Wilks (1,996-c.c. Rover) … 85.39 sec.
3rd: D. H. C. Hull (1,767-c.c. H.R.G.) … 85.49 sec.
1st Vintage: P. Mould (1927 Bugatti) 89.13 sec
Cars from 2,001 c.c. to 3,000 c.c.
Peter Stubberfield’s twin-rear-wheeled single-seater Bugatti won the £50 vintage car award in this class and no other driver bettered his time, Raven’s 1929 ex-Bear Bugatti single-seater being 8.29 sec. slower.
1st: P. J. Stubberfield (2,261-c.c. Bugatti) … 84.04 sec.
2nd: A. S. Raven (2,998-c.c. Bugatti) … 92.33 sec.
3rd: G. D. Parker (2,662-c.c. Jaguette)… 94.36 sec.
1st Vintage: Stubberfield (Bugatti) … 84.04 sec.
Cars over 3,000 c.c.
Things really warmed up in this class. Sydney Allard, grim of expression, threw his Steyr-Allard about with great abandon, its brakes being made good use of. Result – 79.43 sec. to Walker’s first run in 78.69 sec. Then McAlpine, correcting a slide with arm-over wheel action and taking the tricky final bend wide, beat Walker with 78.26 sec., on single rear wheels. Poore, to a whistle of twin Wade blowers and squeal of brakes, rear suspension holding the big car to the road, did 80.13 sec., and Rolt, sliding all the way and seemingly out of control into the “S,” managed 81.08 sec. On his second run Poore left his braking noticeably late and clocked a brilliant 75.4 sec., and Allard, using end-of-season revs., and his brakes, did 7 .49 sec. Both cars were reasonably steady. Then McAlpine came up prodigiously fast but had to use the escape road at the barrel turn. Rolt then drove up in hectic fashion, correcting slides all the way and going immensely quickly into the last bend-clocking 76.9 sec., on a run really good to behold. So it was Poore, Allard, Rolt, with Walker unbeaten. The vintage cars had quite a battle royal amongst themselves, Plowman’s grand “30/28 ” Vauxhall beating Kemp-Place’s very beautifully-handled 4 1/2-litre Bentley in the first half, with Webb’s “30/98” and Raphael’s “38/250” Mercédès-Benz, blower shrilling, as runners-up. Then, during the second run, Plowman’s engine seized before the finish line on a determined run, so that the Bentley won the duel.
1st: R. D. Poore (3,800-c.c. Alfa-Romeo) … 75.40 sec.
2nd: S. Allard (3,700-c.c. Allard) … 76.49 sec.
3rd: A. P. R. Rolt (3,422-c.c. Alfa Romeo) … 76.90 sec.
1st Vintage: Kemp-Place (1928 Bentley) … 91.00 sec.
After this stirring taste of motor racing the five fastest cars ran again and we had an excellent opportunity of studying individual style. The Luton Hoo bends, except for the barrel turn, are sensible ones such as are encountered on a road circuit. The road is wide enough to allow the drivers full scope and the straight long enough for speed to build up appreciably, while good brakes and low-end acceleration are at a premium. Walker again used his sliding technique to the full, Rolt slid also but kept his car far nearer the straight line, McAlpine worked hard and took his corners very fast, while Allard and Poore were comparatively steady, the former, of course, handicapped by lack of a supercharger or two.
The result was: –
Poore (Alfa-Romeo) … 74.46 sec.
Allard (Allard) … 74.70 sec.
McAlpine (Maserati) … 75.37 sec.
Walker (E.R.A.) … 75.40 sec.
Rolt (Alfa-Romeo) … 76.03 sec.
This was sprint motoring at its very best and the spectators loved it. We sincerely hope that the National Institute for the Blind benefited materially and that Luton Hoo will happen again next year. Apart from Walker winning the f.t.d. award and Stubberfield the vintage car prize, Allard took the £20 for fastest unsupercharged car.