The winding and steep drive in the grounds of the Harleyford Estate, on the banks of the Thames near Marlow, has been the scene of numerous small club sprint meetings throughout the summer, and recently we took the opportunity to attend two meetings at this new venue as a competitor. A tinted Section as long as 800 yards, including a sharp right-angle bend, a fast climbing left-hander and a very fast sweeping right hand curve can be included in this delightful little hill, in a country club setting on the Estate.
The first meeting we went to was on September 21st when the 750 Club in conjunction with the Hants & Berks and, United Hospitals Clubs ran an event for open and closed cars. This meeting was over the long course, with starting-spoon and beam finish timing. and being primarily 750 Club there was a fine turn-out of Austin Seven Specials and 1,172-c.c. Specials, the majority of the entry comprising home-built cars, with a delightful air of informality and sprint-racing just for the sheer fun of the thing. Unfortunately rain halfway through the afternoon spoilt the chances of many of the competitors competing against the Ford Ten-engined cars that ran in the dry. Sydney Allard opened the course with his Steyr-engined sports Special, while Rivers-Fletcher made a demonstration run with his Cooper-vee twin J.A.P.
The following Sunday. September 28th saw us visiting this pleasant venue once more, this time in fine weather, on the occasion of the London Motor Club’s meeting. The course was shortened to a point just before the final fast bend, and the finish was timed by rubber strip. Essentially a ” members only ” meeting this event was a model of organisation, plastic numbers supplied by Speedwell (Sprinzcl being Assistant. Scrutineer) were stuck on the cars upon arrival and removed again at the end of the meeting, so that the competitor had no worries at all about painting or removing numbers from the car. In addition a traffic-light system of ” course clear” Signalling worked admirably enabling two practice and two timed runs, with a lengthy lunch break in between, to be completed well before the end of the afternoon. While the last class was completing its second runs the provisional results were being typed and duplicated and by the time the last man returned down the hill the complete results were available for all competitors and the Press, so that visitors left with a very good impression of the organisation behind the London Motor Club. Unlike the 750 Club, the London Motor Club tried to classify cars by groupings, which does not really work for Club events – sports cars have to mix with Gran Turismo cars and comparatively harmless vehicles like Nash Metropolitans and Karmann-Ghia VWs have to compete against Porsches:
Remarkable in this meeting was the variety of fast ears, no particular type having great domination, and also the complete absence of Lotus cars, obviously not held in favour by members of the London Motor Club. In the results listed below the times for the two meetings bear no comparison, the two courses being of different length, which is unfortunate. Attendance as a competitor at almost any small sprint meeting these days gives rise to a growing realisation that some sort of uniformity might be desirable, as far as regulations, are concerned. Harleyford has proved extremely popular this season With events run by the the Jaguar D.C., the Allard 0.C.. the Surrey Sporting M.C. and many others.-D. S. J.