Sprint Week-End (Oct. 11th/12th)
There seems little doubt that with circuit racing becoming such a cut-throat, big business commercial affair, the sporting clubmen who compete for the sheer fun of the thing are turning to sprints and hill-climbs, and the second week-end in October saw two well-supported events held in the south of England. On Saturday, on the Guinness Hop Farm estate at Bodiam in East Sussex, the Hastings, St. Leonards and East Sussex Club ran their invitation event, up the tricky, winding, steep 670-yard hill. The following day the West Essex Club ran their National event up the three-quarter mile, fast and winding perimeter track of the Stapleford Aerodrome by kind permission of Mr. Roger Frogley and the Herta and Essex Aero Club.
At Bodiam the course record was lowered by Lewis-Evans, driving the works Elva Mk. IV, while he also borrowed a production Elva Courier from the factory, as did two of the local clubmen. This event being in Elva country it was not surprising to find Frank Nicholls acting the role of starter, and lending his cars to a number of drivers. With the hill situated near the centre of the village, the return road being down through the main street, there was excellent local co-operation and the event was run through so efficiently that competitors were offered a free extra run up the hill as there was still plenty of daylight left
At Stapleford the meeting went with typical West Essex speed and enthusiasm and by having practice on the previous day, except for a few competitors with special permission who practised on Sunday, the day's sprinting started at 10.45 a.m. and was over well before dusk fell, including a lunch and tea break. This being a National event the entry was large and of a high order, and history was made by Miss Patsy Burt in making f.t.d., beating all the males quite handsomely. It is a popular thing to have a special award for the fastest time by a lady competitor, but few people expected her to carry off the major award of the day. Driving her Formula II Cooper-Climax Miss Burt made two very neat climbs, the second being her fastest, and though local-boy Keith Greene ran in three classes, thus having six climbs, he had to "play the gentleman" and stand down to feminine superiority, but the outcome was in doubt right up to his final run. Rivers-Fletcher was going well on his second climb when a chain broke on his Cooper-J.A.P., which put paid to any hope of improving on his first time.
With both events having numerous classes and sub-divisions of entry it is not possible to give all the "pot winners" but at Bodiam a time under 35 seconds called for hard trying, while at Stapleford anything under 50 seconds was praiseworthy. For this reason we append numerical lists of times of those competitors who managed to get below "bogey."