VSCC Welsh Trial

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The traditional visit to Wales by the main-section of the VSCC was purely a trial this year, the Concours d’Elegance and Driving Tests being cancelled because of insufficient entries. This could perhaps be laid at the door of Inflation but not, one hopes, at that of the speculative value of old vehicles But the trial went off well, just about avoiding the heavy rain-showers and occupying the Saturday afternoon as well as most of Sunday’s daylight. It had 64 entries, against 71 last year.

Davis II, a short, steep, grassy bank divided into 25 very compact sections, on the Saturday afternoon, was climbed clean by the first to go, Stoyal’s Super Sports Frazer Nash, that made it look simple, Dunkerley’s Boulogne Frazer Nash with three-up, Fenner’s blue Riley 9 Special, Barry Clarke’s Chummy Austin 7 with its tools and tyre-pump on the back and a bonnet-strap to constrain the high revs he used on an excellent ascent, and by Longhurst’s Riley 9 Special. The curious little hill seemed to get more difficult as time went on but Phillips had no trouble in his triple-SU Alvis Silver Eagle Special, although he seemed to disdain keeping to a conventional rev-Iimit.

Spence characteristically blipped his Lea-Francis Special up clean, R. Winder made it, in his original-looking, hoodless Chummy Austin, and David Marsh’s 30/98 Vauxhall scored full marks when others of the breed were failing. Those who so nearly got all the way up included Piers-Hall, whose Chummy Austin had a strapped-down bonnet and oversize rear tyres. Moffatt in the familiar Type 13 Bugatti, Bain’s Number Special, Threlfall whose Model-A Ford Tudor saloon, wearing its MCC badge, got within half-an-inch or so of the required top-marks marker. Another who just failed after a very good attempt was W. Winder’s Humber Chummy. These competitors all reached marker-24, as did Reed’s Mulliner-bodied Austin 7 two-seater, Abbott in his odd-bodied Model A Ford with out-of-period bulb-horn, Gunn’s 3-speed Ulster-bodied Austin 7, Ghosh’s 30/98 Vauxhall, Spollen’s very smart 30/98 Vauxhall Wensum which might have got right up if it hadn’t veered off course. Hyland’s Alvis Silver Eagle two-seater, and Pat Marsh’s 30/98 Vauxhall that was wearing its hood in a coupe de ville posture. Also coming to rest at marker-24 were McEwen’s Riley 9 fabric tourer, swerving about to try for grip, and Meeks’ Austin 20 with four up and hydraulic front-brakes, while those who got to marker 23 were Ryley’s Hyper Lea-Francis with external exhaust, Gray’s 30/98 Vauxhall, its starting-handle rattling in its retaining strap, Jeddere-Fisher in his 1921 30/98, Harris’ Boulogne Frazer Nash that was to have “canine maladies” on the Sunday, Tony Jones, unfamiliar in a new cap, for the 30/98 brigade, Llewellyn’s 4 1/2-litre ex-Brooklands Bentley two-seater with its radio playing(!), Garland’s 30/98 and Knight’s 16/60 O.M. So it was a near-run-thing, with Costigan’s Vernon Derby, Hancock’s 16/60 O.M. which stalled its engine, Hurst’s 12/50 Alvis, hood up, Templeton’s 30/98 Vauxhall, Rowley’s 30/98 with much wheelspin. Hamilton-Gould making a splendid effort in his 1920 Citroen tourer, and Blake’s 12/50 Alvis, four up and its lights on, all getting to marker 22.

Diffey (who achieved marker 16) had the distinction of having changed a big-end on his 1926 Humber 9/20 in one hour, before the start. Mann was enjoying himself in a Lancia Lambda with 7th-Series engine, 8th-Series chassis and 6th-Series axle, but Seymour Price, his rebuilt Austin 7 Chummy on its first outing, failed to arrive until late due to fuel starvation, and Weeks was in the lower field rebuilding the SU petrol pump of the S.S. (not that one but the Skinner Special wooden Austin 7). Someone had found Threlfall a period Model-A tyre gauge, and spectating cars included a most-regal sleeve-valve Daimler and a Crossley Ten saloon, while Max Mill was seen in a 4WD vehicle of Russian origin and his son Keith (marker 17) was blowing up his AJS’s tyres with the luxury of an engine-operated inflator. Roger Collings in the Speed Six Bentley made marker 20 but had much difficulty ascending to the start on Davis 1, in which he was not alone.

Sunday’s sections were to the traditional pattern, Hyope’s approach hump giving some bother but the Pilleth grass-gradients being mainly easy, in spite of heavy overnight rain.

W B.

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