The Welsh event, which dates back to 1939 as a main VSCC fixture, had 80 entries this year, fewer than in 1989, and consisted of a 200-mile run-in to Presteigne on the Saturday, by any route the intrepid drivers of their pre-1931 cars cared to take, and on the sunny Sunday the traditional trial or a map-reading road rally of some 60 miles, to choice.
Presteigne was filled with the competing cars, among which one heard Gunn’s Ulster A7’s warning siren and noted that Adnam’s A7 Chummy was seeking more charge from its third brush. Longhurst was already plotting the ‘morrow’s route on behalf of his Riley, we admired the pristine condition of one Meadows Frazer Nash and saw that Proctor was changing to more grippy rear tyres on his. Riddle had come alone in his GN, using his parallel-valve ohv engine, Walker was off to do a little mild adjusting of the Gwynne’s cone clutch, and the 1917 Studebaker looked in need of the same treatment. . . .
Meanwhile, Di Threlfall had been seen apparently intent on seeing the sea at Aberystwyth, in getting up mileage in the Ford saloon, and we were at last able to record the wording of the advertisement that graces the back panel of Chris Gordon’s 1915 Hudson rhd tourer with its central gate gearchange — in case anyone else is interested it reads: “Manning Auto Repairs Service, 110W Front Street”, somewhere in the USA obviously. But this time Chris was a bouncer in a 12/50 Alvis.
The dry weather had the hill ‘sections’ in easy conditions; the VSCC really will have to support the Green Party, to encourage wet instead of ‘greenhouse’ conditions in future trials. In fact, there was some evidence that mysterious rites were being performed in the hope of a return of the rains, such as a ladies’ umbrella strapped to the running-board of Dyer’s 1923 Frazer Nash and a protective gaiter over the external handbrake of that delectable Montlhéry AC. . . . The first hill we observed on Sunday, Lloyds, did have a modicum of mud on it, defeating some, Kearney’s nice 1925 A7 Chummy and the two-stroke Aero wouldn’t look at it, and Hulford’s 12/50 Alvis fared little better. Baxter’s Chrysler did well to get as far as marker-11, then Felton’s Brescia Bugatti made it to ’15’, amid the scent of burnt castor-oil. A bonny bouncing crew got Bruce Spollon’s 30/98 to ’16’, the all New Zealand crew of Monro’s 30/98, Eoin Young among them, rose to ’18’, but it was David Marsh in his 30/98 who cleaned it. As expected Spence raced up in the Lea-Francis, as if at Prescott, but Tony Jones’s 30/98 stopped at ’12’ and Rankin’s failed about halfway, as did the lhd Ford two-seater of Miss Jones, with its white-capped crew.
The Austin 20 managed ‘9’, Hirst’s Alvis ’11’, but Welch’s A7 Chummy, sportingly using aeroscreens, didn’t stop until it had reached marker-12.
However, unless you have a reporting team out on all the hills, writing up a trial is somewhat pointless (somewhat?). So I went on to look at ‘Railway’, so called because the splendid mid-Wales scenic route runs right beside the start. On the way a bonnetless side-valve Riley was in need of a push and at the hill a pump was trying to control an apparently unquenchable fire at a tip for disposable tyres. It’s never dull in Wales, as the tourists brochures will tell you. . . .
The trial ended with three ‘sections’ at Pilleth, where it was so dry that dust rose from some back tyres. It seemed better to look around the paddock and admire the sophisticated exhaust arrangements of Dames-Longworth’s Ulster A7, in contrast to which Hall’s Ulster scorned an exhaust tailpipe. Gosling’s A7 Ulster had lost its accelerator linkage and Seymour Price’s A7 Chummy broke its crankshaft before doing the final hill. Barry Clarke had a communal suitcase strapped to the back of his Godfrey & Proctor A7/GN and Toms ran his two-seater 1921 Fiat, which made a sure but steady ascent of Pilleth one. Another rare entry was Howard’s Ballot, with those little doors in its bonnet so that you can take a peep to see if the engine is still there. After which, I think I had better hasten to the results. WB
Results: 1st Class Awards: J Evans (A7), A Jones (30/98), H Spence (Lea-Francis), C Rides (Invicta), D Marsh (30/98) H Monro (30/98). All the placings were very close and Marsh won the Presteigne Trophy for best performance.
2nd Class Awards: J Blake (GN), B Clarke (A7/GN), A Carlisle (GN), C Gunn (A7), R Low (A7), P Blakeney-Edwards (Frazer Nash), Mrs J Tomlinson (A7), B Spollon (30/98), Mrs D Threlfall (Ford), T Riley (Ford).
3rd Class Awards: R Felyon (Bugatti), Miss J Winder (A7), A Hall (Al), J Wheeler (Morris), W Urry (Riley), C Marsh (Morris), C Collings (Bentley). Again, the results were very close. The Road Rally was won outright by Judy Daniels (40/50hp Rolls-Royce), navigated by D Filsell.