RAIN and mud ! That will be the recollection of all those who braved the elements to witness the Mid.land Automobile Club’s Amateur event at Shelsley Walsh on the 13th of September. However, in spite of the appalling weather conditions, the large entry produced very few non-starters, and, thanks to the wonderful organisation. of the climb by the M.A.C. the event passed off smoothly. Although full of interest it was practically devoid of excitement, the conditions making the drivers treat the corners with respect, and a very high, general standard of driving was maintained throughout.
The surface of the hill is of that matt finish tar surface which affords a good grip even when wet, and was in excellent condition. However, the persistent heavy rain began to tell eventually, especially at the bottom of the hill, and the getaway of the more powerful cars was considerably effected. By the time we had come firmly to rest and started to sink out of sight, 2 p.m. arrived, and punctual to the minute, Earl Howe brought his big blue T.T. Mercedes up the hill. His first climb was comparatively cautious and the low rumble of the exhaust was more in. evidence than the shriek of the blower. His time was 55 secs., which proved sufficient to win the class. The first series of ascents were for the interclub team prize, and the tunes were very variable as one or two models had. brief stops during the ascent ! R. R. Jackson driving his veteran hack 30-98 Vauxhall made a very good climb considering the car, and showed his respect for the weather by keeping the hood ,up. Phillips’ Bugatti was neat and steady,
in marked contrast to his very hectic exhibition on the occasion of the open climb.
The winners of the interclub event proved to be the M.A.C. team, chiefly owing to the fine performance of E. R. Hall’s Bentley. Hall is an old hand at the hillclimbing game and appears to have lost none of the skill which stood him in such good, stead in the old days of Kop and South Harting, and other names which are now, alas, mere memories. Allan-Arnold being a non-starter owing to a crash in practice, his place was filled by Mrs. E. R. Hall who, with her whispering counsel in her car and also wangling the spark control, earned another round of applause from the soak,. d spectators. The Hall family certainly put up a fine show during the afternoon, and although the Bentley is much more a long distance car than a hill climb motor, their handling of it deserves the highest praise.
When these cars had descended the hill the ladies event was run off, and Frazer-Nashes were distinctly in evidence, Mrs. Wisdom making a beautifully neat climb, and cheers greeted the announcement that her time was 54 2/5 secs,, the fastest climb so far. Mrs. Hall was also good while Miss Penn-Hughes (FrazerNash) went into the s-bend too fast, and got into difficulties. However, she held on well and after a fierce exhibition of tailwagging on the final corner eventually regained control and disappeared towards the finish amid, cheers for her plucky effort. After these special events, began, the class events proper, and proceedings were opened by a succession of Austins, with and without blowers, three M.G. Midgets,
which did not appear quite up to their usual form, and a very standard-looking supercharged Triumph. • The Austins, however, suffered from no troubles, and W. E. Harker put up the best of several good climbs.
The 1100 c.c. class saw a return to the scene of their former triumphs of some of the old G.N. brigade, some with their original motors rebuilt, and some with other twins, and speeds leapt up with a jerk. R. T. Horton was busy as he first took his Avon-J.A.P. (or J.A.P. engined G.N.) up in 51 4/5 secs. in the racing class, and his T.T. Riley up in 67 4/5 secs. in the sports class, gained two second places to B. G. Sharp’s G.N.A.T. in the racing and Attenborough’s Sahnson in the sports class.
The next class suffered slight delays owing to a succession of Bugattis protesting against the weather and refusing to function as their maker intended. However, those that did go, made up for their refractory brethren in no uncertain manner, gaining the first three places in the I I-litre racing class, but only Heath on a Brescia, was anything but steady. The fastest 1+-litre of all was R. J. G. Nash’s single seater Frazer-Nash, which also made the fastest ascent so far recorded at the meeting in 48 4/5 secs. This amazing little vehicle weighing only some 7+ cwt. and with seemingly unlimited power at its command, streaked up as steady as a rock. It was fitted with. twin rear tyres which undoubtedly helped what little weight there was to get a good grip. In our opinion this is the sort of vehicle that could under reasonable conditions, bring the Shelsley record back to
this country. The fact that it was not faster on this occasion was due firstly to the vile weather, and secondly Nash was not very used to the car and therefore, although giving a fine exhibition, wisely refrained from taking excessive risks.
Spottiswoode was again the star performer in the 2-litre class, and de note of his Bugatti was a joy to a mechanical car. When getting away from the last bend towards the finish his spinning tyres left a trail of steam, and. a smell of burning rubber in spite of the wet surface !
The next class provided special interest as it included Raymond Mays on his supercharged Vauxhall-Villiers, with its twin rear tyres, intercooler in the induction system. etc. This vehicle was once one of the famous 3-litre T.T. Vauxhalls, but as some spectator remarked, there is not much left of it besides the sump ! However the result is definitely quick, and the exhaust simply hits you amidships as it goes by. No one really expected Von Stuck’s record to be in danger on such a day, but Mays made a very good climb, securing fastest time of the day fairly comfortably in 76 2/5 secs.
better on his second run, and his speed on the lower slopes was something to watch.
While the cars were dropping down the hill for their second runs, we excavated ourselves from the mire and squelched off to seek refreshment, which was another feature which the M.A.C. arranged with forethought. It is by no means usual at such an event to be able to get such comforts in a reasonable time, but by the time those cars which had qualified for second run were on their way, we were once again at anchor in a good position.
However, conditions made it very difficult for anyone to improve their performances, and those who attempted to had some hectic moments. R.. P. Horton was moving well, but unfortunately left a trail of transmission chains between the last bend and the finish, and omitted to retain just one to get him over the line 1 Power’s Alvis was lurid in the extreme and got into a series of slides which grazed the bank more than once, but eventually got straight and made a good climb. Raymond Mays looked like doing one
However a slight mistake in his gear change •after the last bend cost him valuable time and his first run remained his best.
Then followed a weary trek of mudstained motors back to Worcester and beyond, and the last signs of the event we saw, was when Earl Howe’s Bugatti slipped by in the gathering dusk and laid a course for the horizon which left us once more alone on the ‘ard ‘igh road.
RESULTS. EVENT I.
For teams of three sports cars belonging to members of clubs affiliated to the R.A.C.-1, Midland Automobile Club (M R.. Hall, Bentley, 56 sees.; E. Gormley, Invicta, 56 1/5 secs., and Mrs. E. R.. Hall, Bentley 58 2/5 secs.), 170 3/5 secs. ; 2, Cambridge University M.C. (A. S. Llewellyn, Lea-Francis, 59 1/5 secs. ; W. D. Phillips, Bugatti, 57 1/5 secs., and R. R. Jackson, Vauxhall, 72 3/5 secs.), 189 secs . ; 3, S. . N. B. A . C. (B.. Hughes, Vauxhall, 57 sees.; R. T. Horton, Riley, 68 2/5 secs. ; and J. P. Attenborough, Salmson, 64 1/5 sees.), 189 3/5 secs.
EVENT H. Class I.—Racing cars up to 85() c.c. 1, W. E. Harker (Austin), 53 4/5 secs. ;
2, G. S. Preen (Austin), 63 1/5 secs. Sports cars, ditto.-1, H. H. B. Beacon (Austin), 63 1/5 secs. ; 2, B. Cooke (Austin), 64 secs. Class II.—Racing cars, 851 c.c. to 1,100 c.c.-1, E. G. Sharp (G.N.A.T.),
50 secs. ; 2, R. T. Horton (Avon-J.A.P.).
51 4/5 secs. Sports ears, ditto.-1, J. P. Attenborough (Salmson), 64 1/5 secs. ; 2, R. P. Horton (Riley), 67 4/5 secs. Class III.—Racing cars, 1,101 c.c. to 1,500 c.c.-1, G. Wilson (Bugatti), 56 4/5 sees. ; 2, H. S. Batlavala (Bugatti), 57 secs. ; 3, R. A. Hossell (Bugatti), 58 1/5 secs. Sports ears, ditto.-1, R. J. G. Nash (Frazer-Nash), 48 4/5 secs. ; 2, T. H. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash), 54 sees.;
3, Mrs. T. If. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash), 54 2/5 secs. Class 4.—Racing cars, 1,501 c.c. to 2,000 c.c.-1, A. N. Spottisvvoode (Bugatti), 50 secs. ; 2, E. J. Moor (Wasp),
53 2/5 secs. Sports cars, ditto.-1, W. D. Phillips (Bugatti), 56 3/5 sees.; 2, J. S. Hathaway (Lagonda), 72 secs.
Class 5.—Racing cars, 2,001 c.c. to 3,000 c.c.-1, R. Mays (Villiers Supercharged), 46 2/5 secs. ; 2, Earl Howe (Bugatti), 55 3/5 secs. Sports cars, ditto. —.1, Earl Howe (Bugatti), 55 3/5 secs. ; 2, T. S. Fotheringham (Austro-Daimler), 61 1/5 secs.
Class 6.—Racing cars, 3,001 c.c. to 4,500 c.c.-1, E. R. Hall (Bentley), 52 4/5 secs. Sports cars, ditto.-1, E. R.. Hall (Bentley), 52 4/5 sees.; 2, E. Gormley (Invicta.), 55 3/5 secs.
Class 7.—Racing cars, 4,501 c.c. and over.-1, Earl Howe (Merades-Benz), 53 1-5 secs. Sports cars, ditto.—Same.
SPECIAL AWARDS. M.A.C. Cup for lady making fastest time with a racing or sports car.—Mrs. T. H. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash), 54 2/5
M.A.C. Cup for best time with a car driven in the 1929 or 1930 “DoubleTwelve,” Le Mans, Irish G.P. or T.T. races.—E. R. Hall (Bentley), 52 4/5 secs. (All results are provisional.)