Le Mans 24 Hours
In a sparkling new era of fuel efficiency and high technology, how fitting that Le…
THE AMATEUR SHELSLEY.
ENTHUSIASTIC MEETING IN BAD WEATHER.
IT seems that the second climb of the year in this delightful venue is getting a bad reputation for weather. Although this year’s event was not quite so wet as last, it was sufficiently unpromising to frighten away a large number of spectators, but those who braved the elements were treated to an excellent display of driving, not a few hectic moments, and a further example of the remarkably efficient M.A.C. organisation.
Naturally conditions were against any records being broken, and all times suffered to the extent of a couple of seconds at least over the corresponding dry weather times. This did not prevent the usual rivals from attempting revenge for past defeats, and the rather treacherous conditions called for all the drivers’ skill to hold the cars on the road.
One of the greatest joys of Shelsley Walsh is the collection of “specials in the paddock. Here is one of the few opportunities for the amateur mechanic to exercise his ingenuity to the full without regulations to worry him. This time the paddock was getting badly churned up and groups of helpers were seen trying to start cars by pushing, and again and again the wheels would lock and slide as some ancient but still hearty twin came up against compression. Most of these vehicles have mainly GN. ancestry, though some are more disguised than others. Many of them still retained the G.N. front suspension without shock absorbers, and with the old strip type radius rods, which seemed a trifle rash when the power and speed have
been so much increased. However, it takes more than a little thing like that to worry your true enthusiast.
Eventually the last minute jobs were completed, even to the fitting of a clothespeg as a plug terminal on Kidston’s Frazer-Nash, and the small class gathered on the starting line.
The first ascent was made by E. R. Hall, on his supercharged Monthl ‘ry Midget. The rain had washed the hill fairly clean and the surface was not yet drying to become greasy. He was very steady indeed and his speed was deceptive. Actually he was the only “750 ” to get under the qualifying time for a second run and made easily fastest time of the class. This time is 65 seconds for the smallest class and 60 secs. for all others.
The 1100 c.c. class began to produce some of the specials and the event took on the true Shelsley aspect in spite of the weather. This was gradually clearing, and the cheery voice of the announcer helped to keep everyone’s spirits up as he described the progress of events in the paddock and at the start, and also gave optimistic weather forecasts which were eventually fulfilled. Sharp brought up his G.N.A.T. in 51 secs., with a very neat climb, while Moor’s Wasp (a similar device) was nearly as fast, but much wilder. The larger classes followed and produced large quantities’of Bugattis of various types from the old!Brescias to ” blown ” straight-eights. R. S. Peacock’s Lea-Francis was faster than ever before and made a very good, though not very steady. Actually he had
had a mild crash the previous day with the car and the front axle had suffered, and it was probably this which led to his shedding a wheel on his second run, fortunately quite harmlessly.
F. J. Fielding’s Bugatti was very fast though rather wild, and was the first of the Bugatti Owners Club Team, which consisted of Fielding, Carr, and Spottiswoode, and eventually annexed the team event.
R. J. G. Nash was soon on the starting line and as the angry roar of the ” Terror ” died away in the loud speakers the tiny white car appeared at terrific speed slithering gently on the fast left hand bends on the first slope of the hill. He took the first bend of the S very fast, but his gear jumped out between the bends, to be got back so quickly that it was hardly noticeable, and he screamed away to the summit. His time was 47 3/5 secs., which was the fastest time so far, and a very fine effort for the ,conditions.
Van der Becke was another star performer on the Becke Special, which is said to have the remnants of an old Wolseley Ten engine. It is only 1,297 c.c. but with a blower and Becke’s tuning its performance is almost equal to the “Terror,” and a very well judged climb gave him a time of 48 2/5 secs. B. H. Davenport on the famous veteran ” Spider ” was the third fastest racing ” 1500 ” and the roar of the mighty twin could be heard from end to end of the hill. The ” Spider’s” best days seem now to have’past, to give place to the supercharged 4-cylinders off more modern cars. It
can still put up a wonderful show in Davenports’ experienced hands, however, and no Shelsley would seem the same without it.
In the sports section of the 11-litres H. Kidston, on a supercharged FrazerNash made a very fast climb for his first sight of the hill, in 52 1/5 secs. T. G. Moore, on his T.T. Frazer-Nash with the blower replaced made a very neat and steady climb to tie for second place in the class with T. H. Wisdom, also on a ” blown ” Nash—time 54 secs. Mrs. Wisdom made a fine climb in 52 secs., but was only entered for the Ladies’ Cup, and so left the class to Kidston. Thus every car in the sports and racing 1,5(.0 c.c. class was either a full blown FrazerNash or a car with similar chassis. The Becke Special has a lot of Frazer-Nash about its transmission and axles.
The 2,000 c.c. Class gave the Bugattis their chance and N. Carr’s was the fastest, and his engine made a really delightful noise, while his driving was pleasantly lurid, without ever being out of control. Spottiswoode was very good, though only entered in the team event, and Potheringham was neat ankfast, getting second In the class.
It is a prominent fact about hill climbs of this type that the larger classes produce (with a few exceptions) rather slow climbs, and the 3,000 c.c. class on this occasion was notably Mower than the smaller classes except for Raymond May’s entry of the Villiers Supercharger in the racing class. The best sports car in the class was Spottiswoode in his Speed Model Rover, a type of which a road test appeared in the last issue of MOTOR SPORT, and a very pleasant vehicle. His climb was so unobtrusive as to pass almost unnoticed, but it beat Waller’s Alvis and SadlierJackson’s Bugatti without difficulty. Raymond May. was suffering from his ‘•
usual delays, but at last he was announced as being on the starting line, and the big supercharged engine beat all noise records as he left the line with the twin rear tyres smoking on the wet road. The power was terrific and he had to cut in and out all the way. He took the S bend very fast and with perfect judgment and his time proved to be 46 secs., fastest time of the day as it proved. He had had the usual last minute trouble to get ready as one of the blow-off valves had blown off Altogether when tuning and disappeared over the hedge. Hence much urgent reconstruction with the aid of one essential piece which was recovered, and they left for the scene of
action about two hours behind schedule.
The 4i-litre category produced several of the new low Invictas, which all showed fine acceleration, but some were a trifle hectic on the S bend. Mays, however, took his up steadily, though doing some quick skid correction when getting away from the last bend, and won the class. 1!;. R. Hall in a blown Bentley started well but petered out momentarily when changing down for the S bend. He apparently had some fuel trouble which caused the blowoff valves to blow up when changing down, thus making things more than difficult.
The tea interval followed, and the ample room for consuming same made us selfishly pleased that the crowd was smaller than usual. After this break the select few who had qualified started their second runs. It was evident right away that things were going to be lively, as the road had partially dried to a greasy state, the cars had each brought their share of mud onto the hill from the paddock, and several people were determined to improve their times–a combination of circumstances which was quite opposed to quiet and steady motoring ! i. R. Hall brought his Nfidget up first and was one of the very few to effect
improvement. Then came Moor’s Wasp and Sharp’s G.N.A.T., both slower than on the first run. The next excitement was when K. S: Peacock’s Lea-Francis cut the first bend of the S very close after a hectic slide lower down the hill, and his near side front wheel departed on its own, the axle beam having broken close up to. the brake. drum. kle carried on without apparently noticing the defect until he subsided harmlessly against the bank on the second bend, and was removed by a ‘Morris Commercial breakdown van. There followed a succession of fairly violent climbs, and the second bend of the S became almost worse than the first, judging by the antics of some of the cars. Van der Becke retained adequate control
but could not improve his time, while several Bugattis ran a bit wild.
R. J. G. Nash set off in a determined effort to better his time and beat Raymond Mays and came up through the lower corners at a terrific speed. He went into the S too fast, however, and with front wheels hard over went straight for the outer bank. just in time the wheels gripped and the -back came round in a broadside and he went for the inner bank and actually hit it several times as he slid up to the next bend. He kept his foot down, however, and shot round the last corner in rousing slide and as he accelerated the tail slid from side to side as the twin rear wheels failed to transmit all the power, and the Terror” had to acknowledge defeat—till next time !
13. H. Davenport was also taken unawares by the grease and after a broadside Skid hit the bank and came almost to rest, only to shoot away again to the top. One more attempt to increase speed had -failed. Neville Carr Oil his very hot Bugatti
was even more lurid, while Anderson’s thundering 30-98 Vauxhall carved a piece out the bank on its way up. Eccles and Peacock, on Invictas were also wild, in fact broadside skids became the order of the day, and Raymond Mays had no need of further runs as his times still stood.
Moore made fastest time in the T.T. category, but in a hasty moment when getting out some tools his hood, or rather the fabric thereof, had been left in the paddock and someone having pointed this out to the officials they had no option under the rules but to disqualify hint for this award, which therefore %vent to E. R. Ilall’s M.G. Midget.
So ended a wet but interesting afternoon’s sport, with the usual hopes and rumours as to what will be produced for the next climb.
17p To 850 C.C.
Racing.I, E. R. Hall (M.G. Midget. S.), 56 1/5s. ; 2, R. F. Turner (Austin, S.), 65 2/5s.
LSports.—Same as above.
851 c.c. To 1,100 c.c.
Racing.-1, E. G. Sharp (Gnat), 51 1-5s. ; 2, E. J. Moor (Wasp II), 52 4-5s.
Sports.-1, T. B. Wood (Riley), 58 2-5s. ; 2, R. J. Beattie Seaman (Riley) , 78 2-5s.
1,101 c.c. To 1,500 c.c.
Racing.-1, R. J. G. Nash (FrazerNash, S.), 47 3-5s, ; 2. A. W. Van der 13eeke (Becke Special, S.), 48 2-5s. ; 3, B. II. Davenport (Spider), 49 1-5s.
Sports.-1, H. Kidston (Frazer-Nash, • S.), 52 1-5s. ; 2, T. H. Wisdom (FrazerNash, S.), and T. G. Moore (Frazer-Nash, S.), 54s.
1,501 C.C. TO 2,000 c.c.
Racing.-1, N. A. Carr (Bugatti, S.), 48 4-5s. ; 2, T. S. Fothringham. (Bugatti), 54 1-5s.
2,001 C.C. TO 3,000 c.c.
Racing.-1, R. Mays (“Villiers Supercl rge) , 46s. (Fastest time of the day.
Sports.-1, A. N. Spottiswoode (Rover), 61 2-5s. ; 2, I. Waller (Alvis), 62s. ; 3,
L. W. de V. Sadleir-Jackson (Bugatti, S.), 64 3-5s. 3,001 c.c. TO 4,5(0 c.c. Racing.-1, R. Mays (Invicta), 50 3-5s. ; 2, A. D. Anderson (Vauxhall), 57 2-5s. Sports.-1, R. Mays (Invicta), 50 3-5s. ;
2, A. H. L. Eccles (Invicta), 54 3-5s.
TEAM EVENT. 1, Bugatti Owners’ Club (F. J. Fielding, 51 4-5s. ; N. A. Carr, 48 4-5s. ; and A. N. Spottiswoode, 50 3-5s.), total, 151 1-5s. ; 2, Sunbac team (B. H. Davenport, Spider, 49 1-5s, ; E. J. Moor, Wasp-, 52 4-5s. ; and E. G. Sharp, Gnat, 51s.), total, 153s. ; 3, R. J. G. Nash’s team (R. J. G. Nash, Frazer-Nash, 47 3-5s. ; T. H. Wisdom,
Frazer-Nash, 54s.; and T. G. Moore, Frazer-Nash, 54s.), total, 155 3-5s.
1, Mrs. T. H. Wisdom (Frazer-Nash, S.), 52s.; 2, Miss R. Northeroft (M.G. Mark II), 67 4-5s.
INTERNATIONAL RACE CUP.
1, B. R. Hall (M.G. Midget, S.), 56 1-5s.
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