The V.S.C.C. Meeting at Prescott
Habershon's Delage Makes F.T.D. in 48.93 sec.
The Vintage Sports-Car Club's meeting at Prescott, by kind sanction of the B.O.C., represents very good value for amateur entrants and this year was run with the usual commendable slickness. Practice brought some non-starters, Landon's Alfa-Romeo losing its gasket, Barnett's Alvis "Speed Twenty" damaging its front end, and Boothby's J.B.M. breaking its layshaft. Clarke's Bugatti "Black Bess," Penn's Riley, Neves 500 c.c. K.N. 500, and Heal's 1922 T.T. Sunbeam, a brake-drum liner adrift, were amongst the absentees.
With Tim Carson winding its starting handle, Mrs. Pomeroy its starting magneto, Laurence Pomeroy's grand "Prince Henry" Vauxhall started up and opened the course with a climb-occupying 72.86 sec., later improved to 72.1 sec. Curtis got busy on his Antone system, which is so effective that, standing a yard from the start when, the Cooper 500 was waiting to leave, we nevertheless could hear the time for the previous competitor from an adjacent loudspeaker. Incidentally, Fred Craner was paying his first visit to Prescott as R.A.C. Steward. He looks to have weathered the war years well, and everyone hopes he will eventually be able to run races at Donington again. Austin Sevens occupied the first class, Jarvis just beating Robbins' "Ulster," with Blackall's "Ulster" 3rd.
Times were slower in the 1,101-2,000 c.c. Vintage Sports-Car Class, which was won by Geoghegan's 1927 Frazer-Nash aided by a 11/2-litre Aston-Martin engine. Another hybrid, Victor Axel-Berg's "12/50" Alvis-engined Riley "Redwing" was second, but on its second run the throttle rod came adrift as Victor pressed mightily on the accelerator, so he jumped out, replaced it, restarted, and clocked 94.74 sec. Smith's Aston-Martin was 3rd, and in this class divers elderly and frequently decrepit "12/50" Alvises pressed on after the special prize for fastest Vintage Alvis, although Knight's old "Brescia" Bugatti tied with the fastest of them. Nattriss' 1926 "12/50" coupé was slow and so was Goodenough's odd Horstman, of which an old-car connoisseur observed that "if it's good enough for Goodenough it's not good enough for me, but he hasn't spoiled the radiator." Of the 2-3-litre vintage sports cars, Wilks' ex-Hebeler Talbot comfortably beat Readings' very-abbreviated Lancia "Lambda," which somehow contrived to possess two outside exhaust pipes. Marsh's Lancia "Lambda," as long as the other was short and endowed with warning bell and comic notices, was a close third, reserve entries being given one run whether there were deficiencies in a class or not — as we have said, a delightfully informal meeting. Fastest of the big vintage sports cars was Baird's 1926 lowered ex-Jackson "30/98 " Vauxhall, a fine car with E-type chassis, O.E. engine, one-piece bonnet and scuttle and long external hand brake, With back axle juddering under the brakes, and tyres flexing, Baird cornered fast, to clock 55.55 sec., against which Neve, hampered by a normal wide-ratio box in the ex-Hughes' 1927 "30/98," couldn't better 58.27 sec. The 1923 "30/98 " of Longuet-Higgins, in spite of protesting tyres, was much slower still, allowing Russell's 1930 4 1/2-litre Bentley, with what looked like the ex-Couper Talbot's body, to take 3rd place, its front tyres needing to be seen to be believed on the curves. Mertens' 1928 4 1/2-litre Bentley was more consistent and only .03 sec. slower.
With the Edwardians, times became distinctly more impressive. Clutton hurled the 1908 Itala up in 56.10 sec., doing his characteristic fast swings round the sharper corners, against which Ewen was only .15 sec. slower. Clark made fastest time up to now in the 1914 Mercédès, in 55.52 sec., improving to 55.32 sec. on his second run, two policemen thoroughly enjoying the spectacle. Abbott's immaculate 1904 Mercédès managed 77.53 sec. and actually won on formula, with the Itala 2nd and Mercédès 3rd. Sam Clutton worked out these results ere the meeting ended (we feel vaguely guilty, for it was a very hot afternoon!).
It was nice to see that hard-trier, Mrs. Whincop, win the 1,100 c.c. Sports Car Class in her red sports Balilla Fiat with 1,100 c.c. Balilla engine, her red outfit matching the car, which carried a terse political notice on its tail, anent the coming motorless regime. Her husband had already sent an even more pungent telegram to No. 10, Downing Street.
To revert to the meeting, Havant's aerodynamic P.A.-M.G. made a good run to get second place, and Marsh's Ford Ten Special, revving excessively, was 3rd. Crook's 328 B.M.W., only .01 sec. difference in his two runs, easily won the 1,101-2,000 c.c. Sports-Car Class, notwithstanding rather tired front brakes, with Uglow's H.R.G. 2nd and Finnemore's Blackburn Frazer-Nash 3rd. Ruddock's Frazer-Nash was 4th and Gehcklen's Riley "Sprite" 5th, Stallebrass' 2-litre "Speed Model" Aston-Martin, in spite of high gearing being a very close 6th.
Leonard Potter spun his Allard at the first corner on his first ascent, but won the over 2-litre Sports-Car Class on his second run, beating Baird's "30/98" Vauxhall and Tipper's open Healey. Bremner's Alfa-Romeo beat Shattock's Atalanta Special and Spindler's AlfaRomeo in the blown sports-car category.
Among the vintage racing cars up to 2-litres Habershon's straight-eight Delage made f.t.d. in 48.93 sec., its soft i.f.s. doing much work. Oliver got his Bugatti off well and approached the first corner really rapidly, to get 2nd place, and Spollen, sliding into the corners and punching in his gears, was 3rd in the Triangle-Special. Blomfield got his Bugatti's cogs mixed, Finch, using a Solex carburetter and an unribbed Amherst Villiers supercharger on his Amilcar Six, seemed cautious, as was Ecroyd, whose rear-braked G.N. chassis (endowed with a genuine "Akela" 4-valve-per-head G.N. engine having two Solex carburetters and twin M.L. magnetos, a 6,000 r.p.m. rev-counter, and 3.25 by 19 covers on G.N. wheels at the front, 4.75 by 17 Pirelli covers at the rear) made beautiful sounds, but only ran once (61.9 sec.). Baird's lowered "30/98 " aforementioned — by reason of its earlier runs — won the vintage racing cars over 2-litres class from the magnificent Itala and Marechal's "Speed Six" Bentley.
Of the "500s," Brandon's Cooper did a rousing 51.43 sec., his best time yet, using plenty of revs., in spite bf a brake-locking incident at the first corner. It then returned to the paddock to have a slipping clutch cured and on its second run hit the bank at the first corner, slightly bending a wheel and damaging its steering gear. Butler's Douglas-powered Stromboli slid straight on, front wheels locked, at the first corner, but recovered to beat Bacon's F.H.B. 500 for second place. The 501-1,100 c.c. Racing-Car Class had been won by Finch's Amilcar before it was run off, for no one could better his time, made in the vintage category. The Emeryson, sounding over-geared, was 2nd and Tooley's Riley-G.N. 3rd. Lomax took 99.38 sec. on his first run, in an M.G. that looks to be a Q-type with R-type tail, through losing airp-ressure and was slow thereafter, while Rivers Fletcher's M.G. also misbehaved. The next class was the preserve of Habershon and Spollon, with Crook's B.M.W. 3rd, for Douglas Osborn cornered carefully in the ex-Cutler Frazer-Nash. The over 2,000 c.c. Racing-Car Class saw Stubberfield's Type 35B Bugatti with shortened exhaust system beat Lloyd-Jones' twin-rear-wheeled Triangle-Skinner, in spite of the latter's immense get-away in clouds of rubber dust. Oliver's 2-litre Bugatti was 3rd, the P.B.N. being considerably slower. That concluded an excellent day's sport. The usual interesting spectators' cars were noted, including a sports Darracq, "Hyper" Lea-Francis 2-seater, early "14/40" Sunbeam and Humber and an astonishing left-drive 7.5 h.p. Citroen fabric-saloon. Results: —
Vintage Sports Cars up to 1,100 c.c. and Vintage Racing Cars up to 750 c.c.: 1st, K. Jarvis (Austin), 57.57 sec.; 2nd, L. Robbins (Austin), 57.97 sec.
Vintage Sports Cars, 1,101-2,000 c.c.: 1st, M. Geoghegan (Frazer-Nash), 58.79 sec.; 2nd, V. Axel-Berg (Riley Special), 59.70 sec.; 3rd, D. Smith (Aston-Martin), 61.82 sec.
Vintage Sports Cars, 2,001-3,000 c.c.: 1st, P. Wilks (Talbot), 57.34 sec.; 2nd, J. Readings (Lancia), 61.01 Sec.; 3rd, J. Marsh (Lancia), 61.42 sec.
Vintage Sports Cars Over 3,000 c.c.:1st, G. Baird (Vauxhall), 55.55 sec.; 2nd, K. Neve (Vauxhall), 58.27 sec.; 3rd, P. Russell (Bentley), 60.04 sec.
Edwardian Cars (on Formula): 1st, C. Abbott (1904 Mercédes), 248 points; 2nd, C. Clutton (1908 Itala), 298 points; 3rd, P. Clark (1914 Mercédes), 304 points.
Sports Cars up to 1,100 c.c.: 1st, Mrs. Whincop (Fiat), 62.70 sec.; 2nd, N. Havant (M.G.), 63.45 sec. ; 3rd, W. Marsh (Ford Special), 67.43 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,101-2,000 c.c.: 1st, T. Crook (B.M.W.), 52.47 sec.; 2nd, W. Uglow (H.R.G.), 53.82 sec.; 3rd, M. Finnemore (Frazer-Nash), 57.37 sec.
Sports Cars Over 2,000 c.c.: 1st, L. Potter (Allard), 55.13 sec.; 2nd, G. Baird (Vauxhall), 55.55 sec.; 3rd, C. Tipper (Healey), 60.45 sec.
Supercharged Sports Cars: 1st, J. Bremner (Alfa-Romeo), 55.75 sec.; 2nd, R. Shattock (Atalanta-Special), 56.63 sec.; 3rd, J. Spindler (Alfa-Romeo), 57.75 .sec.
Vintage Racing Cars, 751-2,000 c.o.: 1st, R. Habershon (Delage), 48.93 sec.; 2nd, R. Oliver (Bugatti), 50.32 sec.; 3rd, B. Spollon (Triangle Special) 50.60 sec.
Vintage Rading Cars Over 2,000 c.c. 1st, G. Baird (Vauxhall), 55.55 sec.; 2nd, C. Clutton (Itala), 56.10 sec.; 3rd, P. Marechal (Bentley), 57.35 sec.
Racing Cars up to 500 c.c.: 1st, E. Brandon (Cooper 500), 51.43 sec.; 2nd, A. Butler (Stromboli), 55.23 sec.
Racing Cars 501-1,100 c.c.: 1st, O. Finch (Amilcar) 54.95 sec.; 2nd, P. Emery (Emeryson Special), 55.13 sec.; 3rd, C. Tooley (Riley G.N. Special), 56.17 sec.
Racing Cars, 1,101-2,000 c.c.: 1st, R. Habershon (Delage), 48.93 sec.; 2nd, B. Spollon (TriangleSpecial), 50.60 sec.; 3rd, T. Crook (B.M.W.), 52.47 sec.
Racing Cars Over 2,000 c.c.: 1st, P. Stubberfield (Bugatti), 49.87 sec.; 2nd, E. Lloyd-Jones (Triangle-Skinner Special), 50.01 sec.; 3rd, R. Oliver (Bugatti), 50.32 sec.
Fastest Time of Day and Fastest Vintage Cars Awards: Habershon (Delage), 48.93 sec.
Fastest Ladies' Time: Mrs. Whincop (Fiat),62.70 sec.
Fastest Bugatti: P. Stubberfield (Type 35B), 49.87 sec.
Fastest Vintage Alvis: E. Buck (1929 "12/50"), 64.58 sec.
5I Sec. and Under: Habershon, 48.93 sec., Stubberfield, 49.87; Lloyd-Jones, 50.01 sec.; Oliver, 50.32 sec.; Spollon, 50.60 sec.
Steyr Allard beats Mays' E.R.A. at Craigantlet. Bad Conditions Result in Slow Times.
The International Speed Hill Climb at Craigantlet, counting as it did towards the British Hill-Climb Championship, attracted Mays, Allard, Abecassis, Bear and Hutchison. Unfortunately, the sun melted the tar on the road surface and reduced this normally fine speed hillclimb venue into something closely resembling a trials activity. Some of the lower-powered cars did actually fail to get up and Raymond Mays told us that, after his 2-litre E.R.A. had turned round on its second ascent, he got out and quite easily pushed the tail of the car across the slippery road by hand; he could, he said, have done with 200 h.p. less. His first run occupied 1 min. 27.2 sec. Abecassis' Bugatti took 1 min. 34 sec. and Sydney Allard's Steyr-Allard, which sprint spectators now await as they do John Bolster's "Bloody Mary," clocked 1 min. 27.8 sec. Bear spun his Bugatti round in starting, and Hutchison was cautious in the Alfa-Romeo in 1 min. 37.8 sec.
On their second runs Mays spun round, Abecassis clocked 1 min. 29.6 sec., Hutchison got up in 1 min. 33.2 sec., and Bear went very fast until be crashed badly, almost at the top of the hill. He was thrown out of the car, which afterwards ran over him at low speed, and he was detained in hospital with facial injuries and suspected concussion. Out of all this bother, the result of the melted tar, Sydney Allard in the Steyr-Allard gave a really grand exhibition, holding slides all the way to the summit, to beat Mays by 1/5th sec., clocking f.t.d. in 1 min. 27 sec. Allard won the Dunlop Trophy for this fine drive. Peter Monkhouse, driving a "K3" M.G., also drove splendidly, clocking 1 min. 32.2 sec., fourth fastest time of the day and winner of the 1,100-c.c. class. Other class winners were Lindsay's sports Ford, Smyth's sports Ford, Mays' Allard and, on handicap, Cox's M.G. Thus Bert Hadley's Austin record of 1 min. 21.4 sec. is intact, although in practice, before the sun shone so fiercely, Allard, driving the Steyr-Allard, got within one second of it, beating Mays' best practice time by a second. Imhof qualified in Braid's Allard but drove his own car later. The three fastest cars used Lodge plugs.