BRITISH SUCCESSES IN THE ALPINE TRIAL
BRITISH SUCCESSES IN THE ALPINE TRIAL TALBOTS AND TRIUMPHS WIN ALPINE CUPS FOR TEAM PERFORMANCES. GLACIER CUPS WON BY TRIUMPH, SINGER, FRAZER NASH, ASTON MARTIN, STANDARD AVON, M.G., AND RAILTON TERRAPLANE.
ALTHOUGH the expense of transport to the Alps is much greater from England than from other European countries, British team entries in the Alpine Trial numbered 6, against the combined 13 of France and Germany. These consisted of Talbot ” 105 “s driven
by W. M. Couper, H. S. Eaton and Mr. and Mrs. Wisdom ; Triumph “Southern Crosses” handled by Lt.-Col. Holbrook,
J. Ridley and V. Leverett ; SS.1. open cars in the hands of C. Needham, P.
Clease and S. H. Light ; Rileys driven by C. Riley, A. Farrar and F. C. Griffiths ; Frazer Nashes piloted by L. B. Henderson, A Marshall and H. Mitchell-Thompson ; and Singers driven by W. J. B. Richardson, A. B. Langley and H. M. Avery. As for the individual entries, there were 28 British drivers compared with 70 from the Continent. As usual the competitors all had adventures of sorts en route to Nice, the starting point. Probably the most amusing was the one involving the Singer and Talbot teams. The Singers were in front, and ran into a flock of chickens
at high speed. Suspecting that some more competitors would be along soon, the infuriated owners placed the corpses on a bench, ready to hand, and when the Talbot drivers appeared they were literally bombarded by the dead birds ! Most people went South via Rheims and Grenoble, and some went to the Galibier Pass
for a trial run. This climb was to be timed on the first day, and thoroughly frightened most drivers when they found that they could only just do it within the specified time.
The road was in a very bad state, owing to heavy rains, a state of affairs which would favour the large cars. As it turned out, however, there was no need to worry for the weather grew still worse and the Col du Galibier was cut out of the route. The cars were taken away from the competitors on Monday morning for sealing and scrutineering. In order to stop any possible tampering with the seals a special type of yellow paint was
used, containing some ingredient which turned its colour when wiped with a petrol rag. No one knew this, of course, and woebetide the competitor who dared to paint the seals once more with ordinary yellow paint ! The start was given on Tuesday morning, August 7th, at the early hour of 5 a.m. The big machines went first, the Fords and Delahayes, followed by the individual entries in the unlimited class. After them came the teams of Talbot, S.S, and Adler-Diplomats, and the rest of the 175 cars in order of size. Following a good main road, on which the Dutch drivers of Ford V8’s did their best to give the atmosphere of a race, the Col de la Cayolle was reached, a long ascent over rough roads which did not cause any bother to the English competitors. Soon after came the Col du Vars, not too difficult, and a time check at a place called Guil
lestre. At the foot of the Col du Vars, Van der Meulen had to withdraw his Ford with gear-box trouble, thus putting the Ford team out of the running.
The Col cilzsard is an extremely stiff ascent, reaching the highest altitude on the day’s run, and trying the drivers to the full. Two competitors had a nasty time here, in both cases the cause being fire. M. Amband’s V8 Ford and the Hotchkiss of that wellknown driver, Dr. Sprenger van Eyk, both being badly burnt. All the English drivers were keeping well up to schedule and experiencing no trouble at all. Especially impressive were the Talbots, their pre-selecting gear-boxes being of great assistance on the Passes.
After Briancon a deviation was made from the original route in order to avoid the Gabbier. The new course took in the Glandon Pass, which was more difficult to descend than to climb. The Ford driver Patzold was taken unawares on a corner and dashed down a precipice, without injuring himself. At the foot of the Pass a good level road brought the weary competitors to Aix les Minis; the stopping place for the night. On this road any competitors who had lost time had a change of making it up, but H. Carr (Austin ” 65 “) lost 45 marks during the day and Mrs. Needham (Frazer Nash) one mark, through being one minute late.
MARKS LOST ON FIRST DAY.
The following lost marks :—P. Glernm (Ford V8), 15 marks ; Mme. Potet-Sajoux (Delahaye), 14 marks ; J. Machat (Citroen), 1 mark ; Mrs. A. Needham (Frazer Nash), 1 mark ; H. Carr (Austin), 46. At Aix les Bains there were a good many English ” friends” to welcome. the competitors, among them being Georges Roesch, the Talbot designer, at the wheel of a very special now model which he was testing under Continental conditions. For most Of the competitors a bath,
change and dinner was followed by bed, for another 12 hours of strenuous motoring had to be faced at 8 o’clock.
Leaving the park in the Place Clemen.ceau, the route took the cars back on the same road by which they had approached Aix, and so to the Little St. Bernard Pass. No trouble was reported here, though P. Glerum (Ford V8) had been disqualified for receiving outside assistance in starting the engine of his car. At the top of the ascent was the Italian frontier, and passports were stamped in record time. In Italy the automobile ranks as a “sacred animal,” and encouragement to still greater speeds was given by the Fascists who waved the cars round blind corners.
Then came a Stiffer obstacle, the Great St. Bernard, on which the small cars both from 13ritain and Germany showed up remarkably well. The Swiss frontier was at the top of the Pass, and here again everything was done to facilitate the passage of the competitors. The worst of the day was now over, and as a whole this second stage was the least strenuous and more enjoyable than any other. The scenery on the way down to Interlaken was magnificent, and the Col du Pillon caused no one a moment’s trouble. The English cars had fared very well
during the day, but H. Mitchell-Thompson of the Frazer Nash team had lost 4 marks, thus giving the B.M.W.s an advantage in Group Four. The Dutch Ford team were cheerfully carrying on in spite of losing marks at the rate of 100 per day owing toVan der Meulen’s retirement, and of the ether teams all were intact except Adler-Trumpf Junior, who had lost 102 points through being late and taking on water. In the individual classes the only English competitor to lose marks was Miss Margaret Allan, who Was penalised 10 for breaking the seal of the radiator of her Lancia Lambda. The other competitors had not been without adventures, however ; Light going off the road with his S.S. and striking one of those large stones which line the roadside in the Alps ; Tongue having had no less than four punctures on his Le Mans Singer: and Marshall (Frazer Nash) having to refill his sump constantly Owing to a nasty leak. The Dutch Ford drivers continued their wild progress, undeterred by the previous fate Of some of their companions. This time Bakker Shute’s car, driven by the spare driver.
was overturned near Interlaken, nearly causing disaster to the Delahaye team. The latter manhandled the Ford back to its proper level and the Dutchmen continued with the journey to Interlaken.
MARKS LOST DURING THE SECOND DAY. Teams : Dutch Ford V-8, 200; Frazer Nash, 4; Adler Trumpf Junior, 102.
Individuals: Tausberger (Mathis), 27; Mine. Potet-Sajoux (Delahaye), 33 (total 47) ; Machat (Citroen), 1; H. Mitchell-Thompson (Frazer Nash), 4; Krotimuller (Adler), 37; Widenmann (Adler), 65; Miss M. Allan (Lancia-Lambda), 10.
The morning of the third day was cold and damp, many competitors fearing that their cars would not prove too easy to start. H. M. Avery had the bad luck to break the front-bearing of his startermotor, which cost the Singer team 5 marks. The weather grew worse as the Grimsel Pass was approached, the dark mist necessitating the use of side lamps. No sooner was the Grimsel passed than the Furka had to be attacked, but the only difficulty here was in giving room to the huge post-buses. Rain was falling at Disentis, and showers turned to heavy rain over the Bernardine and Spengen Passes. The former was very tiring, with innumerable acute hairpins. Trouble was becoming more frequent, The Fords had their usual mishaps. Magnus being the first to suffer with a
broken back axle. Wielemann’s trouble was more serious, however, for he met another car head-on coming down the Remardino and wrote off the front of his car, to say nothing of the opposing vehicle. One of the Adler drivers had a distinct ” moment” when he put his wheels Over the edge of a precipice, but a conveniently placed rock saved him from destruction.
The team position was now not so good from the British point of view, for in addition to the Singer loss of marks, the Riley’s had been penalised 67 marks through Farrar being late and filling up with water. The Wanderers, Opels and Adlers had lost no marks at all, so that the Riley chances of an Alpine Cup were fairly remote. The Talbots and S.S. team were holding their own against the Milers, but Frazer Nashes were still 4 marks down to the efficient little B.M.W’s. In the smallest class the Triumphs, were still without loss of marks, but Singers had lost 5. The small Adlers on the other hand, had lost 102.
MARKS LOST ON THIRD DAY.
The following competitors lost marks :—Teams :
Group I.—Dutch Ford V-8 Team : 100 (total, 300). Group 111.—Riley Team : U. Individuals : Leonboldt (N.A.G.) : 54; Miss M. Allan (Lucia): 6 ( total, 18); A. Farrar (Riley) : 07. Machat (Citroen): 23. The competitors woke up the next morning with the distinct sensation that The Day had arrived, for the dreaded Stelvio Pass had to be tackled—and timed into the bargain. Not only that, but there was a speed test to follow, held on an Autostrada near Venice, and the day’s run amounted to 343 miles. Girding their loins quite cheerfully, the competitors left the hospitable Grand Hotel, at St. Moritz, and were soon across the Italian frontier. Then the Stelvio came in sight, a zig-zag ribbon of road with 48 hairpin bends to be negotiated. The official times taken by competitors on the Stelvio are not to hand, but judging by appearance, the Fords„kdlers, Hotchkiss, Delahayes and Talbots were all much about the same. Possibly the Talbots were the fastest of the lot, their selfchanging gearboxes giving the drivers every assistance. Wisdom and Eaton were -the fastest in 22 mins. 50 secs., and all three beat Brian Lewis’s time of two years ago. The Railton Terraplanes both had to reverse on some of the bends, but so great was their acceleration that they easily maintained the requisite average speed. Nortier’s Ford bore signs of hectic cornering at the beginning of the climb in the form of a torn-off tyre. The S.S. team now began to show signs of wear, and all lost marks, Needham 7, Clease 11, and Light 18. On the other hand the German Wanderers and Opels were going just as well as ever, and the Riley team were fast. Some of the individual Rileys however, were in a bad shape. The same thing. applied to the Singers, the team losing no marks at all, while both Tongue and Mrs. Petre had trouble. The latter rammed the rock walls, and had difficulty in reaching Venice. The Triumphs made a model team ascent, and Don Healey Was as good as usual. There were two outstanding climbs made by M.G. drivers. Humphrey Symons was first-class on an “
N” type Magnette, and Leslie Seyd brought up his blown Midget in 25 mins. 26 secs., the fastest time in the 1,100 c.c. class. The Frazer Nashes were all splendid, with ” Aldy ” making a good climb as an individual in spite of misfiring. None of the team lost marks. The most amusing story of the Stelvio was that attributed to A. E. Delbell, driving a 41-litre Lagonda.
He exceeded his time allowance, and gave as a reason that he could not find the Stelvio ! He motored along, expecting to find it quite soon, and finally decided to stop and let the engine cool down, as he thought he must be approaching it. He got going again, and round the next corner found the finishing point ! Well, well ! After the Stelvio, a few minor passes led the competitors by easy roads to Padua, the only annoyance being dust. Hereabouts, S. H. Light went off the read Once more with his S.S. and this time damaged the car so badly that he could not continue, thereby putting paid to the S.S. hopes of an Alpine Cup. On the Autostrada from Padua to Venice the cars underwent a. speed test over a 10 kilometre section. Most Of the cars had no difficulty in attaining the requisite speed, but three English cars had lost their time and failed to qualify. Both D. Clease and F. W. Morgan, on S.S. cars, could not attain the necessary 68 m.h.p., and consequently were penalised. The other defaulter was H. Carr (Austin Seven). Foreign failures were M. Vial (Hotchkiss), Dr. Pfitzner (Tatra), and Graf von Westerholt (Adler Triumpf). The unofficial fastest time was made by Trevoux on a Hotchkiss. The three
Talbots, were wonderfully impressive, averaging over 80 m.p.h. in line ahead formation.
At Venice, the cars were parked in a huge garage, and the competitors proceeded to their hotels by means of gondolas, than which a greater contrast cannot be found to the jolting and jarring of rough mountain roads on a small sports car. The day had been an important one for many teams and individuals. The Ford • team had so far, lost 400 marks, being four days without Van der Meulen, the third member of the team. Deiahayes had lost 100, awing to Perrot returning on the Stelvio. The Talbo-ts were still 100 per cent., but the S.S. team Were 154 marks down, owing to Light’s crash. The Adlers, Opels and one team of Wanderers were all free from penalty, as were the R.M.W’s, which still led the Frazer Nashes by 4 marks. The Singers score of 5 marks was the same, Adler Juniors were still 100 marks to the bad, while the Triumphs were all free from penalization, and had great hopes. of winning an Alpine Cup. The retirements of the day were as follow : Perrot (Delahaye), LeonhOldt (N.A.G.), Magnus (Ford),
Negrel (Renault). Rea 1 (Renault), Falmbige (Bilotti), Light (S.S.), Miss Allan (Lancia), Graumuller (Wanderer), and Mrs. Petre (Singer).
The first car had to leave Venice at 5 a.m. the next morning, and this early hour proved too much for some of those who had chosen to see Venice the night before. Norman Black and Reuben Harveyson, the drivers of an S.S.11, failed to answer the roll call and did not start. It was a bad day, the mileage being 290 miles over (lusty and badly surfaced roads. Soon after leaving Venice, some of the competitors were not a little :alarmed to hear the unmistakable whine of shells, and to see great jets of water being thrown up out at sea. Actually the shells were being fired from emplacements up in the hills at targets out at sea, and passed over the heads of the competitors. The Italian roads toTrieste and Fiume, were straight and flat, but once over the Yugo-Slavian border and a very different tale was told. Great clouds of dust followed each car, and all the way to Zagreb the drivers had a most unpleasant journey. The country was .absolutely
-desolate, and someone was clapped into a local prison for having run over a policeman and a child. The Talbot team found a man selling luscious watermelons, but had no dinars with which to buy some. After much haggling it was found that one Players cigarette could be exchanged for half a melon. Although lacking in mountainous ascents the day took its toll of marks and retirements. Beck Calkeen, of the Ford team, lost 12 marks through being delayed with electrical troubles, and an Essex Terraplane driven by the Swiss Philiporrian fell out with a broken axle. Lye’s Talbot retired with a run big-end, Dr. Kharnlsotto (Lancia Augusta) was disqualified for receiving assistance, Dreir’s Alfa-Romeo failed to check in, and Miss Patten’s Alvis developed a chronic form of petrol starvation. At Zagiel the last straw came when great difficulty was experienced by a group of competitors. in obtaining access to their hotel accommodation, the unwilling hotel-keepers finally capitulating under threats of being reported to the British Consul.
The last day’s run from Zagreb to Munich was the longest of the whole trial, a distance of nearly 400 Miles having to be covered over the most terrible roads. The inevitable (hist. of YugoSlavia continued until the Austrian frontier was reached, and the flasks of brandy presented to each competitor by Austrian representatives of the Vacuum Oil Company came as an absolute God-send. Then a deluge of rain fell, and the weary drivers found the wild Turracher Höhe in an appalling condition. The surface was rough and slippery, and many competitors teak a very long time to make the grade. There were many baulks, and passing cars became ditched. This climb marked one of the worst pieces of luck which befell any competitor when Leslie Seyd sheared the back axle of his supercharged M.G. Midget when only .200 miles from the finish. He abandoned his car and was picked up by the official vehicle which tailed the procession. The crew of this car had been on the road without stopping for two days, so Seyd drove them into Munich, arriving there at 5.30 the next morning.
The time check at Wurzenpatz nearly caused heart failure to many competitors. After frantic enquiries it was found that a mistake had been made and that it was 29 kilometres further than the place shown on the route cards. The result was that the big Adlers were 12 minutes late and Couper had last 8 marks on behalf of the Talbot Team. The three British cars had filled up at a garage, but whereas Eaton and Wisdom got full tanks and departed, Coupe!’ was informed that he would have to fill his car from a lorry. In the ensiling rush to make up time he took a wrong turning down hill and nearly met disaster, but he made up time and was only 8 minutes late. Lots of people were late, so the officials decided to refund marks to all who had been penalised by the misplaced check. The German frontier waadecorated with huge banners welcoming the competitors to Germany, and Nazis with outstretched arms lined roads. The Germans treated the trial as a race, and all traffic was
stopped, which was a good thing for many competitors who had to make up time on this last stretch. Arrived at Munich the dog-tired drivers went to their hotels and slept solidly for 16 hours or more. At the official reception afterwards some suggetions were made as to next years trial by Obergreppenffihren Hiihulein. Chief of these was the idea of a rest-day in the middle of the trial, as used to be arranged two years ago. This would be welcomed by most people, as the complete exhaustion of the last day has little to recommend it, The other suggestion was that an official lunch stop should be scheduled every day, but this idea is not so good. Most drivers prefer to get the day’s work over as soon as possible, and to take their luncheon in the time made up on the schedule.
The results make interesting reading, for they show that it is indeed a praiseworthy achievement to gain an Alpine Cup with three cars, and a first-class feat to gain a Glacier Cup as an individual. Of the English teams, the three ” 105 ” Talbots and the three ” Southern Cross” Triumphs deserve the highest possible praise in maintaining a clean score for the whole distance. The cars were well prepared and intelligently handled by Mr. and Mrs. Wisdom, H. S. Eaton and W. M. Couper in the first case, and by Lt.-Col. Holbrook, J. Ridley and V. Leverett in the second. Accessories and equipment play a large part in the Alpine Trial, and it is
worth noting that the Talbots used Esso fuel, Vacuum Oil, Zenith carburetters, Dunlop tyres, Champion plugs, Jaeger instruments and Duron brake linings.
Group 1. Over 3,000 c.c.-Teams.
1. Delahaye (Drivers : Perrot, Dhom and Girod), 2,700 points, winning the International Alpine Cup.
2. Ford (Drivers : van der Meulen, van Beeck Calkoen and Bakker Schut), 2,388 points, whining the Silver-gilt Plaque of the International Alpine Trial. Individuals.
Glacier Cups (1,000 points retained).-R. L. Richardson (Railton Terraplane), E. Mutsaerts (Ford V8), A. P. Van Strien (Ford V8), N. Fiisette (Ford V8), S. D. Posthumus (Ford V8), B. Neamtu (Ford V8), R. Getac (Ford V8), M. Trevoux (Hotchkiss), v. Biro (Bugatti), M. G. Descollas (Bugatti), Mme. L. Schell (Delahaye), H. J. Davids (Railton Terraplane).
Silver-gilt Glacier Plaques.-A. Dobell (Lagonda 44-litre), 997 points ; P. L. Nortier (Ford V8), 991 points.
Group 2. 2,000 c.c. to 3,000 c.c.-Teams.
I. Talbot (Drivers : Wisdom, Eaton and Couper) and Adler-Diplomat (Drivers : Wimmer, Gehrrnann and Hoffmann), 3,000 points, both winningInternational Alpine Cups.
2. S. S. (Drivers : Needham, Clease and Light), 2,630 points, winning the Silver-gilt Plaque of the International Alpine Trial.
Glacier Cup (1,000 points retained).-M. Carri’re (Hotchkiss).
Silver-gilt Glacier Plaque.-M. Vial (Hotchkiss), 999 points ; M. E. Legre (Panhard), 995 points ; F. W. Morgan (S.S.), 978 points ; R. Fischer (AlfaRomeo), 978 points.
Group 3. 1,500 c.c. to 2,000 c.c.-Teams.
1. Wanderer (Drivers : Sandizell, Triibsbach and Kramer), Opel (Drivers : Diehl, Bliim and Trainer), and Adler-Trumpf (Drivers : v. Guilleaume, Hasse and Ulu), 3,000 points, all winning International Alpine Cups.
2. Riley (Drivers : Riley, Farrar and Griffiths), 2,933 points, winning Silver-gilt Plaque of the International Alpine Trial.
3. Wanderer (1)rivers: Grain:nailer, Hinterleitner and Bau), .2,700 points, winning Silver Plaque of the International Alpine Trial.
Glacier Cups (1,000 points retained).-Frl. E. Frisch (Opel), W. Engesser (Opel), Fohr. v. Goldegg (AlfaRomeo), R. Sauerwein (Adler-Trumpf), W. Delmar lAdler-Super-Trumpl).
Silver-gRt Glacier Plaques.-v. Guilleaume (Opel), 992 points ; Miss D. C. N. Champney (Riley), 990 points ; Graf. v. Westerholt (Adler-Trumpf), 984 points ; Lecot (Citron), 968 points ; Dr. Pfitzner (Tatra), 968 points. Group 4. 1,100 c.c. to 1,600 c.c.-Mains, 1. B.M.W. (1)rivers: Brenner, Kandt and v. Delius), 3,000 points, winning the International Alpine Cup,
2. Frazer Nash (Drivers : Butler-Henderson, Marshall and Mitchell-Thomson), 2986 points, winning the Silver-gilt Plaque of the International Alpine Trial.
Glacier Cups (1,000 points retained).-A. v. Mumm (Rbler), H. J. Aldington (Frazer Nash), J. Tweedale (Frazer Nash), J. Cadbury (Aston Martin), T. Clarke (Aston Martin), Graf Spiegel-Diesenberg (B.M.W.), A. Gutknecht (B.M.W.), Fran L. Roehrs (B.M.W.), Graf. P. Orsich (Standard Avon), 111. E. Symons (M.G. Magnette), Capt. 0. H. Frost (Lancia).
Silver-gilt Glacier Plaque.-Mrs. A. Needham (Frazer Nash), 999 points.
Group 6. Up to 1,100 c.c. -Teams.
1. Triumph (Drivers Leverett, Ridley and Holbrook), 3,000 points, winning the International Alpine Cup.
2. Singer (Drivers : Richardson, Langley and Avery), 2,972 points, winning the Silver-gilt Plaque of the International Alpine Trial.
3. Adler-TrumpfJun (Drivers : Bahr, Kronmiiller and Wideninami), 2,590 points winning the Silver Plaque of the International Alpine Trial.
Glacier Cups (1,00(1 points retained).-M. A. Newnham (Triumph), D. M. Healey (Triumph), P. Schweder (Adler-TrumpfJun), R. P. Gardner (Singer), F. S. Barnes (Singer), J. Connell (Singer).
Silver-gilt Plaques.-v. Formanek (Aero), 996 points ; A. G. R. Alexander (Riley), 985 points ; V. 13ranck (D.K.W.), 983 points ; H. Melfort (D.K.W.), 988 points ; R. E. Tongue (Singer), 973 points.
Silver Gluier Plaques.-G. Macher (D.K.W.), 689 points ; E. A. C. Cornelius (D.K.W.), 953 points; H. Carr (Austin), 941 marks.