CLUB NEWS, September 1936
NORTH-WEST LONDON M.C.
The third annual Inter-Club Team ‘Trial will be contested on Saturday, October 3rd, and the route will embrace Somerset and N. Devon. The character -of the previous trials will be retained, but apart from Cara& Lane all the hills will be new. Entry fee for one team is
Ss., or £4 for two teams, and the event is open to any recognised motor club, each club being allowed to enter one or two teams, of three or four members, though if the team comprises four cars the performance of the best three only will count for awards. This is a most important fixture. Clerk of the Course : T. W. Dargue, 28, The Broadway, :Stratford, E.15.
THE LIGHT CAR CLUB The
The Buxton-Buxton trial will be held on October 4th, a Sunday, and is open to members of the L.C.C., Prazer-Nash ‘C.C., M.G. C.C., N.W. London M.C., Great West M.C. and ” Sunbac,” driving four-wheeled cars of up to 11-1itres capacity. The trial will be contested in -classes (a) cars with standard tyres and differentials ; (b) cars with competition tyres or solid axles ; (c) cars with competition tyres and solid axles. The course will be about seventy miles in length and Eyam Bank, Jenkins’ Chapel, Cowdale and Cowlow may figure as observed hills. ‘The first car will leave the Savoy Hotel, Buxton, at 9.01 a.m. The time allowance for the course will be four hours and no checks of any kind will worry navigators, as none will be included. One hundred marks will be given at the start and marks deducted as the trial proceeds, an interesting feature being a penalty of three marks for ” bouncing “—either by driver or passenger. A driving test and re-start test will be incorporated. The awards include a purse of L5 5s., for best performance, tankards, ash-trays and souvenirs, and the Martin Challenge ‘Cup for L.C.C. members. Entries close
on September 28th, first post. Fees : L.C.C. members 10/0; others. 12/6; teams 7/6. This trial should receive warm support. Marshals and observers are needed. Details from : J. E. S. Jones, 22, Basinghall Street, London, 1!;.C.2.
BUGATTI OWNERS’ CLUB
The Lewes Speed Trials were held on August 22nd, and a good meeting resulted, though it seemed unjust that Southsea should have its sprint meeting on the same day, in view of the fact that the B.O.C. is one of the clubs -which applies for its permits at the beginning of the season. An innovation was a class for pre-1915 cars, which attracted a 1908 Renault, the 5-litre chain-driven Bugatti “Black Bess” and Cecil Clutton’s 12-litre 1908 four-seater Itala. Bugatti cars were well to the fore, Ogle’s Brescia winning its class, K. W. Bear’s special bored-out .8-litre performing as well as usual, and in the racing-classes A. G. Bainton’s
blown 2.3-litre G.P. clocked 20.7 secs., fastest run of the day. Arthur Baron’s Brescia-engined G.P. managed 23 secs., and Lemon-Burton’s twin-cam blown 2.3-litre G.P. took 22 secs. in spite of troubles. A. H. L. Eccles experienced maladies with a blown 3.8-litre Bugatti, though it somewhat recovered on its second rim. Other Bugatti drivers included Col. G. M. Giles (twin-cam 3.3-litre sports) 27.8 secs., J. W. K. Baines (blown 2.8litre sports) 25.8 sees., and Eric Giles (1913 5-litre) 32.2 secs. Clutton also brought a 30/98 Vauxhall, Esson-Scott drove a Ford V-8, Stapleton an AstonMartin, and Granville Grenfell a very
rapid Rapier. Several other Bugattis were present.
RESULTS Veterans : C. Clutton 28.$8.
Veterans : C. Clutton (Italia) 28.$8.
11-litre-8-litre touring cars: E. W. Bass (Alvis) 29.4s.
Sports-cars up to li-litres : J. Ogle (Brescia Bugatti) 27s.
Sports-cars of 1j-litres—-3-litres: J. K. W. Baines (Bugatti) 25.88.
Sports-cars over 3-litres : K. W. Bear (Bugatti) 27.2s.
Racing-cars up to 11-litres: A. Baron (Bugatti) 23s.
lb-litre—S-litre Racing-oars: A. (1. Bainton (Bugatti) 20.7s.
Racing-cars over 3-litres : A. H. L. Eccles (Bugatti) 25.6s.
Handicap Class : J. K. May (M.G.) 33.4s.-15s. Novices Class : E. C. W. Stapleton (Aston-Martin) 30.6s.
Bachelor Cup for fastest time by member driving sports Bugatti: J. K. W. Baines.
Brescia Cup : J. Ogle.
Percy Fawcett Challenge Cup for fastest run by member with Bugatti : A. G. Bainton.
The next event is the rally and trial in Wales, on October 25th. Another issue of the eagerly awaited ” Bugantics ” will be circulated early in September and it will contain some interesting material, including an outspoken discourse on roadtest reports.
Hon Sec. Eric Giles, 2, Queen Street, Mayfair, W.1. Mayfair 4701.
The annual High Speed Trials will be held at Brooklands on September 26th, which date unfortunately clashes with that of the Brighton Speed Trials, where a motor is, perhaps, likely to come to less harm and where cash prizes are offered. However, the M.C.C. events always attract good entries and some bright mortals will doubtless manage, as last year, to run in the morning high-speed trial and at Brighton in the afternoon. The speed trials are of one-hour duration, around the outer-circuit with no corners, and the Talbot and Bentley drivers are known to be out for an average of over 100 m.p.h. which was just missed in 1935. Actually, the set average speeds are :—Premier Awards : 850 c.c. and tri-cars, 60.87 m.p.h.; 1,100 c.c., 66.40 m.p.h.; 1f and 2-litre, 71.92 m.p.h. ; unlimited, 74.68 m.p.h. Blown cars an extra two laps in each instance. 1,100 c.c. touring cars, 49.80 m.p.h.; 1,100-1,600 c.c. touring cars, 55.34 m.p.h. Some blow-ups should result. The first one-hour run starts
at 10.30 a.m. and the second at 3.30 p.m., and, seriously, both are really excellent events. There is a full supporting programme of motor-cycle high-speed trials, oneand two-lap handicap and three-lap relay handicap. All entrants must join the M.C.C. before September 5th and entries close on September 14th, at 30/for the highspeed trial, 10/per team for the relay
and 5/for the handicap races. Full details from —J. A. Masters, 22, Norland Square, London, W.11.
VINTAGE SPORTS C.C. The formula for the cars in
The formula for the pre-war cars in speed trials, evolved by Cecil Clutton, is gradually being perfected. Invitations are being received to other club’s events, notably Bugatti 0.C., Southsea and Bentley 0.D.C., and some
veterans accordingly ran at Lewes. If a course is available speed trials will be run by the club on October 10th.
New members include R. G. J. Nash, who may run the 15-litre Lorraine “Vieux Charles Trois ” in sprint events next season, and Cecil Burney, who is now mining a 1927 Bentley and also owns an 1898 Benz and 1899 New Orleans.
Another amusing and instructive bulletin about vintage motors has been issued, and a” printed sheet of nonsense” has been prepared for dispatch to prospective members. Incidentally, Clutton.’s father owns a 1909-10 Fafnir of just over 2,000 c.c. which weighs 30 cwt. without passengers and is geared 4 to 1 in top, yet it does 50 m.p.h. and has done 58 m.p.h. down hill. The 16 h.p. engine is said to be very smooth and tractable.
Hon. Sec. : E. T. Lewis, 81, Rusland Road, Harrow.
By the time this issue is on the bookstalls or through your letter-box it is likely that what summer we may have had will be but a memory. Speed-trial and racing-merchants will accordingly feel glum, but your trials driver will on the contrary be quite elated at the thought of shortening days and varied weather conditions.
Those fascinating Friday and Saturday nights are due to return when a band of enthusiasts occupy the garage, doing last-minute jobs to the car and its lighting equipment, ere they snatch a couple of hours’ sleep before donning quantities of wondrous clothing, to set off in the cold and early a.m. for the starting-point of a trial some hundred or more miles away. In summer it is too hot to sleep anyway, and it will be light again in a few hours, but with most people snug in bed, and the wind-swept rain threatening to turn to snow, there is some satisfaction in foregoing sleep once in a while, intrigued by the thought that on the morrow one will be in a very different part of England, before the stay-at-home members of the family have stirred and it is still scarcely light. I can recall many pleasant memories of trials, when we donned the old leather coat and helmet and set off, usually as navigator in a Centric-blown M.G. Midget, to meet the merry band of fellow enthusiasts and the adventures awaiting us after the start. There have been innumerable trials round the London area, ending in winter-evening runs home when driver as well as passenger was almost lulled to sleep by the still, even purr of the Midget’s exhaust. There was the time when we left London in too brilliant sunshine at mid-day one Friday, bound for N. Devon, the comp. tyres lashed to the Midget’s tank alone indicating the object of our journey. Dusk came early, and with it half a gale and heavy rain, so that the log-fire in the little public-house at Hart land was very welcome. The team event on the following day was extremely
interesting, and the long run home on the Sunday in a bitter wind was enlivened by the presence of other trials cars on the same road. It was the same M.G. that lost all its oil on a desolate piece of country, through a boulder carrying away the sump thermometer when we were doing well,
and our joy on obtaining a spare can with surprisingly little delay knew absolutely no bounds. Then there was the last “Exeter,” when we set off very hopefully and com fortably in a blown Ford Ten, regarded as completely insane by folks recovering from the aftermath of Christmas. Un
fortunately we experienced gasket trouble just beyond Exeter, so that we did not arrive home until Sunday morning, having had no rest and some quite incredible adventures in the meantime. Later, there were the successive M.C.C. trials, rendered very enjoyable by reason of our mount being a blown L.M.B. V-8 of real power and performance. Yes, trials are thoroughly worth while. The discussions and opinions on divers motoring topics, usually over a cup of black coffee served by a sleepy-eyed waiter in a tiny café at some absurd hour of the night, are certainly not the least attractive aspect. Personally, I particularly favour the classic M.C.C. events with their big entries and tradi tional “atmosphere.” In mid-winter you have the Exeter, specially enjoyable because the Christmas festive spirit is still in the air and so often the family and friends are present to see you off, not knowing what adventures may befall you ere you return home and climb thankfully into bed. Then, at Easter, when the out-of-doors holiday spirit is abroad, and the urge is to make for the West Country, those adventures and experiences can be relived in the Land’s End, which some extend into a leisurely tour home, and which others terminate after a night’s sleep to dash back for Brooklands on the bank-holiday. Finally, when Whitsun again arouses the holiday feeling, your motor may be expected to be in its best running order and something really stern is sought, and catered for by the Edinburgh, for who knows what will happen in 1,000 miles of hard motoring, even in 1936, especially if Brooldands calls again on the bank-holiday and time
begins to matter. After Whits= ? Well personally again, I regard the Team Trial of the N.W. London M.C. on October 3rd., a very good event with hills of the right sort. On the other hand, as I suggested last month, a trials motor-car and name in all the big entry lists are not essential to complete enjoyment of sporting motor
ing. Quite recently I had a long talk with an enthusiast who has, I believe, never entered for a trial, yet he has thoroughly enjoyed his motoring and has a fund of astonishing reminiscences that real enthusiasts would appreciate at once. He once owned a camshaft Salmson and later a whole string of G.Ns., including one really hot specimen which, in full sprint trim, was taxed for road use. That motor could reach 90 m.p.h. on the road and did—on isolated and memorable occasions. I suppose there must be many enthusiasts scattered about the country, whose names are practically unknown, who nevertheless cherish memories of motoring exploits that they live again on turning the pages of discarded diaries. If ever they feel inclined to jot down such remin
iscences I should very much like to hear from them—The Club News Scribe, c/o MOTOR SPORT. Personally (again) I still enjoy recounting the story of a certain CottonBlackburn motor-cycle which one day attempted to cast away its external flywheel on a fast run to Hastings. That episode cost us five shillings, because the flywheel nut was packed with three half-crowns, and when we reached a garage only the centre one had survived. Even when no motoring object prompts the run, and none of the other members
of the party is an enthusiast, there is much amusement to be had in attempting to unravel and memorise the” character of different cars.
I recall a Type 40 Bugatti which never exceeded 50 m.p.h. on a long run to Derby, but which exerted a tremendous fascination by reason of its eager exhaust note, . the howl of third as it accelerated, the fierce clutch action and its general air
of thoroughbred fitness and solidity. Another Bugatti—the single-camshaft 8.3-litre—ran surprisingly like a big American, until its driVer tired of that sort of thing, when the familiar whine of the indirects intervened, and that car thereafter cruised for miles with only the roar of wind round our beads and the rasp of tyres on the road to indicate the pace, with an occasional re-assurring hiss of brakes. Applying the watch, the average was found to be, as expected, something phenomenal. Then there was a blood red Alfa-Romeo two-seater that handled like the true thoroughbred, its engine definitely of the sort that liked high revs. ; the acceleration, emphasised by the blower-noise and drifting puffs of smoke from the release valve, immensely satis fying, aided by a beautiful gear-change, though a half-gale made the unusally
light steering, that is characteristic of the marque, seem more than normally embarrassing. I recall a very sporty-looking 14/40 Delage which was at once dubbed the “Blood Wagon” because it lacked brakes and other essentials, though it had an excellent gear-box and was rather
” 30/98 ” when under way. Finally it burst a front tyre in teeming rain on a particularly exciting S-bend. A big Six Bentley did all that a 6i-litre luxury automobile should, but appealed more particularly because it somehow conveyed something of those qualities which in the past enabled the smaller green cars to win such a fine reputation at Le Mans. And a modern British Salmson gave quite a satisfactory impression of being a thoroughbred while not being so delicate as the absolute sang pur, so that the driver drove lazily and had no regrets. A Zollerblown M.G. Midget provided some good motoring on three successive wet winter days, going up Kop and the Box Hill Goat track with great abandon on. smooth rear covers, which made their presence remembered when the power was turned on in certain London thor oughfares. A 2-litre Frazer-NashB.M.W. was interesting on account of truly wonderful steering and suspension that was supple without spoiling the cornering capabilities, so that endless demonstrations had to be given to friends who then asked, “how on earth is it possible ? ” But it is a mistake to imagine that only genuine sports-cars possess “character.” Quite recently an old Austin Twelve provided some interesting moments, one of its more intriguing features being a transmission brake that caught fire on descending hills, a happening the more entertaining because the run had no motoring objective whatsoever, and only the driver was an enthusiast. Again, only a few weeks ago, a job of work up at Southport and bad luck with two cars beforehand, left us with a Morris Eight saloon, in which, leaving cheerfully at 8 p.m. on the homeward journey, we literally motored all night, the mileage increasing miraculously because the writer drove for two hours in a circle while his co-driver (on the rear seat) was at peace with the universe. Even so, we shaved and breakfasted at the first hotel we struck in London, met some friends, and immediately set off for another day’s motoring that
terminated at midnight. The little car had no real performance, as the sports-car or trials man thinks of performance, but its brakes and steering and condition generally were sound and that means a lot. Even a twelve-year-old Swift contributed an afternoon’s entertainment, when a friend who is a genuine enthusiast borrowed it from its proud owner ; we took it to Brooklands of all places, and coaxed it up the Test Rill, its pulling powers and third-gear performance being almost unbelievable. Naturally, runs to distant motoring venues lead to further reminiscent
happenings. There was a trip to Donington and home again one Saturday, in an elderly M-type M.G. Midget which had been revitalised with a Centric supercharger and, smoking a protest, was known to its owner’s friends as “The Bloater.” At that time it had a habit of blowing out the complete inside of No. 1 plug at depressingly inopportune moments, though when it was going it was very quick indeed, so that we had a great run up, coming home snugly, in darkness and a downpour. Another expedition to Donington is remembered because we left London very late, in a Ford V-8 which had only that morning been converted to forced-induction. Yet we saw quite a lot of the race and that journey was a distinct eye-opener in respect of safe, point-to-point average
speed. Curiously enough, the harder the day’s motoring the more your enthusiast seems anxious to repeat the dose on the morrow, and on this occasion, reaching London again at midnight, the writer promptly took over another Ford V-8 with which to attend another motoring gathering, involving a further 300 miles driving on the Sunday. This ordinary aspect of motoring has been great fua, and however many makes one tries there are ever gaps to be filled ; types that one is anxious to try, eager to unravel their individual characteristics, and with luck will drive some day and, in driving them, undoubtedly embrace further interesting and amusing motoring experiences by which certain cars will be remembered apart from their actual qualities. I could fill pages with this sort of thing but no doubt the editorial blue pencil hangs poised to end the reader’s boredom ; one’s own experiences always seem so vitally important, yet doubtless there are many other enthusiasts who have had more and greater experiences of this sort, as I hope the post may in due course bear witness. As I write, I have before me a letter from a friend just back from a holiday in France, in which he casually says that the 4i-litre Bentley lapped the Le Mans circuit at rather over 70 m.p.h. and reached 98, wind
behind. He also mentions how they were greeted by David of the Hotel Mod erne.
A great pastime, my masters, is this motoring for sport.
crhe Editor invites Club Secretaries to send details of their fixtures, sporting and social ,for publication in these columns These items should be sent to reach this office not later than the 16th of the month.