POOLE RECORD BROKEN
R. J. W. APPLETON (A.PPLETON-SPECIAL) SETS NIOV FIGURE OF 21.99 SECS.: GLORIOUS SUNSHINE
WHATEVER the vagaries of the weather in other parts of the country, the Poole Speed Trials always appear to enjoy the hottest sunshine of the year. This and the pleasant setting in Poole Park, with its lake dotted by little pleasure-boats, and its big, shady trees, together with the excellence of the 680-yard course, combine to make the event one of the most pleasant in the whole year.
Nor must one fail to take into account the excellent organisation of the West Hants and Dorset Car Club, and the skilful management of D. S. Ship as Clerk of the Course. All the officials manage to preserve an air of informality for the event which gives it a character of its own, and which is rewarded each year by a bumper entry. About 2,500 spectators attended.
The course this year, with its several fast bends—bends which become very tricky, in a really speedy car—was said to be a little more bumpy than last year, and for a long time it looked as though C. E. C. Martin’s record of 22.20 secs., set up with his E.R.A. last year, would remain unbroken.
However, at last R. J. W. Appleton, cutting across the kerb in daring fashion at the War Memorial corner, handled his Special magnificently and cut the time to 21.99 secs., a new record. Appleton steadily improved his times on each of his runs. First he took 23.28 secs., then 23.20 secs., then 22.82 secs. It seemed as though this would be his best, and Appleton himself was doubtful if he could go any faster. But on his fourth run he knocked off another .83 sec., and deservedly won his record.
Appleton’s principal challenger was for a long time G. R. Hartwell, who put up a most creditable show in a borrowed car on which he had had no previous practice. This was the fast Alta owned by R. R. Jackson, and Hartwell, with times of 22.60 secs. and 22.41 secs., twice beat his own former record of 22.82 secs., which he made with an M.G. in 1936. In the end, however, he was just. beaten for second fastest time by A. Baron driving his 2,300 c.c. Bugatti, which on its last run registered 22.39 secs.
Another driver who did well was H. W. Semmence with his Semmence-Special, whose fastest run in 23.71 secs. was the best by an unsupercharged car, and only slightly slower than the 23.53 secs. made by D. H. C. Fry’s Freikaiserwagen, then
unsupercharged, last year. The Semmence-Special has a modified 2-litre A.C. engine. A remarkable new Special appeared at this meeting, the latest four-engined Bolster Special. This machine, not to be confused with the 4-litre four-engined
Bolster, has four 5C0 c.c. single-cylinder Rudge Motor-cycle engines, all in line and coupled by chains to a common side-shaft, thence driving the rear axle
by further chains. It was too new to show its paces, however, though Richard Bolster managed a run in 24.79 secs.
Another special was the G.N. driven by E. G. M. Wilkes, which, with one of the old chain-driven overhead camshaft G.N. engines, actually won the 1,100 c.c.
unsupercharged racing class. The Wilkes-G.N. is one of the smartest of all the Specials, highly polished and chromiuxn plated all over. Its beat time was 25.66.
Fastest sports-car time, by a considerable margin, was 25.51 by K. Hutchison driving his Allard-Special. As Hutchison started off on his next run, however, there was an ominous crunch from the rear axle, and. the car only just managed to leave the line. The palm for the smartest cars of all must go to C. I. Craig’s three Bugattis, the ” 2.3 ” and the ” 4.9 ” once owned by the late L. G. Bachelier, and the 8.8litre C;rand Prix model once raced by
the Han. Brian Lewis–a bored-out ” 3.3.” All were finished in black and white, and the Grand Prix job in particular looked a picture.
It was an excellent idea to give the twelve fastest cars a special run each at the close of the meeting, during a broadcast specially arranged by the B.B.C. These runs counted for records, but did not alter the class placings. The meeting with the aid of the Bachelier timing gear, loaned by the Cambridge University A.C., was run off very promptly, cars being despatched at the rateof forty an hour.