Once again the Hants & Berks Motor Club held their annual speed hill-climb at Great Auclum, near Reading. The programme of events catered for all classes of cars, although the majority of the entries were in the sports-car category; competitors were allowed two runs, which, incidentally, often showed considerable discrepancies in time due to the changing road surface, caused by frequent periods of rain and sunshine. It was unfortunate that, owing to R.A.C. regulations, the racing cars were forced to take their second runs immediately after having finished their first, and since the rain was falling quite heavily during that period drivers were unable to experience the better conditions which prevailed towards the close of the meeting. For this reason such cars as the Bugattis of Stubberfield and Perkins and the Jaguette of Coleman were unable to equal the time put up by Burn in the sports-car class driving a Fraser-Nash, the latest model, who made fastest time of the day with 24.52 sec. on his first run, in which the driver drove beautifully, climbing right up the banking so as not to lose speed. Several years ago Burn made fastest time of the day in an A.C.-engined Frazer-Nash, he has always been a very prominent member of this club and having recently returned from Rhodesia is now continuing his motor-racing activities.
In the small-sports-car class a very interesting entry was the Murray Special which had an Evinrude outboard engine driving the front wheels by chain; this car did extremely well, probably because of its very light fibreglass body, and purred round the bends, the two-stroke engine emitting sparks and clouds of smoke all the while. The Yeats Special was another present at this event, for the first time in this instance, the car having been completed a few weeks ago for the Maidstone & Mid Kent Motor Club meeting at Brands Hatch; this smart green Ford Ten-engined saloon did well to cross the finishing line in exactly 28.0 sec. The fastest car in Class I, up to 1,300 c.c.. unsupercharged, was J. Waller’s bored-out J4 M.G., taking 25.70 sec., A. E. Marsh in a Dellow did well, but the 1,172-c.c. award went to J. J. Richards driving a Lotus. Class II, for sports cars of 1,301 c.c. to 1,801 c.c. unsupercharged and up to 1,391 cc. supercharged, saw G. E. Tapp, who was time previous record holder, fail to equal his own original time by 1.02 sec., due to the slippery surface; he was driving a Buckler which, on a later occasion, was also driven by W. A. Liddell in the racing-car class with an average time of 27.77 sec.
The next two events were for the larger sports cars and produced some very fine examples, one of which was the H.R.G./B.M.W. owned by W. S. Perkins, who is a very regular competitor in this club. The car has alternative H.R.G. or B.M.W. engines, in this case the 328 B.M.W. power unit was installed, and on its first run returned a time of 25.89 sec.; other fine vintage examples present were A. C. Marsh’s Alvis which, although carrying a 12/50 club badge, appeared to belong more to the Silver Eagle species, and also Quartermaine’s 30/98 Vauxhall which performed well. The record holder for the large-sports-car class is Gordon Parker in his Jaguar with a time of 23.27 sec. which still stands unequalled even by Burn in his Frazer-Nash. J. A. Shutler was probably the finest driver in this class with his large 1 1/2-litre Invicta saloon, which must have been quite a handful on the tricky banked corner, and the way this big car went round was really quite something to watch; the Pick Special was another which must have been a treacherous weapon to drive, the V8 engine delivering so much power that the rear wheels did not cease spinning all the way up the course, the car zig-sagging from one side of the road to the other. As regards Bentleys, there were a few present but it was not a great day of success for them, at least from the motoring angle. J. A. Williamson in his immortal 4 1/2-litre decided to go in for a bit of tree-felling just to liven up the afternoon, there was slight damage to his front axle and wing, but the car still goes, which is more than can be said for the tree which is very dead just now!
The remaining four classes were for the racing cars, nearly all of which found the going rather difficult, but Rivers Fletcher in his Cooper-J.A.P. and Coleman in his Jaguette did well and Stubberfield’s Bugatti made a very fast run up in 24.97 sec. even allowing for the wet surface; this car won the vintage award. Another newcomer was the M.G. of Crowe and Coles which is the J4 supercharger engine in a special chassis with Fiat 500 front axle assembly and an “all spare parts” rear axle with it vast petrol tank mounted diagonally on the tail. The car is beautifully finished and deserves to carry off a few prizes next season. Building, began on this job in April of this year and this was its first trial event, where it was driven by G. V. Coles and recorded a time of 29.74 sec. — I.G.