Two Speed Hill-Cclimbs

Herts County A & A Club Westbrook Hay (July 210)

Good hill-climb venues are few and far between but those that do exist receive considerable support from competitors and public alike. Westbrook Hay is to the Herts County Automobile and Aero Club what Prescott is to the Bugatti Owners’ Club, it is situated near Kings Langley and the event this year received National status for the first time, being the fourth actual occasion on which the club has used the hill.

The 650-yard course consists of an uphill run all the way with two bends. The record time for the hill previous to this event was held by Tony Marsh in an 1,100 Cooper (25.59 secs) but he succeeded in bettering his own time again (25.05 secs) in the same car and so retaining his FTD title for the hill. Fastest lady driver was Miss Pauline Brock (29.77 secs) in a Cooper. 500 cc cars were well represented and a reasonable entry of the larger cars was to be seen.

Class A Sports cars up to 1,100 cc. The class record for this group was previously held by RW Evan, Nordic Special (34.90) but many competitors bettered this figure considerably. Tony Marsh’s best time here being 26.80 secs in the Cooper Climax followed by A Owen in a similar car. 1st Tony Marsh, Cooper-Climax (26.80). 2nd A Owen, Cooper-Climax (28.04).

Class B Sports Cars 1,101 to 1,500 cc. I Walker’s Ford and Hazel Dunham’s MGA returned good times but Prior’s 1,250 cc Lotus-MG made off with the honours. 1st RN Prior, Lotus-MG (30.38).

Class C Sports Cars 1,501 to 2,500 cc. This category resulted in a TR2 versus AC dice, Odini and Mayman in TR2s, Patten and Walker in AC Aceca’s with Bristol engines, and Miss M Hornby, AC Ace, trying to outpace Mrs Mayman driving a Morgan with TR2 engine. J Rudd in the ex-Tony Crook Frazer-Nash outpaced the remainder however, with WS Parke second in the Tojeiro-Bristol. 1st J Rudd, Frazer-Nash (29.26). 2nd WS Parke, Tojeiro-Bristol (30.22)

Class D Sports Cars over 2,500 cc. Heavy metal began to ascend the hill rather rapidly at the start of this class. First into sight was R Munro’s Meadows-engined Invicta with preselector gearbox ; this interesting car fitted experimentally in 1937 with a Gardner diesel engine took 34.59 to reach the finishing line on its first run. J Gardner succeeded in spinning his Le Mans modified Austin-Healey on his second run, so becoming entangled with the barbed wire, but no serious consequences resulted. NA Wood and D Worrell were responsible for conducting the Aston Martin-engined RGS Atlanta up the hill safely, a task which they carried out nobly. Another awe-inspiring sight was P Woozley’s Allard leaving the line ; this J2X model has the Chrysler Firepower engine, making a getaway from the start rather difficult although the owner managed to proceed without any wheelspm or other lost motion. Finally EP Scragg made a clean climb in the ex-Tony Gaye HWM-built D-type-engined, Alta Jaguar, to take the class record from G Parker’s Jaguar. 1st EP Scragg, Alta Jaguar (27.17). 2nd P Woozley, Allard (27.40).

Class E Racing Cars up to 500 cc. Austin May made fastest time in this event in a Cooper-Jap, followed by Henry Taylor in a Cooper-Norton. Messrs Goodearl and Bond made speedy ascents in the diminutive Monaco-Jap. 1st CAN May, Cooper-Jap (27.81), 2nd HC Taylor, Cooper-Norton (28.31).

Class F Racing Cars 501 to 1,500 cc. It was in this class that Tony Marsh made the new course record of 25.05 secs for the hill. WD Knight was one sec behind taking more time at the first bend where the car snaked a little. Rivers Fletcher also made a steady climb in 26.01 secs, in the ex-Brandon Mk V 1,100 Cooper-Jap. 1st Tony Marsh, Cooper-Jap (25.05). 2nd WH Knight, Cooper-Jap (26.05).

Class G Racing Cars 1,501 to 2,500 cc. The two most interesting machines to watch in action in this category were GD Pick’s HRg, and the well-known Aston-Butterworth driven jointly on this occasion by Club Officials, DA Wilcocks and CP Tooley. The HRC is similar to a Bugatti from astern having twin rear wheels and a pointed tail, it was formerly owned by Sir Clive Edwards and is fitted with a Lea-Francis engine coupled to an ENV gearbox. The Aston-Butterworth performed well but misfired somewhat after the driver lifted his foot from the throttle at the first corner, the engine taking some time to recover its breath, after which it would snap into a high-pitched crackle and soar to the summit. 1st CP Tooley, Aston-Butterworth (27.79).

Class H Racing Cars over 2,500 cc. A Bugatti versus Bugatti versus Alta finale. Perkins and Stubberfield in supercharged 2.3 litre 35B Bugattis and FA Norris in the Alta Special. All three either snaked or spun on the first corner and Norris took to the grass at the finish, neatly by-passing the bewildered Motor Sport photographer. 1st FA Norris, Alta Special (26.71).

Great Auclum

For many years a favourite haunt of the Hants & Berks MC, the Great Auclum hill-climb course again featured in the fixture list on August 4th. The narrow twisting 1-mile climb provided many hazards for the over-zealous competitors especially at the low-lying banked corner ; faster times were recorded by those who kept close in at this bend, rather than following right round the banking. Tony Marsh again succeeded in breaking his own course record (20.94 sec) with 20.60 sec in the 501-1,100 cc racing-car class in his Cooper-JAP. IG.

Class 1. Sports Cars up to 1,300 cc, unsupereharged. Tony Marsh (Cooper-Climax), keeping in close at the banked corner to start with and sliding out gently, later recorded a time of 21.62 sec on his first run, best time in this class. JM Le Gras (Riley) came downhill very quickly, but ran out of urge on the up-gradient, after going perilously near the edge, and had to be pushed off the course. 1st  AE Marsh (Cooper-Climax) , 21.62sec (first run). 2nd RC Taylor (Cooper-Climax.) 22.07 sec (2nd run).

Class 2. Sports Cars, 1,301-1,800 cc unsupercharged. Up to 1,300 cc supercharged. Tommy Sopwith, on his first run bettered the class record by over a second in the Mk XI Lotus, but on his second run he ran out ef gears soon after the start and coasted to a halt off the track, later he reversed back up to the paddock, crunching noise coming from amidships. 1st T Sopwith (Lotus) 22.97 sec (1st run). 2nd TG Conane (Lotus-MG) 24.09 sec (3rd run). 

Class 3. Sports Cars, 1,801-3,000 cc supercharged. WS Perkins made a rapid ascent in his 328 BMW-engined Lotus and so did JR Rudd in the smart black Frazer-Nash. 1st, WS Perkins (Lotus-BMW) 23.47 sec (second run). 2nd, JR Rudd (Frazer-Nash)  23.54 sec (third run).

Class 4. Sports Cars, 3,001 cc upwards, unsupercharged, 1,801-3,000 cc supercharged. A Jaguar class. Schueler and Clarke, in a 140 coupe, and Hunt and Sears in a 120, vied with each other for best times, the honours going to Sears. 1st, L Sears (Jaguar XK120) 23.47 sec. (third run). 2nd, R Hunt (Jaguar XK120) 26.01 sec(second run).

Class 6. Racing Cars up to 500 cc. Best time in this class was made by Austin May in a Cooper-JAP. 1st, CAN May (Cooper-JAP) 22.04 (second run). 2nd, HC Taylor (Cooper-Norton) 22.19 sec (third run).

Class 7. Racing Cars, 501-1,100 cc. It was as in this class that Tony Marsh made ftd in the Cooper-JAP, taking the course record with him at the same time. Rivers Fletcher also made an excellent run up in 21.85 sec. 1st, AE Marsh (Cooper-JAP) 20.60 sec (second run). 2nd, AF Rivers Fletcher (Cooper-JAP) 21.80 sec.

Class 8. Racing Cars, 1,101-2,000 cc. The Buckler 90 driven by CD Buckler and GFF Tapp, seemed rapid enough, but kept scraping its undercarraige on the ground at the banked turn and smoke seemed inclined to pour from the cockpit at the slightest provocation. The second of a trio of ERAs sent a buzz of excitement through the spectators as J Stuart, John Broad in “Remus” and DR Good in the ex-Billy Cotton car appeared. A new class record was established by Good, wbo made a very fast run. Stuart’s ERA took the record for noise, beating the Bugattis at one of their own games. 1st, DR Good (ERA) 22.49 sec (second run). 2nd, J Stuart (ERA) 22.63 sec (third run).

Class 9. Racing Cars, 2,001 cc upwards. Peter Stubberfield bettered his own record in this class by .49 sec in the 35B Bugatti. JM Perkins with his Bugatti was, however, unable to beat D Haig’s 1,132(S) Cooper. 1st, PJ Stubberfield (Bugatti)  22.34 sec. (second run). 2nd, D Haig (Cooper)  22.63 sec (second run).