Sprint events are very much in the English tradition, for when Brooklands was our only circuit it was supplemented by many speed hill-climbs and speed trials, at first on public roads, later on private courses. Today, happily, this form of racing persists, although fewer courses have been available since the war. The Hants & Berks M.C.’s annual Great Auclum hill-climb is held over Neil Gardner’s tortuous quarter-mile course in remote country near Reading and the village of Mortimer where, during the war, a racing s.v. Aston Martin came to light. It is rendered interesting because the first corner is steeply banked with concrete. The rest of the short hill abounds in corners — distinctly a driver’s course.
In practice this year the record, held by Marsh (Cooper-J.A.P. 1,100) in 20.6 sec., was beaten several times, but on the day intermittent rain put paid to a fresh record.
The honours went to the Equipe Endeavour, which brought two sports Coopers and an FII Cooper, the latter not being used in the event. Tommy Sopwith took the first l.h. corner fearlessly, in a slide, ignoring the banking, his Cooper making f.t.d. in 21.76 sec., so that it was his smart Mercedes-Benz 190SL which drove up to the prize-giving reception. Marsh himself couldn’t better 22.36 sec. in his FII twin-cam Cooper, but this was second fastest and a new record for racing cars up to 2 litres.
In his Cooper 1,100 Marsh took the 1,100 c.c. racing-car class in 22.63 sec. The only others to beat 23 sec. were Sopwith in the racing class in 22.7 sec. and, very creditably, Patsy Burt, whose 1,100 sports Cooper clocked 22.93 sec.
The only driver who really made proper use of the banking was Rivers-Fletcher, who took his Cooper-J.A.P. 1,100 startlingly near the top, to record 23.5 sec., but was vanquished by Boshier Jones’ Cooper’ (23.26 sec.), Parker’s Jaguara (23.32 sec.), Lewis’ Lotus 1,100 with wishbone i.f.s. (23.35 sec.), Sir G. Baillie, Bt., in the second Equipe Endeavour Cooper (23.36 sec.) and Willmott (Lotus-M.G.), while Stubberfield won his class with a well-judged run in his twin-rear-wheeled Bugatti in 23.12 sec. Croot’s mid-engined C.D. Mercury, a true sprint special with pronounced front wheel flap, was only 0.68 sec. slower than Stubberfield.
In practice the Austin Seven of J. Marsh and E. Burrows had provided exciting incidents, but on the day it was well-behaved. However, the spectators in the chilly fields saw Berry spin his E.R.A.Special in a very confined space, Good hit the bank and fold back the near-side front wheel of his Cooper-J.A.P. 1,100 and Eccles’ Cooper 500 charge the bank after the banked corner, luckily without damage, while Scragg’s H.W.M.-Jaguar broke its transmission.
Coleby’s Goggomobile sounded very cross, buzzing its way up (28.73 sec.), but it was far faster than an anaemic 1900 de Dion which promenaded during the interval. Wickson’s Buckler 90 with Ford Ten 100E twin S.U. engine and 4.7 to 1 axle ratio was taken up neatly (23.66 sec.), Tupper did 23.55 sec. in his Lotus 1,100 and Moss in the E.R.A. “Remus” managed 23.53 sec.– figures which prove how closely Great Auclum was contested. Rudd’s Le Mans Replica Frazer-Nash won the hotly-contested up-to-3-litre sports-car class, beating Park’s A.C. Ace Bristol by 0.14 sec.
The organisation was unobtrusively efficient and this time there were no super-fast motor-cycle patrols to embarrass the driver they chased up the hill at the close of a class! Michael Burn was adequate on the Antone. There was the usual Lowrey-sponsored turbine-car class with the usual complete lack of support. — W. B.
The Neil Gardner Trophy for f.t.d.: T. E. B. Sopwith (Cooper sports) in 21.74 sec.
Sports Cars up to 1,300 c.c. uns/c. E. Lewis (Lotus), 23.35 sec.
Sports Cars, 1,301-1,800 c.c. uns/c. and up to 1,300 c.c. s/c.: T. E. B. Sopwith (Cooper), 21.76 sec.*
Sports Cars, 1,801-3,000 c.c. uns/c. and up to 1,800 c.c. s/c.: J. Rudd (Frazer-Nash), 23.56 sec.
Sports Cars. 3,001 c.c. upwards ons/c. and over 1,801 c.c. s/c.: G. Parker (Jaguara), 23.32 sec.
Racing Cars up to 500 c.c.: R. W. Colton (Cooper), 24.70 sec.
Racing Cars 501-1,100 c.c.: A. E. Marsh (Cooper-J.A.P.), 22.63 sec.
Racing Cars, 1,101-2,000 c.c.: A. E. Marsh (Cooper FII). 22.36 sec.*
Racing Cars over 2,000 c.c.: P. J. Stubberfield (Bugatti), 23.12 sec.
* New class record.
Rivers-Fletcher arrived in his special Morris Minor 1,100 sunshine-roof saloon, which has excellent front seats, racing-type steering wheel, lengthened gear lever and special dashboard containing minute club badges, etc. He departed for Prescott after the meeting, sportingly promising Good the necessary parts to repair his Cooper 1,100 for this event if he couldn’t procure them elsewhere.
Nancy Mitchell was amongst those who spectated.
Full results were issued very promptly after the last climb.