Great Auclum Hill-Climb

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(August 6th)

There is a great deal to be said in favour of sprint motoring, for a lot of sport can be had without incurring excessive expense or inflicting too much wear on car or tyres. Over the week-end of August 6/7th two speed hill-climbs took place, the first at Gt Auclum, organised by The Hants & Berks MC and counting towards the RAC Hill-Climb Championship.

Gt Auclum is a 1-mile course notable for its banked r/h bend but very twisty thereafter, so that the cars never attain any real speed. This year rain fell during the second runs but later the course dried out to some extent; the record for the hill was raised by David Boshier-Jones, in his V-twin Cooper 1,100, to 20.49 sec, and this driver led the Championship Class from R Good and M Hatton, his young brother taking the 1,100 cc sports car class with a very fast climb.

Although quite ordinary cars are suitable for sprint events, “specials” are in their element at such fixtures and the Gt Auclum entry list contained some notable examples. For example, Gordon Parker drove his beautifully turned out HK Jaguar single-seater, even its engine being in Concours d’Elegance condition. This potent “special” has a 3.4 Jaguar power unit to C specification, supercharged by two Arnott superchargers, one at each end of the block, each feeding three cylinders, and drawing from a 21/4-in. SU carburetter. There is an Armstrong Siddeley pre-selector gearbox beneath the driver’s seat and the ENV back-axle has a ratio of 3.27 to 1, rear suspension being de Dion, with coil springs and twin radius arms, while front suspension is Vauxhall Victor. The engine is boosted to 10 lb/sq in and the cr is 8 to 1. Its best time was 22.67 sec. Another interesting “special” was JM Perkins’ Mason Master (24.20 sec). which has a single-cam 11/2-litre Coventry-Climax engine in a tubular ladder frame with coil and wishbone i/f/s and a Velocette motorcycle gearbox set back-to-front on the back-axle, involving high propeller-shaft speeds. The car has inboard rear brakes, side tanks in the cockpit and weighs a mere 6 cwt. J Wilks brought his sports Omega (25.63 sec), which uses a 1938 21/2-litre MG power unit with twin SUs in a tubular space frame having an Austin A90 back-axle, Wilks’ own coil spring and wishbone i/f/s and Triumph TR front disc brakes. Amongst the F3 racers was Bruce-White’s All’t cok, a front-drive car using a 1928 dirt-track Douglas flat-twin engine, which was a lively device to control (26.22 sec). Yet another “special” was AT Norton’s Cooper with huge blower outrigged on the off-side of the V-twin engine, while Haigh’s Cooper 1,100 (22.35 sec) and Keylock’s F2 Cooper-Climax (22.28 sec) were also supercharged. It was troubled by the wrong mixture but the take-off was terrific (23.48 sec). J Chapman ran his Chapman-Mercury, not with the customary batteries of Amals but with a vast blower from Perkins’ V8-engined Bugatti on the near-side of the 41/2-litre V8 engine, this being driven by two separate chain-drives from the nose of the engine, and sucking from a big d/d SU. The engine retains its Ardun heads, with 91/2 to 1 cr, and is blown at 4 lb/sq in. It is now very flexible but lacks bottom-end pick-up (23.78 sec). Ridley ran the Semmence in original trim (26.66 sec) and Rivers-Fletcher was making his first appearance since his Prescot prang, in the HWM-Jaguar (24.33 sec). Jim Berry had his twin-rear wheeled, ex-Mays, 2-litre ERA going most impressively and Bateman drove an F1 Connaught (23.90 sec). Patsy Burt (Cooper) won the Nancy Mitchell Cup, Derisley the 1172 Cup outright. Brock’s Austin Seven with Downton mods and Fish carburetter vanquished Daniel Richmond in the saloon class. Good had a nasty accident in practice when his Cooper-JAP went too high on the banking and damaged the steering. resulting in a crash higher up but he had repairs completed by the Saturday afternoon and made the second fastest ascent. Haig broke his Cooper’s gearbox in practice but repaired it in time. There were no incidents at all on the day.