The V.S.C.C. at Prescott

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August 18th

The sun shone and there was over-spill from the large car parks to an adjacent field for this year’s Vintage S.C.C. Prescott Speed Hill-Climb. The entry of 103 was truly representative but few “new” old cars appeared. However, John Bolster, after opening Shelsley Walsh recently in his 1925/9 J.A.P. V-twin two-engined Bloody Mary, had entered this exciting car this time. It was an enormous attraction and no plaything, for it climbed in 47.9 sec. being second in its class.

Doggett drove Marston’s 1922/7 G.N. Special which has a “cooking” long-stroke 12/50 Alvis engine with modern Zenith carburetter, cooled by a cut-down Talbot 90 radiator and the tail from Bolster’s 4-engined Mary—a car in the best V.S.C.C. tradition and great fun. Evans ran the more modern J.A.P. V-twin-engined Chawner-G.N., which was fractionally slower than Holland’s 2-litre A.C.-engined Earls Court G.N. Special.

The 1,100 c.c. Sports Car Class was won by Barry Clarke’s famous Austin Chummy (58.97 sec.), in spite of strange happenings on Pardon hairpin. He went half-a-second faster than Marchant’s blown Austin 7, which was second, Beavis’ p.v.t. Riley 9 with cut about body and triangulated rear-axle radius arms third.

Vintage cars also beat the p.v.t.s in the 1,101-1,500 c.c. Sports Car Class, Geog Legan’s 1928 Frazer Nash winning in 51.96 sec. after being wound up by hand on the line, from Skirrow’s 1930 Frazer Nash. Frazer Nashes dominated this class, many with polished aluminium bonnets and Joseland’s being polished all over and sporting an under tray. Third vintage was Still’s 1930 Frazer Nash but it was beaten by Riseley’s 1931 Aston Martin.

Taylor’s 328 B.M.W. took the 1,501-3,000 c.c. Sports Car category, clocking 54.22 sec. Second, and first vintage, was Major Charles Lambton’s smart 1,750 blown Alfa Romeo 4-seater (55.57 sec.), third place going to another vintage car, Leo’s blown 2-litre Lagonda.

Charnock made one of his copybook ascents in the 4.3 Alvis to win the over 3,000 c.c. Sports Car Class in 49.7 sec. Second place was secured by Bromley Johnson in Grice’s Bentley-propelled Frazer Nash (49.74 sec.) and first vintage and third overall was Morten’s vintage Bentley, which left the start very quickly indeed (51.57 sec.). Much admired was Glydon’s 3/4 1/2-litre Bentley tourer. Fastest 30/98 Vauxhall was Quartermain’s (54.57 sec.) and fastest 4 1/2-litre Invicta was Marsh’s (52.27 sec.). McCall’s 4 1/2-litre high-chassis Invicta had been rebodied with a very long tail, a la Brooklands, and Buckley’s 1920 30/98 looked superb.

So to the racing classes, Pitt’s K3 M.G. Magnette being no match for the 1,100 c.c. vintage cars, of which Bruce-White’s flat-twin f.w.d. H.M.-special was fastest (51.3 sec.), runner-up being Brown driving Binn’s Riley (52.34 sec.).

On a brave ascent, very fierce away from the start and using all the narrow road, Chapman made f.t.d. and a new 1 1/2-litre class record in his E.R.A., clocking 45.08 sec. Waller was second (46.72 sec.), Cottam third (47.39 sec.), an E.R.A. walk-over. However, in the 1,501-3,000 c.c. category, Horton’s Connaught contrived to exert post-war superiority, with a time of 45.7 sec., whereas Hull, driving Morris’ twin-rear-wheeled 2-litre E.R.A., did both ascents in 46.25 sec., splendidly consistent but not fast enough. The commentator told us, as the E.R.A. blasted its way up the hill, that Hull had only left hospital the day before—at some moments it seemed a return might be imminent!

Kergon in “Hanuman” didn’t use enough revs in vital places (52.14 sec.) and the Altas misfired, while the Martini Maserati, was held too long on the line before its best run (51.22 sec.). Doc Taylor took his usual vintage-first, and third in class, in the Caesar Special. The commentator explained how he was driving as instructed by Taruffi, with a grass-clipping run between the lower corners but to us it seemed that the Caesar might be taking its own line, faintly out of control… (47.42 sec.). Bolster drove Bloody Mary as if it were 1933, not 1963, wrestling all the way, with daylight between front wheels and road out of Pardon (47.9 sec.). Let’s hope he appears again in 1964.

George Burton had the responsibility of driving Taylor’s Type 59 3.3-litre Bugatti in the big racing car class. He was very calm, but concentrating, away from the line, and won very easily (48.06 sec.). The vintage award went to Arnold-Forster, whose Delage II went up seemingly without effort, in 50.49 sec., beating Hutchings’ Bugatti and Williamson in Burton’s de Dion Bentley but being beaten by Charnock’s sports Alvis. Both the Type 59 and the Delage raised smoke from their inner rear wheel, at Orchard Corner!—W. B.

***

Postscript:—The motoring dog, always left behind when we go to watch motor-racing, told of the many dogs in the enclosures and even one in the Paddock, wants to know whether the “No-Dogs” rule has been rescinded?

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